A Nuanced Parable Of The Steam/Epic Debate
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 April 2019, 5:49 pm
Imagine you’re a sex toy manufacturer. Imagine you make some of the best vibrators the world has ever seen. You’re one of the best at it in the whole world. Your marital aids have won major awards. Your best work has routinely sold out faster than you can make them. Jenna Jameson has enthusiastically endorsed … Continue reading A Nuanced Parable Of The Steam/Epic Debate


The Epic/Steam War is Here And Game Devs are All For It
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 April 2019, 4:30 pm
It is possible to both think that Steam has been a remarkable and amazing part of the gaming ecosphere, and still be excited that they’re no longer getting a free ride.I’m not kidding.  Steam is great.  It’s the first thing I install on any new computer I acquire. It’s intuitive at what it does, full … Continue reading The Epic/Steam War is Here And Game Devs are All For It


Politics in Nerd Media Part II: Representation Matters
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 December 2018, 12:40 pm
So what we’ve talked about so far is Representational Politics, which is basically the cornerstone of the War on Diversity or the Scourge of Political Correctness.  Of the avenues of political expression in games that are possible, this is the only one that has really changed or increased, as more game developers pursue more diverse […]


So yesterday, I tweeted a throwaway tweet.  It… got some attention.  Let’s break this down. Whenever I see gamers say that games didn’t used to have politics, I think about Will Wright telling me how the message of The Sims was supposed to be that owning more things doesn’t necessarily make you happier, or if […]


#10: Francis Drake
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:15 am
Designer: Peter Hawes In Francis Drake, you are a privateer raiding the Spanish Main.  You will need to provision your ship, filling it with cannons, crewmen, and trade goods.  Then you’ll go on a lackadaisical cruise through the Caribbean, trading, invading and pillaging as you see fit. Interesting Mechanic: Provisioning.  Provisioning is interesting in Francis […]


#9: Mission Red Planet
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:19 am
Designers: Bruno Cathala, Bruno Faidutti You’re moving to colonize Mars, launching rockets from a steampunk-esque earth in Jules Vernian inspired spacecraft and assumedly while twirling your ridiculous Victorian moustache. Mars is divided into several quadrants. Each quadrant will be scored based on who has the most colonists in them during each scoring phase. In addition, […]


#8: Kingsburg
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:23 am
Designers: Andrea Chiarvesio, Luca Iennaco Kingsburg is a realm besieged. You have been tasked to defend it! However, Kingsburg is apparently a corrupt swamp, and the only way to actually defend it is to kiss the ass of various nobles, who after a little cajoling are willing to shell out the resources you need to […]


#7: Power Grid
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:29 am
Designer: Friedemann Friese Ever want to live the exotic life of an Enron executive with an interest in investing in literal garbage? Then Power Grid might be the game for you! In Power Grid, you will buy power plants in an auction, and then buy the resources you need to power those power plants. You’ll […]


#6: Chaos in the Old World
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:32 am
Designer: Eric M. Lang There are many territorial control games, but this is the best one where you will regularly scream “Blood for the Blood God!” Chaos in the Old World is a wargame that involves the four gods laying waste to an Old Earth where, to be clear, it very obviously sucks to be […]


#5: Terraforming Mars
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:37 am
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius You lead a corporation that stands on the precipice of colonizing Mars, probably for the express purpose of strip mining it aggressively. However, to do so, you’ll need to earn resources and money to engage in various tactics that make the planet more livable, which includes tactics such as developing predators that […]


#4: Trajan
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:44 am
Designer: Stefan Feld A brilliant worker placement game, and arguably Stefan Feld’s best work. The Dice Tower guys rag on Trajan for being just a standard worker placement point salad experience with a Mancala tacked on – and they aren’t entirely wrong. However, the Mancala is central to the game experience, and brilliantly executed. The […]


#3: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:53 am
Designers: Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock The players are all a crack response team, responding to a worldwide epidemic. Based on the original Pandemic ruleset, Pandemic Legacy is a legacy game, meaning that your failures leave a lasting mark in the world. There is one scenario per month of the year, and by the time December […]


