Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page

Two-Player Race for the Galaxy

In appraisals, boardgames, race for the galaxy on March 26th, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Contrary to my original expectations, I have been playing a lot of two-player Race for the Galaxy (using the advanced rules, where each player selects two roles every round, of course), starting a couple of weeks ago. In fact, I have average about three-quarters of a game per day in that time.

What i didn’t foresee is that RftG is an excellent coffee shop game. I have packed everything into a couple of top-load card holders, like those used by CCG players, and I can easily carry them in the pockets of my winter jacket – or even by hand – without too much trouble. I now go down to Tim Horton’s 2-3 times a week with another member of my game group to knock out a few plays. I hesitate to call two-player better than multiplayer, but it is significantly different, and maybe more addictive.

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Interrogate Your NPCs—No Man is an Island, part 2

In role-playing games, techniques on March 13th, 2008 at 12:18 am

In part one of No Man is an Island, I discussed how characters that have relationships can make a roleplaying campaign more fun, and I gave some guidelines for creating relationships that are good at generating drama in an RPG. Now, in part two, I will expand on how to make dramatically interesting relationships by discussing the four most consistently dramatic types of relationships.

This was to be the last part in this series, but as I wrote, I found I had much more to say than I thought I did. As a result, there will be one more part in which I discuss Relationship Maps, the simplest way of organizing the relationships in a campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

Defending Puerto Rico, Deriding Caylus

In appraisals, boardgames, mechanics on March 3rd, 2008 at 12:46 am

After a prolonged hiatus, Jonathan Degann has just put up a new article on The Journal of Boardgame Design. Jonathan is among the best writers of boardgame criticism that I know of, so a new essay by him is always something to look forward to.

My joy at his new piece, “What is this board game about?” sank a bit when I thought it was going to preempt the first post of my series Elements of Elegance (yes, really, it is coming). It turns out that its focus is different enough from what I want to talk about, though, that I will only have to reference Jonathan. My article will be more than a link to “What is this board game about?” with a note saying “read this.”

Even after this relief, reading his new piece what not the same unalloyed pleasure it usually is. The main thesis is interesting, although I would differ in a few particulars. As always, Jonathan refers to particular games in his analysis, though, and I disagree strongly with the point he is trying to make with two of his examples. I think he gives short shrift to Puerto Rico, and I think he gives Caylus far too much credit.

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