John Tromp is a computer scientist whose interests include mazes (playable: 1, 2), chess problems, Go (previously), graphical representations of combinatory logic, Connect-4, code obfuscation, darts, pop music, and much, much more.
Based originally on a description in a story by Andy Looney, the game of Icehouse was a board game without a board, played in real time without turns with a set of colored pyramids in three sizes. It still has its fans, and you can find some pretty detailed fan stuff out there on the internet regarding the game of Icehouse. Over the years, though, people found ways to use such enticingly generic game pieces for far, far more… [more inside]
Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem (TW: nasty stuff)
The story of Cosmic Encounter is about a flash of creative genius in the early seventies, followed by four decades of struggle to see that vision fully realised. Despite the rapturous critical acclaim Cosmic Encounter has accrued in the 39 years since its first publication, it has not been followed by commercial success. Indeed, the creators of the greatest boardgame in existence have never made a living off it. The making of Cosmic Encounter, the greatest boardgame in the galaxy
The 2015 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Tabletop Games: a list produced by BoardGameGeek's 1 Player Guild in connection with the 1 Player Podcast. Over 200 voters today put the Mage Knight Board Game in the top spot once more, but a number of smaller/shorter games made the top 10 too. The group's FAQ "Why do some people play solitaire board games?" explains how solo tabletop gaming complements multiplayer and digital board gaming. This week, incidentally, the iOS Board Games blog is synopsizing the latter in its annual Digital Board Games Gift Guide. [more inside]
Were you thinking of buying a board game for someone this holiday season? Snakes and Lattes would like to help you pick just the right one.
You're sitting down with your friends to play a boardgame, and you find yourself in a conundrum: how do you choose a first player? Sure, you could roll a standard die and take highest number, but what if there's a tie? That could take forever! Besides, wouldn't you rather be mathematically sure that everyone has a fair shot at each spot in the turn order? Of course you would!
Noted boardgaming blog Shut Up & Sit Down (previously) has been publishing its "Top 25 Games Ever!" all week long. Now that the series is complete, let the arguing begin: 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6, 5-1.
The best learning games are always fun. Try playing them yourself and see if you enjoy them. No matter how advanced your understanding of the subject matter, a good game should still be fun. I've understood algebra and number partitions for decades, but DragonBox and Wuzzit Trouble are still challenging puzzlers that I like to fiddle with on long airline flights. All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways. In fact, this is the reason games work so well for learning: Players are intrinsically motivated to identify and succeed at understanding the game's mechanics.The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning provides a basic introduction to the use of video games in education, gives several thought-provoking examples, and points to numerous sites with related goals, including Edutopia's articles on game-based learning and Graphite's reviews of digital games with educational content. Meanwhile, this being what The Guardian has just called "Board games' golden age," resources such as Play Play Learn, BoardGameGeek's Games in the Classroom, and The Dice Tower's recent countdown of "Top Ten Games for the Classroom" offer interesting options for the tabletop as well. [more inside]
Chesscademy is a chess teaching website modelled on Codecademy. As such, it gives a sequence of short puzzles and exercises which help you build up knowledge of everything from how the pieces move to the intricacies of positional play. Sections of each 'course' are introduced by a short video. It's like a well-written chess book with interactive diagrams!
Big Game Theory! Board games that tell stories. The Bored Gaymer. A girl likes games. HiveGod's Yell Matrix. QWERTYUIOP. 365 Days of Gaming. Those are a few of the most favorited current blogs on BoardGameGeek, and these are a few of their most favorited posts. [more inside]
"But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me tell you a story: a story about a board game. The Murder, She Wrote board game. You didn't know such a thing existed? Neither did I, before my friend Sarah brought it one summer to camp. (For the sake of clarity: I mean camp in the upstate New York sense, i.e., a small un-insulated cottage on a freshwater lake that has a preponderance of mismatched glasses and forks with wonky tines and maybe exposed studs but is the greatest place to family-vacation on earth.) Sarah and I met in day care, and had been friends for years—but this year, when she came to visit, she unknowingly brought the one thing that would enflame my jealousy." [more inside]
Competitive board gamers are a serious lot. Perhaps none are more serious than the players of the most ruthless and harrowing board game of all: Diplomacy.
