Tuesday, January 22, 2008

For the Love of the Game: Board Game Resources

If you have read Baby Toolkit for a while, you know that we like to play board games. We particularly love games that are typically classed as "German games" or "Euro games,".

The only problem is that there are so many and they are often kind of pricey. We can have a talk later about whether a game is worth such a price (we think they are given the amount of entertainment you will receive in the time that you play versus the price you pay). With the advent of podcasting and blogging in all its forms, there are quite a few resources that you can use in selecting your next purchase.

Four particularly good resources that we recently found are "Board Games with Scott" and three podcasts, "Family Night," "The Game Kennel" and "King's Court," from the Pulp Gamer site.

"Board Games with Scott" is a regularly updated video podcast in which the host, Scott Nicholson, usually focuses on highlighting one game, its components, the basic rules, general gameplay and provides a mini-review about who the game might appeal to.

To get an idea of the types of games that all these resources are talking about, Scott created a handy Board Games 101 episode that gives an overview (with MANY examples) of what these types of games are all about.

Pulp Gamer
produces a number of excellent quality game-related audio podcasts; each focusing on a different audience. Generally they discuss the components of the game, the general quality, the cost, general game play, and give a starred score (using a scale that they repeat in each episode), and a justification for the score. "Family Night" focuses on family oriented titles and activities that they think will help entertain the family as a whole. "The Game Kennel" is a general game review podcast as is "The King's Court."

For all of these resources, it is worth checking out the back catalog of episodes if your reader doesn't pick them up.

If you have any board game resources that you enjoy, let us know in the comments. If you have any games that you have recently tried and enjoyed, let us know that as well.

Happy gaming.


Windy said...

Hi. I work in a boardgame store. Euro games really are the best! We use boardgamegeek.com to decide what to carry. Its a very through site, and they have a handy rating system.

Anonymous said...

we play lots of candyland....it gets a little old! :)

perhaps you know of a site where one can buy missing pieces for a game without having to purchase a new game entirely? we have several games with pieces missing..~karen

adrienne said...

A lot of game makers will sell replacement parts (and the best ones send them for just s&h costs).

Here's Hasbro's replacement part website (in case your Candyland is a few pawns shy of a sweet shop).

Michael Phillips said...

Boardgame Geek is pretty much tops as an info resource.

Recent plays...
Once Upon a Time (not a boardgame) is a great deal of fun. I've never played it without the Dark Tales expansion, since I received both at the same time. It definitely is most fun if you don't have any hypercompetitive players, since the rules are quite easy to game into a quick unsatisfying win. (Sort of like 1000 Blank White Cards, which is a great game of the mutable rules sort. Much easier to play than most mutable rules games I've seen.)

Dungeon Twister is a great strategy-lite game for two players. (It has expansions that add the ability to have extra players.)

Acquire is a sort of generacized version of Cathedral with economic planning. You know, that sounds a lot less fun than it did in my head... The game itself is a good deal of fun, and one that can easily be played as a solitaire game even though the rules don't actually cover that mode. (As a result of being an only child for ten years, I tend to analyze games in terms of how easy it is to make them fun with a single player.)

AJ said...

The game descriptions at Boardgamegeek are often lousy, sometimes transcribed from the box top. A longtime user told me whoever submits the first description sets it in stone. Is that still true?

I only use Boardgamegeek to look at photos and read reviews in the forums. The website could use a huge makeover in how it functions.

Jim said...


I am not sure if that is still the case, but I have cooled a bit on Boardgame Geek (and why I like these other two resources a bit more) because there seems to be a bit of elitism going on over at BGG. The hardcore gamers often rate gateway, party, intro, light, and family games a lower than the more serious fare. Just take a look at the most popular game list and you can see what I mean.

I think it is unfair to compare something like Apples to Apples with something like Puerto Rico because they have two totally different audiences and intents. I don't think many games get a fair shake on BGG because the hard core gamers seem to turn their noses up at these games.

So, I see where you are coming from.

I still find the reviews to be mostly helpful, but you have to read a bunch of them (I wouldn't go with just one).

As far as the interface, I also agree. It is cluttered and needs an overhaul. I think this is in part due to the fact that it appears to be built on forum software that has had a bunch of other features tacked on. I could be wrong about that, but that's how it feels at least.