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About Board Games of All Sorts — but Especially Eurogames
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    This is a reprint of an article written in October, 2007 for first publication in the March 2008 issue of Knucklebones magazine; it was the final issue. Because of its origins, this article is more introductory and (hopefully) more polished … Continue reading

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    Over the last decade, we’ve seen the evolution of a new genre of gaming: the co-op game. Because we’re still here in the early days of the genre, we’ve had the good fortune over the last decade (and to a … Continue reading

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    Last month I started a discussion of co-op games with an article I called “Gaming Evolution: Co-Op Games, Part One: Honored Ancestors”. It talks about some of the primordial co-op games which helped to create the genre in the 1980s and … Continue reading

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    In previous articles in this column I discussed the primordial co-operative play board games, from 1987 to 2000 — starting with Arkham Horror and ending with Lord of the Rings — and I talked with Richard Launius, who helped to … Continue reading

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    As with its predecessors, this article is intended to talk about the games that I played recently which I’d never played before. Most of them are games that were published in the last year or so within the United States, … Continue reading

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    To date I haven’t paid any attention to Kickstarters in this blog under the theory that it’s better to talk about games when they’re done and published. However, two current Kickstarters caught my eye, so I decided to give them … Continue reading

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    Matt Leacock is well-known as the designer of Pandemic (2007), Forbidden Island (2010), Forbidden Desert (2013), and related games. I interviewed him about his designs a couple of years ago, following the release of Forbidden Desert. Now that Modiphius Entertainment is … Continue reading

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    Eric B. Vogel is the designer of multiple games, including two deckbuilding designs, Zeppelin Attack! (2014) and Don’t Turn Your Back (2015), that he’s discussed in previous interviews. This time around, he’s created his first cooperative game, based on the popular Dresden Files series of … Continue reading

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    Dominion (2008) kicked off a whole new genre of play: the deckbuilding games. But it’s also created a few spin-offs of its own, with Orléans (2014, 2015) being one of the more far-flung examples. Styles of Building Play Though Dominion is all about deckbuilding, a … Continue reading

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    I’ve co-authored a pretty extensive book on the design of cooperative games. (It’s currently seeking a publisher.) As a result, I’m usually quick to suggest a new co-op game hit the table … and a lot of them did this Spring. … Continue reading

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  • 11/27/17--05:00: The Tao of Board Gaming VII
  • Koans I-III can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming I (December 2009). Koans IV-VI can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming II (April 2010). Koans VII-IX can be found in The Tao of Board Gaming III (October 2012). Koans X-XII can be … Continue reading

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    For the last few years, I’ve been working on a book about the design of cooperative tabletop games with my co-author, Christopher Allen. We’ve recently finalized a contract with a publisher, and we hope to be offering the book to … Continue reading

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  • 07/16/18--11:27: Announcing Meeples Together
  • For a while now I’ve been alluding to the fact that I’ve been working on a book on the design of cooperative board games, alongside my co-author, Christopher Allen. In fact, you can see the excess of cooperative games that … Continue reading

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    The biggest problem with cooperative game design is the issue of the controlling player — or if you prefer, the alpha player. It’s such a big problem that some players won’t play co-ops because of bad past experiences with controlling … Continue reading

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    Meeples Together (which is now being funded on Kickstarter) breaks down the design of cooperative games primarily through the analysis and dissection of existing releases. These discussions form the core of the book, but specific games are also highlighted in individual … Continue reading

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    Meeples Together is continuing to crowdfund on Kickstarter. It’s already blown through its first stretch goal, which adds a case study for Matt Leacock’s Forbidden Island to the book. We hope we’ll also be able to talk about his Forbidden … Continue reading

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    Meeples Together (which is nearing the end of its funding on Kickstarter) covers a whole spectrum of cooperative games. “True co-ops” are the heart of the book, but it also discusses traitor games, overlord games, and even the more classic … Continue reading

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  • 11/15/18--05:00: Co-op Case Study: Sub Terra
  • Our Kickstarter for Meeples Together ends this week, but we’ll be continuing to publish new case studies supplementing the book in the weeks and months to come. (We’ve got more than 50 additional case studies drafted, plus another handful planned.) … Continue reading

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    Nikki Valens was a Senior Game Designer at Fantasy Flight Games from 2013-2018, during which time she worked on several cooperative board games, including two of FFG’s top releases: Mansions of Madness and Arkham Horror. This compressed period of game … Continue reading