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The Tabletop Games Blog is about all things board, card, dexterity and other modern games. Every week there is a new review and a topic discussion piece, all of which are also released in audio format on the podcast. Additionally, there is the Let me illustrate podcast series where board game artists answer a catalogue of 17 questions about themselves.
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Once upon a time in a magical village where artisan dragons worked at the butcher's to sell meat, the ironmonger to make metalware or in enchanting shops to bake bread, it was your role, as a Flamekeeper, to find the perfect shop for each dragon. You would visit these shops to gain items or enchant the shops to grow your reputation. Only the best F…
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I keep hearing people talk about replayability in board games. I've talked about the topic a few times in the past. I've also clarified the difference between variability and replayability. However, as the topic keeps popping up from time to time, I thought I'd share some more of my thoughts. After all, I think replayability is an important criteri…
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The mountains provided great vantage points for both sides. We could easily see what the enemy was doing, but so could they. Providing air support was going to be impossible because of the terrain, but we were still considering paradrops to get troops far into the enemy's territory. It would all come down to tactics, because we had only been given …
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Anne Isaksson is a 2D/3D artist living in Stockholm, Sweden. She has a bachelor's degree in 3D graphics from the Luleå University of Technology and a degree in 2D game art from Future Games. She has worked in the 3D industry and as a freelance 2D artist. She is currently a full-time concept and board game artist at ION Game Design. Read the audio t…
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I know it's not true for everyone and playing games by yourself is certainly something a lot of people really enjoy, but for me, playing board games with friends or family is very important. I always look forward to the next time I meet friends, be it online or in person, for game night. I get really excited when my wife or daughter says that they …
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The Women's Suffrage Movement in the US started small, very small in fact, in a tiny hamlet in New York State. Over time, it spread from state to state across the whole country as its following grew. Their fight for equal rights culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment after a seventy-year battle. However, while this monumental achievem…
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There is a type of board game that I absolutely love. In fact, I've always loved it. Economic simulations somehow activate a certain part of my brain that is really stimulating. These games not only activate my brain's reward centre, but their competitive nature and the element of bluffing all scratch the right itches for me. In this article, I wan…
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There. It was done. The mosaic was complete. It was tiny, about the size of a full stop. However, under the microscope, it glistened and glinted, it sparkled and shined. It was a wonderfully symmetric arrangement, forming the overall shape of a circle, intersected into various quadrants. Yet, it was more than just geometry and scientific fascinatio…
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I know that many of us play board games to have fun. Whether we enjoy lighter or heavier games, it's all about spending time, either alone or with friends or family, getting away from the day-to-day worries and immersing yourself in another world for an hour or two or three. Yet, there are games that are set against the background of a very serious…
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We were on our way to the city's main station to board the bullet train to Kyoto. Travelling on the Asakusa underground line towards Ikebukuro, we had just passed through Kasumigaseki and arrived at Ginza station. We were nearly there. It was Next Station: Tokyo by Matthew Dunstan from Blue Orange. Read the full review here: https://tabletopgamesbl…
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The snowshelf reached from horizon to horizon in all directions. We were in the Valley of the Ancient Ones, which was a frozen region, pounded by deadly storms, but which had made space for a single, lone city. It was summer and time for the guilds to go on their annual pilgrimage and explore this tundra. As one of the leaders, you were about to ta…
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Let's be honest. Most of us in the hobby buy games that we play once or twice or in rare cases, three or four times. In fact, the term "shelf of shame" is a thing, describing games that people have bought but not yet played. The thing is, these games sit there unplayed for months on end and may never see the welcome sight of a table, let alone a bo…
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Announcing the annual Top Table Award is always a pleasure and an honour at the same time. Choosing and deciding the order of the top 5 games I reviewed in 2023 is never easy. There usually isn't much between the games and they are all great for their own reasons. So, irrespective of which one won the coveted award, all of the games are worth a clo…
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Some might argue that board games are basically just toys. Some games add to that argument when they play on the toy factor by including one or more components that are basically just a gimmick. These components could easily be replaced by something else without affecting gameplay. Yet, some games are accused of capitalising on the attraction of gi…
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Another year is almost over - and what an eventful year it has been. It is time to talk about everything that has happened, the events I attended and the games I played, give you all an update on the financial state of the blog and maybe share some sneak peeks for the year ahead. So, here goes... Read the full review here: https://tabletopgamesblog…
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Whether we play competitive or cooperative games, we all expect someone to be the winner. Even if it's "the game" who wins in a cooperative game. In fact, there is usually a single winner or a team in team games. Most games will list one or multiple tie-breakers to decide who is the ultimate winner. So the idea of victory conditions has become seco…
