June 17, 2014

Schools of Design and Their Core Priorities

One of the regular topics on this blog has to do with the classification of games and the pursuit of a theory or framework that describes the operation and resulting experience of playing board games.

This interest is not driven by the assumption that we'll ever find a perfect system for actually classifying games. Rather, I feel the pursuit of such classification efforts and building a framework for understanding generates interesting discussion, builds knowledge, and creates insights that can be of value on their own.

I've discussed, in an earlier blog post, the idea of trying to define broader categories of games (e.g. What makes a euro a euro?). I want to return to this topic but bring in some other insights and references that I've come across, which will hopefully provide a more tangible and comprehensive picture.

This is a monstrous post ... you have been warned!

June 16, 2014

Dynamic Balancing Acts - A Perspective on Ginkgopolis

1 comment:
This review was originally posted on BoardGameGeek.Com April 8, 2013.  As of this reposting, I've played Ginkgopolis over a dozen more times.  The below review still applies.

Ginkgopolis is Xavier Georges’ fifth (I believe) game, following Royal Palace (2008), Carson City (2009), Troyes (2010), and Tournay (2011), along with a smattering of expansions for some of the above. This is the first of Xavier’s game I have played, and is currently ranked 325 in BGG (April 8th, 2013). Both Troyes and Carson city rank higher (39th and 167th respectively).

I admit that I have not played Ginkgopolis exhaustively – as I only have 3 plays under my belt at the time of writing (one each at 5 players, 3 players, and 2 players). Despite this, I found myself enamored with the game, both its flaws and its successes, and spent considerable time thinking about it.

Reactions to Ginkgopolis seem a bit of a mixed bag. The primary criticisms of the game being lack of theme integration with the mechanics and the high level of apparent randomness and uncertainty in the game. I decided to write this review to explore these two criticisms and examine the overall gameplay dynamics at work. I will conclude with my thoughts on how Ginkgopolis “fits” into the overall gaming scene and why I think it will be a compelling but underappreciated game.

June 6, 2014

Big Game Theory! Expands into a New Universe

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The Big Game Theory! blog has a new, dedicated home in an alternate reality where BGG, impossibly, doesn't exist! What you say!?

The Big Game Theory blog launched at BoardGameGeek (BGG) to discuss boardgame design and design theory. The blog has been running at BGG since September 2011 and has generated a ton of great discussion and dedicated followers. So worry not, it will continue to be updated at the original location in full.

So why the dedicated site?