Risk: Legacy, released in 2011, adds an interesting twist to the classic boardgame: it introduces permanent, game-changing modifications to the board and game pieces every time it is played. Last year, the designer of the game, Rob Daviau, gave a fascinating talk on the design challenges inherent in such a game. The video of that talk is now freely available to watch. [more inside]
Lonely? Bored? Well, the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest is here to help you stave off boredom this weekend (and burn through all of your printer ink). This year's winner is Maquis, a "solitaire worker-placement game with variable goals and a play time of approximately twenty minutes. The player places his resistance agents on spaces around town to achieve his goals - blowing up trains, publishing underground newspapers - but at the same time Milice collaborators and Wehrmacht soldiers patrol the area." [more inside]
Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
Allan B. Calhamer, creator of the board game Diplomacy, passed away on February 25th. Despite the game's success he never made a living off it, and worked for many years as a mail carrier in La Grange Park, Illinois. Chicago Magazine published a profile of him in 2009.
Take a copy of Monopoly, cover it in lye for a few days, boil from off the bones whatever flesh remains, and give the clean white skeleton a tasteful, minimalist paintjob, and you end up with ONOPO, an extreme reduction of the original boardgame by Metafilter's own Matthew Hollett, aka oulipian. Via mefi projects, hat tip to fastcodesign c/o Rock Paper Shotgun's always-lovely Sunday Papers feature.
In November 2007, a new board game called Yavalath was invented. The rules of Yavalath are simple: Players take turns adding a piece of their colour to a hexagonal board and win by making four-in-a-row of their colour – but lose by making three-in-a-row beforehand. Yavalath has proven reasonably popular as its simple rules allow interesting and surprising situations to develop due to its innovative win with four but lose with three winning condition. But Yavalath is really set apart from the many other board games invented in 2007 by one remarkable fact: Yavalath was designed by a computer programme. [more inside]
Ever played Monopoly? Then you've played a board game that was designed by a woman (it was, under its original title, "The Landlord's Game," the creation of Elizabeth Magie). Want to play more board games designed by women? Let's go! [more inside]
Monopoly Is Theft. The antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game.
Photographs of the Prison Chess series were taken in 2008 and 2009 in a maximum security facility of the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. [more inside]
Here is VASSAL, an open-source engine for playing board games online, by email, on forums or on a single machine. Which board games? These. (Requires Java.)
Did you know that popular, absurdly inexpensive board game producer James Ernest's Cheapass Games has released some of their most popular games as free PDFs? Among them Deadwood, Devil Bunny Needs A Ham, The Big Cheese, FALLING and Unexploded Cow? [more inside]
In 1979, gaming company Avalon Hill (since bought by Hasbro) released a board game based on the popular science fiction novel Dune. Regarded by many as a masterpiece of the form, it is an asymmetrical wargame designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge and Peter Olotka, the people who created Cosmic Encounter. Six different factions vie for control of the desert planet Arrakis. As WickerNipple notes in his Everything node on the game, “Instead of giving subtle differences to the various factions like most games, Dune gives huge differences and advantages, that don't over-balance things only because every faction receives them.” The thing is, each player has special rules that give them very different options and abilities compared to the other sides, and yet the game remains balanced (especially when played by a full six players). The game has been long out of print due to the Frank Herbert estate refusing to re-license. Fantasy Flight Games is rumored to be working on a release of the game without the Dune license. Importantly, all the necessary files are available on the game's BoardGameGeek page to construct a copy of the game. (Homebrew game board - Rules, cards, counters and extras - Windows freeware game client and server) [more inside]
Four different shogi-playing software programs combined forces to "aggressively pursue" and defeat female champion Ichiyo Shimizu in 86 moves. (previously)
The art of Clue suspect cards through the years, courtesy of The Art of Murder, a comprehensive Clue fan site.
