jkci's blog

What is "Kingmaking" and Why Did Someone Just Flip the Game Table?

We were halfway through a game and one player had nearly lapped the others across the board. It wasn't that he was cheating or anything so crass. He just happened to have made an extremely good choice at the beginning of the game, which locked him into a very successful synergy. You could see the frustration in the other players' eyes as they struggled to catch up.

"He's clearly going to win," said one player. "There's nothing we can do."

How to Schedule a DND Group When All Your Players Are Constantly Busy

As you get older, scheduling DND sessions becomes steadily more difficult. Work, family and other responsibilities all combine to make organizing a regular time slot seemingly impossible. But that doesn't mean that you have to give up on DND, it just means that you need to work a little harder. Organizing a social event today means you need to take control, making decisions and keeping everyone on the same page. 

Does Your Board Game Group Have an "Agent of Chaos?"

Board games are developed with the idea that players are going to try to win the game. Revolutionary, I know. When presented with multiple scenarios, it's assumed that a player is going to make the right choice for them. But not every player is a rational actor. Some players are "agents of chaos" -- they act randomly or even counterintuitively to their own goals.

Father's Day: 6 of the Best Board Games to Buy for Dad

Maybe your dad is already into board games, but he still needs to build up his collection. Maybe you just have no idea what he's interested in to begin with -- lawn care? Technology? Fishing? What does he do with his time? Regardless, a board game can be the opportunity to give your dad the gift that he really wants: more time with his family. Presumably. You might all be terrible. We don't know. 

Starting from scratch is difficult, but there are a few all-around games that can be fun for any family.


Top Solo Board Games: Where Should You Get Started?

There's a reason why "solo mode" is being tacked onto games: it sells. One of the biggest complaints board gamers have is that they can't get together enough players for a game. If you've tried to organize an event recently, you know: people are flaky and difficult to manage. So why not just play games alone?

There are hundreds of games with a solo mode, but not all of these games are good at being played solo. Here's what you need to know to get started in the world of solo board games. 

Running a D&D Event for Kids: Some Observations

A friend of mine has been running D&D events in places like local libraries. These events are often kid-centric -- after all, what kid in 2018 doesn't want to get into Stranger Things-like hijinks with their multi-cultural friends? In my day, we were chased down flickering, blood-soaked halls by brutal and otherworldly monsters on the way to buy a Crystal Pepsi for 5 cents at the malt shop.

15 of the Most Popular Filler Board Games

A filler game is a light game that can be setup and played within about 30 minutes. Filler games are simple enough that you can reliably learn them on the first playthrough, but may allow for more complex strategies the more you play them. And though they can have a bad reputation ("filler game" itself sounds dismissive), they're actually fairly versatile. A filler game can be played at the beginning of a session, at the end, or as a palette cleanser. If someone only has a few games, they are likely to be filler games. 

The Evolution of Kickstarter in the Board Game Industry

Kickstarter is the largest venue for board game publishing. Even companies that already have their own funding and an established following are publishing their new games on Kickstarter. Large IPs use Kickstarter to gauge public interest and to obtain funding before the development of their project. Consequently, it's no wonder that problems arise -- such as the failure of the Evil Dead 2 game

Score Keeping in Board Games: How Do You Deal with Independent Scoring?

We play a lot of games that require independent score keeping, such as Azul and Bunny Kingdom. These are basically honor system games, more so than general victory point games. Since the scoring is complex and completed round by round, there's no way of knowing whether the score is being calculated correctly for each person -- and, often, it just isn't. Over time, I've noticed that the same people tend to win these games, even if they aren't generally good at that type of game. 

They aren't cheating.

They're confused


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