Hello! I am David Lowry and welcome the first article written for the tabletop board game section of Club Fantasci.
In this board game primer I hope to help educate those of you not familiar with the ever-growing popularity of designer board games and the types that there are. Most of us are familiar with American mass-market games like Monopoly, Scrabble or Pictionary. While these can be fun, they often suffer from fundamental design flaws and can create runaway winners making it not fun for the other players involved.
So let’s look at these other great options.
Over the last few years, the popularity of board games has grown dramatically with the release of a game called “Settlers of Catan” referred to by many as the new “Monopoly” or “board game of our time.” Released in 1995 it had sold over 15 million copies by 2009. It has since had many expansions, revisions and has even become a video game.
Many of the board games today are also available as apps for your smart phone or iPad. This is a great way to try board gaming out while not committing to a bigger investment. These board games will range in price from around $15 up to $100 dollars depending on the type and size. They can also go for several hundred dollars if they are out of print on eBay. We are passionate about our board games!
Today’s designer board games are usually classified in two basic ways, either Eurogames or Ameritrash, although there are of course other categories but for the purpose of this primer we will focus on these two different types.
Eurogames (aka German style board games) such as the aforementioned “Settlers of Catan,” focus on being well-balanced and streamlined. With less of a focus on theme and more use of abstract games mechanics. In these types of games, players often compete for points or resources, rarely is there player to player combat involved and players are never eliminated. Eurogames can be heavily themed but that may have little to do with the game play.
Examples of games would include:
Caylus (my personal favorite)
Popular publishers of this genre would be:
Ameritrash games tend to be heavily themed and dramatic in their game play style. There can be developed characters, factions or heroes. Player conflict is more likely and the games can feature a fair amount of luck involved.
Examples of Ameritrash games include:
Popular publishers of this genre would include:
There are many different types of board game classifications such as deck building games, war games, co-operative games, strategy games, family games, thematic games, abstract games, children’s games, customizable games and party games and I will be covering these in future articles.
Here are a couple of resources to help you learn more about tabletop board games:
Board Game Geek – Is probably the best resource on the web. You will find every board game you can think of and thousands you can’t here. Complete with videos, reviews, and game play blogs and news, this is the ultimate resource for checking out games and learning to play.
The Dice Tower – One of the more popular reviewers of board games and family friendly.
I hope this piques your interest in the wonderful world of tabletop board gaming! Make sure you check out your local hobby or game stores for these and other wonderful board games.
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