DowntimeTown is the boardgame review site of Scottish comedian Robert Florence, previously of Consolevania and Videogaiden [and previously on MetaFilter]. The heart of DowntimeTown are the wonderful video reviews, recommendations is a better word, where Florence explains why he likes the games under review so damn much, in an irreverent but loving fashion. There are plain ol' text reviews too, besides a whole host of other goodness. Links to individual videos below the cut. [more inside]
Confused in Catan? Conflicted about Carcassonne? Puzzled in Puerto Rico? You've heard about all these awesome new board games that are out these days, but don't know where to begin? Help is here! Scott Nicholson knows all about 'em, and will explain them in great detail in his video series Board Games With Scott! [more inside]
Advanced Squad Leader is a tactical-level board wargame, originally marketed by Avalon Hill Games, that simulates actions of approximately company or battalion size in World War II. ... Despite the price tag and the expensive lists of prerequisites for each new module, the game system caught on and new modules continued to be produced twenty years after the original release - a feat unheard of in the board wargaming industry, especially with the decline in sales due to rising popularity of console and PC games. [more inside]
Scrabulizer lets you enter the current state of your game in Scrabble and shows you all possible moves. They've also discovered a move worth 2044 Points
A huge collection of vintage cycling board games. The main site also has resources for rolling your own cycling game.
At the recent Games for Change conference, Brenda Brathwaite debuted her game Train. The WSJ blog Speakeasy interviews her: Players load boxcars with tiny yellow figurines and are asked to move the trains from one end of the course to the other. They pull cards that either impede their progress or free some of the characters. Once a train reaches the "finish line," the game is completed and it is revealed [more inside]
Even among "monster games", it stands alone. A 7-foot mapsheet. 1,800 counters. 1,500 hours to play. It is SPI's The Campaign for North Africa.
Geeky? Crafty? Got some time on your hands? Make your own boardgame pieces! Tutorials for making custom 3-d Settlers of Catan tiles (and gorgeous custom sets here, and here, although with no instructions,alas). Agricola more your style? Grab some polymer clay and get making resources, more resources, food, sheep, more sheep, boars, cattle, and (of course) farmers, farmers, farmers, farmers, farmers, and farmers. Don't forget fences, tiles, and a starting player piece. Lots more in the image gallery at BoardGameGeek.
SoftBoard Games: Free, Commercial, and Abandoned Computer Versions of Board and Card Games with Computer AI (Artificial Intelligence) Opponents.
"A Solitaire Civization game that's compact enough to play on a plane ... Using only a pad of paper, a pencil, and a specialized deck of cards, lead your civilization through the ages to become ... civilized." A free "print-and-play" board game. [more inside]
Chess Problems has hundreds of problems in six difficulty classes from novice to fiendish [java]
A Field Guide to Chess Tactics. Chess tactics explained in plain English, with hundreds of examples. A great site for beginning to mid-level players. Includes a large library of positional problems, organized thematically, with the solutions explained and discussed. For example, learn about knight forks, then quiz yourself on the same topic.
"The definitive list of single-player games." Here's another. And if your Paypal account balance means eBay isn't an option, here's a whole mess of stuff to do by yourself with a basic deck of cards.
Virus is a very simple, addictive flash game; using the colors available to you at the bottom of the screen, convert all the tiles on the board into a single color. Similar colored connecting tiles become part of the viral mass. Via.
Chess has a long, if somewhat shrouded, history, with beautiful chess pieces found dating from the 5th century. It has spawned hundreds of fascinating stories, and many interesting names for moves. For the last five decades, the history of chess and computers have been intertwined in many ways. Chess continues to adapt to a new age, with controversies around computer-assisted cheating, attempts to sex-up chess books, thousands of variants, and an amazing online database that can search through recorded games for the last 200 years.
Free Computer Version of Board and Card Games with Artificial Intelligence Computer Opponents and with Screen Shots is exactly what is says. Now those of you who've had their interest piqued by such games as Settlers of Catan or others mentioned in the Top 100 Boardgames thread can try games such as these without ponying up the thirty bucks for a big box of boards and pieces.
Posit: Settlers of Catan is the greatest board game of all time. (Read the rules and see for yourself, just don't go too crazy with changing them.) Why not spend Saturday playing online? There are several java versions available for those leery of installing things.
Hnefatafl is an anglo-norse boardgame whose many variants are mentioned in the sagas (wearing a helmet during play is entirely optional) . Chess superseded it during the rennaisance, but Scholarly work has allowed the rules to be deduced in modern times, mainly on the basis of a 1732 diary account written by Linnaeus (he of the botanical naming system).
And now, thanks to the magic of the internet, you can play online.
And now, thanks to the magic of the internet, you can play online.
The 100 best board games... (at least according to this guy).
Roman ball games and Roman board games. Complete with literary references, ancient artwork, and instructions for playing the games yourself. So let's all sing: Aufer me ad arenam (to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame").
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