The Dao of Board Gaming

People very often ask me “what is your favorite game?” and the answer for me is that there is no such thing as a favorite game. A game for me is nothing absolute. A game lives through the people who play it. Therefore, my favorite game depends upon which group of people I’m with, and what we prefer. For instance, I’d play different games with my parents than with a group of friends. With my parents I play a lot of traditional German card games. I have one friend from school with whom I play nothing but Speed Chess and it’s only with him that I play Speed Chess because it works for us, and it’s just enjoyable. What’s enjoyable for me is the time spent with other people — different people create different atmospheres. You need the right game for the right occasion.

REINER KNIZIA

This quote from famed designer Reiner Knizia probably encapsulates why gaming is trans-generational, trans-racial and crosses many social and political boundaries. Board gamers are found every where across the globe and many of us play games because they are …..well, fun. I do believe that games can also be potent building blocks to establish connections and friendships as I have come to know so many good friends through this hobby. Board games is also an incredible tool to teach children how to think, react, win or lose with grace all in the name of fun. In short, there is really no reason why adults should consider this an activity only for kids.

This board gaming blog is a way for me to write (or vent) my thoughts on the hobby and also serve as an outlet from the daily routines and responsibilities of life. It is also a way for me to chronicle the privilege of watching my child grow up and evolve as a gamer through the lens of the games we play. Hopefully, you will find it entertaining and occasionally useful.

A Game of Cat and Mouth

Designer: Uncredited Artist: Uncredited Publisher: Exploding Kittens I have railed against two games vehemently and vilely over the years: Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens. I flat out refuse to play these two games, and will even go as far as bad mouthing these games to ensure no one else plays it. I can never…

Java

Designer: Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling Artist: Franz Vohwinkel Publisher: Rio Grande Games Nostalgia is a double edged sword. I often look back at certain board game sessions fondly and giving games I played once or twice a strong rating. More often than not, the game I enjoyed does not hit the table again until…

Hare and Tortoise

Designer: Peter Parlett Artist: Franz Vohwinkel Publisher: Rio Grande Games There are oldies and then, there is Hare and Tortoise. This classic board game that borrows its title from the legendary race between the fleet-footed hare and the slow-but-steady tortoise is the first Spiel des Jahres awardee in 1979. The game, I believe, is out…

Longboard

Designer: Reiner Knizia Artist: Tristam Rossin Publisher: 25th Century Games Let’s get this out up front: Longboard is a Lost Cities/Keltis spin-off. Along with a dozen other games that feature the ascending/descending set collection mechanism, Longboard uses the same mechanism plus a few tweaks to make the game fresh enough to cater to the newcomer,…

Tsuro

Designer: Tom McMurchie Artist: Cathy Brigg, Andrew Hepworth, Shane Small, Imelda Vohwinkel, Franz Vohwinkel Publisher: Calliope Games I really didn’t rate Tsuro very highly when I first played the game many years back. I felt it was both simple and chaotic in a way that really didn’t captured my attention. It also didn’t help that…

Ark Nova (and how that compares with Terraforming Mars)

Designer: Mathias Wigge Artist: Steffen Bieker, Loïc Billiau, Dennis Lohausen, Christof Tisch Publisher: Feuerland Spiele What has Ark Nova got to do with zoo building? (Photo credits: Frank Hereen@BGG) Ahh, Ark Nova, where to begin with this behemoth. Hype around Ark Nova is still swirling around more than a year post-publication. The game is billed…

Kingdomino

Designer: Bruno Cathala Artist: Cyril Bouquet, Hervine Galliou Publisher: Blue Orange Games Every time I think of a take-and-make game, Kingdomino comes to mind. As a Spiel das Jahres winner, it is a game that has successfully captured the interest of the general populace….well, at least the German populace. Kingdomino is also a fine example…

AbluXXen

Designer: Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling Artist: Oliver Freudenreich Publisher: Ravensburger I am still not sure what AbluXXen means. At least it isn’t AbluXXXen (Photo credits: Eric Martin@BGG) I have a funny history with Abluxxen, or Linko!, as it is known in some countries. I was initially very hot about getting the card game as…


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