Tabletop Games Blog

Tabletop Games Blog

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All things tabletop games.


Atmospheric ambience (Topic Discussion)
Oct 20
A 60 miles an hour dust storm is whistling around the small Mars base, pulling at the airlock, shaking the whole station side to side and blowing over the tiny buildings with a deep rumbling sound, while the computer equipment fans quietly hum away in the…
Tiny Footprint (Saturday Review)
Oct 17
Living in the country is nice, but getting to work requires a car. In fact, getting anywhere needs a car: shopping, going out (unless it’s to the local at the edge of the village), seeing friends (because even though you pretend to, you don’t actually get…
Rory Muldoon (Let me illustrate)
Oct 14
Rory Muldoon is a graphic designer and games designer from the south-east of the UK. After going freelance in 2016 he began working on is own game, Skora, which has recently been published by Inside the Box Board Games. Alongside his own projects, he has…
Separate together (Topic Discussion)
Oct 13
Now, that many of us no longer meet in person, many face-to-face games groups have stopped meeting and have gone online. Of course, online isn’t the same as “in real life”, so I want to use this article to look at how my virtual board gaming experience…
Jaws (Saturday Review)
Oct 10
It was time to find the next victim. The beaches were full of swimmers, so it was going to be easy pickings. Yet, the sea around the island was patrolled by the Orca, a 42-foot former lobster boat, that was launching barrels into the sea to flush me out.…
Give and take (Topic Discussion)
Oct 6
I’ve recently got into heavier games, such as Brass: Birmingham with my games group, because they help me completely focus on a game, allowing my brain to fully put aside my day-to-day worries and thoughts. I’ve also started to enjoy games with more…
Brass: Birmingham (Digital Eyes)
Oct 3
Looking back, building that last pottery had been foolhardy. Investing in the rail network would have been much more lucrative and sensible, but you had wanted to compete with your contemporaries. Maybe if you had been more careful and had planned further…
Julie Okahara (Let me illustrate)
Sep 30
Julie Okahara was born in Osaka, Japan and after graduating from Osaka Industrial Arts High School, began work as a graphic designer. Wanting to further their studies in studio art, Julie came to California in 2005. Since then Julie has expanded into…
Easy rules (Topic Discussion)
Sep 29
The holy grail of the perfect rulebook is something that most publishers try to find and is something that we all want. It’s no surprise that unboxing videos usually show you what the rulebook of a game looks like and one reason why many publishers allow…
Mini Memory Mischief (Saturday Review)
Sep 26
Your 8-bit computer may seem to be collecting dust in your loft, but actually, there is still a lot of life in the old box yet. Two of the microprocessors, Mikro and Chip, are keeping themselves amused by playing little, fun games. After all, their…
Play and learn (Topic Discussion)
Sep 22
The more we play games, the more we learn. We learn better strategies, new mechanisms, how to be a better loser, as well as a better winner, we learn that we don’t always have to have the latest games, or that we definitely do, and we learn a few other…
Azul (Saturday Review)
Sep 19
It was the fifth factory you had visited today, as you were trying to find three turquoise ceramic tiles to complete your pattern in the King’s palace. You needed three - exactly - no more, no less. The first factory you had visited had no turquoise…
Naomi Robinson (Let me illustrate)
Sep 16
Naomi Robinson is a freelance artist and illustrator based in the North-West of the UK. She has worked on a variety of different board games and RPG books, with a wide range of styles and themes.