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Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum! That was the song that accompanied the small boat being rowed by a motley crew of scallywags. We were heading to our secret pirate treasure island to retrieve the loot we had stashed over many, many years. The problem was, none of us knew exactly where we had buried our spoils. We had packed plenty of shovels though …
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In this latest guest post, Samuel Webb, an experienced news reporter and copywriter based in Coventry, discusses why some X-Wing Miniatures fans are unhappy with the company that they claim is ruining this beloved Star Wars tabletop skirmish game. Read the full article here: https://tabletopgamesblog.com/2023/12/19/fear-leads-to-anger-x-wing-miniat…
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This week, Hope Thompson joins us on the blog with her review of a game about the fashion show held in 1973 in Versailles, France that pitted newcomer American designers such as Anne Klein, Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows and Bill Blass against the stalwart French designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro,…
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As you probably know by now, I absolutely love trick-taking games. I have long wanted to share this love with other people, but found it can be hard to teach trick-taking to people who have never come across it. Luckily, in recent months, I have found one or two games that are great for introducing people to trick-taking. They have allowed me to sh…
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The 60s in England were a time of new music trends and dramatic changes in fashion and art. Celebrities from around the world would flock to the country's capital London to immerse themselves in this wave of cultural changes. From there, these superstars would travel the width and breadth of the country using a train line catering to the well-off. …
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I have previously looked at replayability in board games and I must admit, I still can't put my finger on why a game like Chess, which has no variability and no randomness, is so hugely replayable and remains interesting even after dozens of plays, while other games with variable setup, different factions and a large amount of chance are sometimes …
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There was all sorts of Xiaochi and other street food on offer, as well as a variety of speciality drinks. It was still rather quiet, but already the stall owners were busy. The streets were heavy with the scent of various herbs, spices and all sorts of wonderful flavours. As it was getting darker, more and more people found their way into the wonde…
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I don't mind losing. In fact, when I play with my weekly game group, I usually lose. There are very few board games that I am confident that I will win or at least have a good chance of winning. However, there is something interesting I noticed recently. Irrespective of whether you're a sore loser or gracious winner, I think it is true that gamepla…
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There was a lot of yapping and barking, jumping and tail-wagging. Everyone was excited, but eventually, everyone settled down and lined up in a neat row. There were a few last-minute alterations, with dogs having to change spaces. However, when everyone was ready, it was time to choose the best dog, the winner of this Puppy Pile by Mike A Pratt fro…
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It's clearly Bez month, because here is another article inspired by her. This time she wanted to know my thoughts on giving fair credit in games. So let me see if I can rise to the challenge. Read the full article here: https://tabletopgamesblog.com/2023/11/21/due-credit-how-to-credit-people-on-board-games-topic-discussion/ Useful Links Stuff by Be…
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It was either us or them. We were the only two teams on a planet far, far away, a planet that was crawling with bug-eyed monsters or BEMs as we had started to call them. My navigator moved around the directional grid to guide the vehicle across the planet's surface and allow the gunner to take aim at one of the weird inhabitants of this rock in spa…
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Here is another article inspired by the wonderful Bez from Stuff by Bez. She suggested I talk about the representation of bees. There wasn't any particular angle she wanted me to take, but the title alone gave me some inspiration. So in this article, I want to look at board games that feature bees in some way. Read the full article here: https://ta…
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The house smelled of cinnamon, golden syrup and ginger. It was no surprise, because our oven was full of gingerbread rectangles on two trays. It wasn't long until they were done and needed to come out of the oven to cool down. We had small bowls full of sweets and a piping bag ready to decorate them. Suddenly, I had an idea. Rather than building a …
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The genre of worker placement games is quite large and has evolved a lot over the years. Traditionally, worker placement was all about certain actions being unavailable to other players as soon as someone placed their worker there. At some point, games introduced shared worker place spots. Some games allowed players to kick workers out, returning t…
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Using chopsticks isn't easy. A lot of people are uncomfortable with or have no experience using them. However, like so many things in life, it's all a matter of practice. So rather than embarrassing yourself in front of a restaurant full of people who seemingly have no problem picking up their food with two wooden sticks and transporting it to thei…
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Time as a concept, is something we are very familiar with in our daily lives. Sometimes time goes quickly, at other times it seems to almost stand still. Time is also a concept that appears in board games. There is the play time, of course, but some games also use time directly as a mechanism. I want to look at how board games represent time and ho…