#2: Clank!
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 12:58 am
Designer: Paul Dennen My easy winner for best new-to-me game of the year, this game first hit the table in late 2017 and instantly became a mainstay of the group. Clank! is a basic deckbuilder but with a board game attached. You are a thief trying to creep into a dungeon, grab more treasure than […]


#1: Magic: the Gathering
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 December 2017, 1:05 am
Designers: Richard Garfield, Mark Rosewater, Many Others In Magic, you are a mighty mage (called a ‘planeswalker’) who is locked in battle with another mage. You place land, activate (‘tap’) that land to gain mana, and use that mana to summon an army of creatures, or cast powerful spells in an attempt to defeat your […]


#13: 1960: The Making of the President
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 8:25 pm
Designers: Christian Leonhard, Jason Matthews Play as Nixon vs. Kennedy in a knife fight of a presidential campaign, which Nixon almost won by appealling to the most racist elements of America, but Kennedy managed to eke out a win based on pure charisma, a televised debate, and possibly by convincing some dead voters to get […]


#12: Sagrada
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 8:29 pm
Designers: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews Probably the only game about building stained glass windows you’re likely to play. At the start of the game, players will choose a window pattern for their stained window, and then attempt to complete that pattern via dice drafting. Along the way, they’ll try to earn victory points by completing […]


#22: Porta Nigra
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 6:36 pm
Designers: Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer You are an architect in a medieval italian port city. In Porta Nigra, you’ll be building towers, which means you’ll also be spending a lot of time down at the brick market buying all sorts of exotic bricks. Interesting Mechanic: 3D building. The game is fun because of the visual […]


#21: Fields of Arle
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 6:39 pm
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg Do you like Agricola or Caverna? Are you lacking in friends? Well, Fields of Arle is a Uwe Rosenberg game built for two. Players play as farmers in northern Germany. During each turn, they will farm, grow animals, harvest peat, move dikes, as well as produce craft goods, craft tools and wagons […]


#20: Yedo
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 6:45 pm
Designers: Thomas Vande Ginste, Wolf Planke In Yedo, you are the patriarch of a powerful Japanese house, attempting to curry favor with the new Emperor. Yedo is often referred to as ‘Lords of Waterdeep with Ninjas’, as mechanically they share a lot in common. You send our your agents (i.e. ninjas) to gather resources and […]


#19: Forbidden Desert
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 6:51 pm
Designer: Matt Leacock The goal of Forbidden Desert is pretty straightforward: Build an Airplane. Wait, what? Forbidden Desert is a coop game where the party is trapped in the desert, and seeking the remnants of an airplane in order to escape. Each hero will have abilities that helps the party manage their water, search for […]


#18: Eclipse
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 6:56 pm
Designer: Touko Tahkokallio Want to play an epic 4X Space game, but don’t have 8-12 hours to play Twilight Imperium?  Eclipse provides most of the ambition of Twilight Imperium, in a game session that usually only runs 2-3 hours. In Eclipse, you play as the leader of a great space civilization.  You initially start on […]


#17: Merlin
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 7:01 pm
Designer: Stefan Feld King Arthur is dead! And you are one of the ambitious sycophants vying to replace him as king! This game is one of Stefan Feld’s latest games, and also happens to be one of his more accessible! Players will roll dice, and use the die rolls to move to action spaces, which […]


#16: Yokohama
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 7:09 pm
Designer: Hisasha Hayashi Possibly my favorite new-to-me game of 2017, this game casts you as a businessman in Yokohama as it transitions from being a tiny fishing village to a major modern city. Yokohama is an intimidating board, to be sure, and more casual gamers may be spooked, but it’s a real treat for more […]


#15: Alien Frontiers
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 7:12 pm
Designer: Tory Neimann You lead a corporation colonizing a new planet. To do so, you’ll need to mine the nearby asteroid belt, gather some solar rays from the nearby satellite array and occasionally crash a spaceship into the planet and tell its inhabitants to suck it up, plant your flag and start farming potatoes. Interesting […]


#14: Tzolk’in
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2017, 7:17 pm
Designers: Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascani Tzolk’in is a worker placement game where you play as Mayan chieftain running a tribe. You will place workers in order to fish, farm, mine, build buildings and wonders, and erect temples to the gods. It would be a fairly straightforward worker placement game except for one thing. Interesting Game […]


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