Sensitive settings (Topic Discussion)
Sep 15
Throughout time, terrible things have happened: plagues, wars, colonialism, genocide, executions, experimentation, extinctions, terrorism, abuse and many other atrocities. Some are still going on, most are condemned and they all evoke strong emotions in…
Heroic Echoic (Saturday Review)
Sep 12
I slammed down Cowgirl and immediately opened the bidding with a “Klik”, which was countered with a “Thwak” and to which I responded with a “Splat”. A “Twang” played by the other side brought us level again, which meant I could still win this. After a…
Min-maxing (Topic Discussion)
Sep 8
When I play board games with my games group, I’m usually more competitive than I would otherwise be. I want to win and try to find the most efficient way to get the most points. However, I know that I’m not usually very good at spotting where the points…
Bots Up (Saturday Review)
Sep 5
With a loud “Bang!” the head flew off, followed by a “leg-splosion” that severed both legs, leaving only the body and the left arm. It wasn’t pretty. Yet, you knew you could turn it all around. There were still plenty of options. You just had to duck and…
Keturah Ariel Nailah Bobo (Let me illustrate)
Sep 2
Keturah Ariel Nailah Bobo was born in Toledo, Ohio with strong family roots in Detroit, MI. Keturah grew up with parents that instilled in her the importance of individuality and creativity. Keturah graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a…
Gamer types (Topic Discussion)
Sep 1
Let’s have a little fun and see if we can somehow classify the people we play board games with. Don’t worry, the article is tongue-in-cheek. I’m not trying to label people in a certain way. We’re all unique and different and we change over time. Yet, I do…
Cracker Games (Saturday Review)
Aug 29
I know, it’s not yet Christmas, but bear with me on this one. Cracker Games by The Dark Imp is going to be on Kickstarter on 1 September 2020 and is scheduled to reach backers in December, before Christmas. So, yes, lead times are a bit longer. However,…
Iacta alea est (Topic Discussion)
Aug 25
Luck, chance, randomness - there are many names for introducing a bit of chaos into a board game. Dice rolling, a deck of cards or maybe a dexterity element can all introduce an unpredictable outcome that makes a game less predictable. In this article, I…
Don’t Get Got (Saturday Review)
Aug 22
“Guess what?” I asked - but there was no reply. The other player just looked at me - suspiciously. “Guess what?” I asked, this time with more feeling. Yet, there was still no reply. The other player tilted their head and squinted at me. “Guess what?” I…
Tumo Mere (Let me illustrate)
Aug 19
Tumo Mere is a concept artist and illustrator specializing in video games and comics. He is also the lead artist for the Swordsfall RPG. Hailing from Botswana, Tumo incorporates a modern African style through their intricate art and cultural knowledge.
Critical reviews (Topic Discussion)
Aug 18
I always wondered what the difference is between a reviewer and a critic, or even a review and a critique. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, sometimes they’re describing two different things, but very often they seem to be used for things…
Viticulture: Essential Edition (Saturday Review)
Aug 15
The irrigation system was ready, but there was still work to be done on the trellises. The windmill, cottage and tasting room were still just ruins and only the first third of the wine cellar was accessible. The crush pads were all clean and ready to…
Complex complexity (Topic Discussion)
Aug 11
Complexity is a fairly vague term. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the state of having many parts and being difficult to understand or find an answer to.” Yet, it’s not clear when parts are considered “many” or at what point something is difficult…
Five Tribes (Saturday Review)
Aug 8
The task in hand wasn’t going to be simple, but the rewards were huge. You could become ruler of Naqala if you were able to influence the people of the land to help you reach your goal. You were hoping to get the help of the djinns, but they would only…
Marco Bucci (Let me illustrate)
Aug 5
Marco Bucci is a freelance artist and his experience includes books, film, animation, and advertising. He has worked for Walt Disney Publishing Worldwide, LEGO, LucasArts, Mattel Toys, Fisher-Price, Hasbro, among many others.‚Äč He is also a passionate…
Limited components (Topic Discussion)
Aug 4
I have previously written about small box games in my article “Compressed collections” which can create a lot of gameplay with only a few components. However, even larger box, or big box, games are sometimes very inventive when it comes to using…
Swatch (Saturday Review)
Aug 1
“Hm. Deep Purple looks good. Life’s A Peach is also very warm and rich. Oh, and of course, we want the Cactus Jack. That would be the perfect triad of colours.” You step back and look at the colour samples you just painted onto the wall in the kitchen.…
Visual appeal (Topic Discussion)
Jul 28
As many of you probably already know, I’m a very visual person. So it’s no surprise that I am drawn in by great board game art, sculpts, luxurious components and overall visual appeal. Don’t get me wrong, visual appeal alone doesn’t make me want to buy a…
Splendor (Saturday Review)
Jul 25
Sparkling jewels, shiny gems and precious stones lay in front of you - but only a handful and not necessarily the best example. Your hope was to sell some them for enough profit to be able to buy shares in a diamond mine and attract highly skilled…