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Siberia: a vast area of over 13 million square kilometres, which consists of taiga, tundra and even temperate forests. From the north of this region, where temperatures regularly drop below -25°C, come reports of a massive meteor having crashed. Not only that, the team who went to investigate the impact crater lost contact and never returned. Rumou…
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Hi, it’s Joe Slack here. Oliver was kind enough to let me write another guest blog and was excited to hear my thoughts as a game designer and indie publisher on why table presence matters for board games. So, let’s get into it. Read the full article here: https://tabletopgamesblog.com/2023/10/24/why-table-presence-matters-for-board-games-topic-disc…
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It was inevitable. After decades of exploiting our home, Earth has finally run out of resources. It is time for Plan B. We have to leave and settle on a new planet. Potential targets have been selected and planeteers will be sent to develop them. Each of these adventurous heroes will be tasked with preserving the future of humanity and preparing on…
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Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, in warm tropical waters, you can find the amazingly colourful Great Barrier Reef. It is home to over 40 different types of sea anemones, which are home to a lot of different kinds of sea life. Clownfish use sea anemones as shelter, taking advantage of their toxin-filled stingers as protection. Yet, while thes…
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Based on another suggestion from the wonderful Bez from Stuff by Bez, in this article, I want to look at the rise of so-called AI art. I want to describe what I mean when I talk about AI art, explain what I think it is not, despite people claiming otherwise and the creative potential of this new technology. Read the full article here: https://table…
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"I got candy!" comes the shout. Taken aback, you look across the counter and see the eager and very happy face of the youngster staring up at you. Another sugar-loving customer has come to your amazing sweet shop to pick and mix their favourite delights. Below the face, on outstretched arms, cradled in cupped hands are 16 Candies by Dickie Chapin f…
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Based on a suggestion from the wonderful Bez from Stuff by Bez, I want to look at how designers can sometimes be known for specific styles of board games. That can be useful for people looking for certain types of games, but it also means that the designers can end up being pigeonholed, which can have a negative impact on their professional future …
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To create the best apple brandy, you have to freeze fermented cider and remove the ice. It's quite simple and very effective in increasing the alcohol content of an already delicious drink. It's really easy to apply this to cider made after the autumn harvest. Just leave the casks in the winter cold and when enough ice has formed, pour the remainin…
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I have attended quite a few different board game events in my time. I've been visiting conventions in Germany and the United Kingdom as a paying visitor, a member of the press as well as part of a demo team. From the more sedate and gaming-focussed AireCon to the crazily busy more business-focussed Essen Spiel and various exhibitions, shows, conven…
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The system was slowing down. It was becoming noticeable. Booting up, opening applications and opening files was taking a lot longer. Even the memory swap was clearly not as fast as it used to be. The reason was simple: the file blocks were all over the place. The solution was just as simple: it was time to Defrag by Brandon McCool from Envy Born Ga…
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Inspired by an essay that Bez from Stuff by Bez published a few days ago on Board Game Geek, I thought I might also write about what board games mean to me. Unlike her, I'm not a designer. I'm a consumer of board games, often with a critical eye because I'm also a reviewer. So I'm coming at this from a different angle and of course, my experiences …
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We were going to leave our Scandinavian homelands to search for fortunes in new shores far beyond the horizon. However, before we could set off, we had to load our boat with provisions, equipment and a daring crew. The problem was, that it was a rough, windy day and our longships were dangerously swaying on the swell. Getting everything safely stow…
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I reckon most of us have heard about toxic behaviour in our hobby. Some of us will have experienced it directly. Many of us can probably name at least one bad actor who is still present in our community. There are also publishers who still work with these people, despite there having been public outrage about the person's behaviour or actions and t…
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It was the 5th century BCE and we, the Athenians, had been victorious over the Persians. The Delian League was now under our military control and the income generated by federation fees had made us prosperous. It was time for an ambitious building programme and the most talented architects in ancient Greece were ready. We were going to build housin…
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Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind long games. I happily play the same game for two to three hours, as long as it keeps me captivated. Even when a game requires a lot of focus and concentration, I usually have no problem sticking with it for a few hours. One of the ways in which a game can keep players invested is by reducing the amount of downti…
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The living room floor was a mess, sort of anyway. Everything was neatly arranged in a grid pattern, but there was no order to it whatsoever. Books were next to plants, which were next to games, which were next to frames all while some of our cats were tiptoeing around everything. All of it was only temporary though. I just wanted to get everything …
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The discussion about whether board game reviews should be paid for comes up regularly. Arguments can centre on the moral angle, come from a legal viewpoint or be purely personal opinions. More often than not, what is being debated is not well defined and the discourse starts to drift into different, seemingly opposing, directions. In this article, …
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