Table of Contents
Let’s be honest – there is too much happening in board games. There are too many games, too many podcasts, too many blogs. Just too much of everything!
This article series is going to exacerbate that problem by being ‘just one more bloody thing’ that gets published. My hope here is to direct attention to some of the absolutely excellent stuff that’s floating around there. This is stuff that maybe you missed because you blinked at the wrong time as your twitter feed refreshed. This isn’t necessarily the best content from the month, it’s just the most interesting content that I and others actually saw and remembered we’d seen. I stole the idea for this from Keith McLeman over at Cardboard and Coffee, and you should go drop him a follow on his Facebook page for his own monthly digest.
I’m always interested in contributors for this series, although of a necessity the number of slots for this will have to be limited. I don’t want this to end up being so long a list that it doesn’t even serve as a highlight reel. Please drop me a mail if you’re interested in providing your own monthly roundup, with full attribution! For those that would just like to bring occasional attention to especially good work they’ve seen, or even point out something of their own of which they are especially proud, drop a comment under the post. We also have a Meeple Like Us Subreddit, and if you feel happier adding your favourite posts there then there will be a comment thread for this post right there. I promise to remember to check it. Occasionally.
Starting off silly this month – The Dragon’s Tomb is a Youtube channel that currently has only three videos, but those videos are parody rules explanation that are as plausible as they are ridiculous. I’ll be keeping an eye on this channel as time goes by because if there’s one thing I love it’s someone doing something I’ve never seen before.
Rebecca Strang over at To Play Is Human has just made available an excellent reading list for those looking to explore a more scholarly set of board game related literature. If you’re a librarian looking to put your board game work on a solid footing, or indeed someone just interested in thoughtful content, I’d really advise you check it out.
Erika and Livia at the University of Washington have a survey out on the topic of tabletop gaming accessibility – I’m not sure if they’re still going to be looking for participants by the time this goes out but just in case – here it is!
Our next thing is a video game article, but it’s so worthwhile that I think it might be of interest to anyone in games development and design generally. It’s a fascinating postmortem of a game called Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and how the ambition of the game eventually outpaced the feasibility of its delivery. Honest and well worth reading.
This isn’t supposed to be a news roundup, but it’s hard to avoid all the chatter around the talk about Asmodee going up for sale. This is a potentially seismic shift in the tabletop gaming landscape regardless of what way it shakes down. Reddit and BoardGameGeek had plenty to say about it.
I’m not going to weigh in one way or another here (because this series isn’t a soapbox for me to vent my opinions) – I just want to direct you towards interesting content. On that score, this thread on the uselessness (or otherwise) of board game reviews is fascinating. There’s a lot to unpack in this, and as with any thread it goes a bit off the rails after a while but it’s always good to see how people view the work you do, in the abstract, and calibrate (or not) accordingly
I don’t want to be a well of negativity this month, but this is also a pretty sullen thread that is well worth reading – it’s about the heavy downvotes in /r/boardgames and why they might be occurring. Anyone who has found themselves in the doldrums of the front page and wondered why might find this useful.
I don’t know anything about Magic: The Gathering but I do know that this Twitter account that puts Magic cards through several iterations of Google Translate is one of the funniest things I’ve seen this month.
Sam Destaoff writes over at PCGamesN about Tabletop Simulator and the role it plays in the hobby. Unauthorized ‘mods’ of commercial games are common over on Steam, and this article talks to James Mathe of Minion Games for his take on the topic.
The Spiel des Jahres nominations were announced, and that’s not hugely interesting – you can find out about that anywhere. However, this commentary from the jury chair is worth reading as to what goes into the nomination process and why some games didn’t make the cut.
John Lean, Sam Illingworth and Paul Wake over at Manchester Metropolitan University have a paper that’s been published by the Association for Learning Technology. Academic papers are almost always a challenging read, but I think this is worth checking out if you want to see how board games might influence and be influenced by play in education.
Remember how we talked about the Tabletop Gaming Manual a couple of months ago? Well, now there’s the Board Game Book! We’re pretty excited about this because it’s being done by some top-notch writers and seems to be including perspectives from some equally top-notch designers. It’s launching on Kickstarter on the 5th of June so it’d be P. Cool if we could make sure it gets funded to support this and future board game writing.
You know the UK Games Expo is coming up, yeah? Well, there’s too much going on for me to remotely cover (especially since I don’t actually know) but I wanted to raise your awareness of a few events going on. Darren Edwards is going to be chairing a panel on serious gaming and games based learning and it looks really interesting. Jackson Pope is going to be showing people how to make card games with his own two hands. And we’ll be doing our seminar on board game accessibility. Come along!
Paul Grogan of Czech Games Edition and Gaming Rules is also running a charity raffle from 6:30 to 8:30 on Saturday. You should drop by if you can.
Ahead of the UKGE, Ross Connell of More Games Please has set up a Discord Server of Nice People. If you’re new to the event, you might want to sign up to this to get access to a group of people that will be welcoming and friendly. Plus myself!
I always like to see posts that talk about the ‘behind the scenes’ of game design and publishing. Tommaso De Benetti put together a fascinating post on the costs that go into self publishing an RPG and I think it’s well worth your attention.
Our One from the Archive this month is this lecture series on board game design from George Phillies. I found this several years ago, and I’ve watched a number of the lectures although I haven’t made it through all of them. It turns out that even after about twenty years in university, as undergraduate, postgraduate and lecturer, I’m still a terrible student. Still, this might be a unique resource and one that deserves some attention.
This Month’s Spotlight
Fortress Ameritrash has been a fixture in the board-game community for many, many years. They have some fabulous writers and some top notch content there. The name of the site has apparently been something of an issue of late, so they’re rebranding to There Will Be Games. If you’re interested in some excellent writing that exemplifies the best of the New Board Game Journalism that I’ve enthused about in the past then you could do an awful lot worse than checking them out.