Andrew Bosley (Let me illustrate)
Jul 22
Andrew Bosley has been a professional concept artist in the video game industry since 2006 and in 2013 became a freelance concept artist and illustrator. He has worked on games including Everdell, Tapestry, Mission: Red Planet, and Citadels. He is also a…
Compressed collections (Topic Discussion)
Jul 21
As many of you probably know, I only have limited space for games. That’s why I very much like small box games that have a lot of gameplay crammed into a small volume. It’s also the reason why I have been reboxing games that come in bigger boxes,…
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (Digital Eyes)
Jul 18
You were constantly tired from working endless hours day in and day out. You had very little time to think about the world and when you did, you didn’t have the words to describe what you saw and felt. However, you had used every spare moment to puzzle…
Value for money (Topic Discussion)
Jul 14
The cost of tabletop games is a topic that keeps popping up. There is the question of whether games have now become “overproduced”, in the sense that the game components have become more expensive, due to an increase in quantity, an increase in quality or…
The Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches expansion (Saturday Review)
Jul 11
“Bubble, bubble,” the herb witch cackles. “Stir the pot - nice and slow,” the miracle doctor says. “Slowly, add another ingredient… what will it be?” the quack surgeon asks, looking at you intently. You reach into the bag, with anticipation, not quite…
Less is more (Topic Discussion)
Jul 7
As we all know, plastics are the scourge of our planet and can now be found virtually everywhere - from the obvious places like landfill sites to the most unexpected such as in the Arctic. They have invaded the food chain and it is estimated that less…
Back to the Future: Dice Through Time (Saturday Review)
Jul 4
“So, let me illustrate. Imagine a line that represents time and at one point is 1985, to the left of it the past and to the right of it the future. If we travel back in time and make some small changes, the timeline skews off at an angle, creating an…
Collected collections (Topic Discussion)
Jun 30
Different people buy games for different reasons, and many of us will have amassed a little, or not so little, collection that we have at home that we are proud of. Yet, sometimes we’re not sure how we got there or how we should continue going forward. So…
Chai (Takebacks)
Jun 27
A small queue of customers was waiting outside. It was our opening day. We had our tea ready and some bits in our pantry, but still had to buy the flavours, which we wanted to get fresh from the market during the day, so that every tea would taste fresh…
Oh my word (Topic Discussion)
Jun 23
I often feel that we accept the written word as something that’s a given and don’t pay much attention to it. We feel that writing isn’t hugely important and that it’s fine to just jot anything down, without much care or attention. That’s often fine and…
Carbon City Zero (Saturday Review)
Jun 20
It was time to build a better future and turn this city around. We knew we had to reduce our carbon output quickly. Our aim was to be carbon neutral. Yet, the road there would be difficult and tough decisions had to be made. Modernizing our housing stock,…
Calculated victory (Topic Discussion)
Jun 16
If you like competitive games, then you’re probably familiar with trying to gauge where in the ranking you currently are during the game. Some games offer score tracks, so it’s immediately clear how far ahead or behind you are - or if you’re somewhere in…
Quadropolis (Saturday Review)
Jun 13
“I think everyone agrees. We want to build the best metropolis in the world and we have a great opportunity to do so from scratch. We have a large plot of land that is ready to be built on. We can really create something special here that will make…
Coming around again (Topic Discussion)
Jun 9
There are many reasons why some games are played a couple of times and then put to one side. Often the game just doesn’t suit you or your games group or it doesn’t meet the expectations you had. However, there are also games that are put to one side, but…
The Quacks of Quedlinburg (Saturday Review)
Jun 6
“Carefully now,” you mumble as your hand reaches into the bag of ingredients. “That’s it,” you mutter as you pull out another pumpkin piece and add it to your bubbling pot. “One more, just one more,” you say to yourself as you pray that the next…
Graphic games (Topic Discussion)
Jun 2
In the next article in my series about how board games go from an idea to a product, I want to talk about the creative people who are responsible for the graphics and other visual bits that we see when we play games. Very often their work is what we see…
Doughnut Dash (Saturday Review)
May 30
“Silence!” you shout at the two imps sitting opposite you in the surveillance van. “It’s time you two pilferers sneak into the factory and steal some tasty doughnuts. It’ll be absolutely pitch black in there, so I’ll be watching you from here and tell you…
Distant friends (Topic Discussion)
May 26
I previously shared my experiences of games nights with friends who are all in different places, briefly touching on the different platforms available, but focussing more on the experience and what to do to make it feel as close to being together as…