The explosive growth of the 300-person “megagame” | Ars Technica

Megagames have no strict definition, but here’s an outline of the (pretty typical) first one that I tried two years ago. Strange alien forces mass near the earth, alarming the world’s governments. Multiple teams of three-to-six players represent various nations, and teams take on roles like diplomats or military leaders. Each team plays its own straightforward game of economics to balance a country’s budget, fund the military, and direct scientific research.

Source: The explosive growth of the 300-person “megagame” | Ars Technica

Dungeons & Dragons and the ethics of imaginary violence — Hopes&Fears — flow “Video Games”

Slaying a few mindless kobolds is one thing, but D&D violence can assume much more imaginative and sinister forms. Take an example, from my own history of D&D campaigning: my character (Shamir, a 3200-year-old Chaotic Evil character) was, along with his party members, attempting to locate a map within a local inn. When the innkeeper refused to reveal the map’s whereabouts, Shamir began cutting off the innkeeper’s fingers, then hit the innkeeper’s wife, and then, when it was revealed that the map was actually hidden inside a different inn, he burned the inn down for good measure. (He later forced an orc to hold a crystal that induced uncontrollable psychic agony and vomiting.) Why did Shamir, or rather, I do it? Because it felt like the right thing to do at that moment.

Source: Dungeons & Dragons and the ethics of imaginary violence — Hopes&Fears — flow “Video Games”

Bad Panda!

Let’s discuss Takenoko’s graphic design.  (Firstly, if it were my game – I would name it Bad Panda!)

This far too adorably designed board game along with its chubby panda figure, give a false impression that the panda is the protagonist in the game.  This is not the case.  He (or she?) eats yo bamboo while you try to maintain your land plots in order to win!

Everything about this game – the packaging, the graphics, illustrations, game pieces are done beautifully and with precision and detail.  This aesthetically pleasing board game may draw the attention of many potential buyers and players in the game aisle but it proposes one disadvantage…

VISUAL OVERLOAD.

I find the graphic design of the game – the packaging and the cards and chips – all very distracting.  Perhaps over time and practice, these variables fade out and one can focus on the goal of winning the game.  But this has proven difficult as the overwhelming rules, visual graphics, and many pieces can quickly deter one from staying in the game.

Imagine if the packaging and all its contents were simplified. Perhaps the use of color remains but the intensity of illustrations is modified. We may be able to play with better concentration if we were able to see the layout of plots and cards and game pieces with more clarity.  Game cards although quite simple, may be too simple.  There are no words, only visuals.  Could we possibly add some text to improve the game flow and experience?

All in all, visually appealing but I always say: LESS IS MORE.

How card games became cool again – Offworld

When I first got into Netrunner two years ago, it felt like something special, and I’d hoped that its community would look different from that of collectible card games’ old guard, like Magic: The Gathering. I’ve met a lot of other Netrunner players since then who say this community is friendly, welcoming, and yeah, better than Magic’s. Yet when I look at my Netrunner friends, a majority of them are still twenty-/thirty-something white guys. (I’m a 28-year-old Vietnamese-American lady.) To their benefit, they’re with me in wondering why this is the case, why a game with such diversity within its lore doesn’t see it reflected in its player base. The Android Universe.

My husband and I have a pattern around our board game play together: I bring home games that sound interesting to me, and he gets to comb through the rules and teach the both of us. When I brought home my first set of Netrunner cards, I remember understanding the basic premise of play: he, as the corporation, fills his servers with secrets, as I, the scrappy runner, gather the right programs to hack past his security measures to steal what they protect. We take turns playing both roles, but we’ve had our druthers from the start.

Source: How card games became cool again – Offworld

A dicey proposition: why video gamers should also get into board games

The problem with video games is that there’s generally not much to show. Your Steam library may be massive, but it’s just not the same as owning something physical.Board games scratch that itch for something tangible.Forget those games of the past that look like they were designed by an accountant. Modern board games just look plain good.For around the same price as the latest AAA title, you can get an awesome box with all kinds of objects to play with: funky dice, colourful cards, beautiful boards and miniatures…so many miniatures.So while board games may not deliver the same graphical experience that video games do, they stand on their own as attractive physical objects.

Source: A dicey proposition: why video gamers should also get into board games

The mathematically proven winning strategy for 14 of the most popular games – The Washington Post

From Risk to tic-tac-toe, popular games involve tons of strategic decisions, probability and math. So one happy consequence of being a data nerd is that you may have an advantage at something even non-data nerds understand: winning.So how do you win (almost) every game in existence, do you ask? Here are 20 data visualizations that offer lots of insight into the most popular games in America, including chess, Connect Four, Monopoly, Pac-Man, “Wheel of Fortune” and much more.

Source: The mathematically proven winning strategy for 14 of the most popular games – The Washington Post

The Man Who Built Catan – The New Yorker

Teuber is still somewhat baffled by the popularity of his creation. “I never expected it would be so successful,” he said. Almost all board-game designers, even the most successful ones, work full time in other professions; Teuber is one of a tiny handful who make a living from games. “Going Cardboard,” a 2012 documentary about the board-game industry, includes footage of Teuber appearing at major gaming conventions, where he is greeted like a rock star—fans whisper and point when they see him—but seems sheepish while signing boxes.

Source: The Man Who Built Catan – The New Yorker

Suburbia board game: a simple, subtle economic simulation – Boing Boing

This game seems to lean heavily toward being a muliplayer solitaire puzzle at first glance, but once everyone is familiar with managing the feedback loops between reputation, population, and income, and with the scoring goals that are available, denying other players what you think they need becomes pretty competitive. Another nice mechanism is that tiles from the market can be played upside down as small lakes, which provides a cash infusion but also allows you to take a tile out of the game that’s useless to you but helpful to an opponent.

Source: Suburbia board game: a simple, subtle economic simulation – Boing Boing

D&D now on Steam, complete with dice and a Dungeon Master | Polygon

Fantasy Grounds, one of the leading virtual tabletop platforms, now offers officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons content from Wizards of the Coast. Available through Steam, the software can allow players to virtually recreate the 5th edition D&D tabletop experience complete with dice rolling, 2D maps and a play experience completely controlled by a dungeon master.

via D&D now on Steam, complete with dice and a Dungeon Master | Polygon.