Who am I and why am I here?
Hello, my name is Brad, and I love to play and design strategy board games. My dream is to become an established game designer (I know, welcome to the club).
Since I discovered the world of strategy board games in 2008, I have amassed a large collection of published games. My favorite designer would have to be Wolfgang Kramer. I have designed over 30 games myself, with themes ranging from brewing beers to collecting rare American coins to curing patients with psychological disorders to escaping the Cave of Ignorance with the help of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle...
I have been working on a website that features my designs; check out www.muscleboardgames.com
to see descriptions and pictures of the games I have designed, as well as a bunch of other board-game-related content.
I am a college philosophy instructor (and daddy daycare) by day, and an obsessed board game player and designer by night. I teach classes at Johnson County Community College and Rockhurst University in Kansas City, and I have three children and a wonderful wife. In addition to board games, some of my other hobbies include writing philosophical novels and playing guitar. I frequently play games online as well (at sites like Yucata), using the same moniker.Guide to My Ratings
Prefatory Comments: I will play almost any game, any time (exceptions: games with absolutely no decisions...e.g. Candy Land). My ratings are based on MY personal interest in the game. Do I want to play the game? Do I find the game fun and interesting? These are the questions I seek to answer by way of my ratings. Thus, kid games are not going to score well with me. I realize that this approach is not employed by all on the geek and that some insist on rating kid games for what they are (i.e. they rate kids games based on how well they satisfy kids, and not themselves). However, there's just something about rating Candy Land (or any other kid game for that matter) up there with Power Grid, etc. that doesn't sit well with me. To each his/her own...
Also, I tend to like games that are not heavily influenced by luck. Although Settlers of Catan will always have a special place in my heart (as it introduced me to the wonderful world of strategy board games), I have now grown tired of it for this very reason. I also tend to dislike games with perfect information (e.g. Chess), although this is not always true (my favorite game, for example, is Torres, which I prefer to play with a full starting hand, in which case players essentially have perfect information). To me, these games come down to who has researched the game the most and is most experienced playing the game. I realize that this could be said regarding any game, not just perfect information games, but it seems especially true when playing these games. In theory, one could familiarize oneself with every possible move given every possible scenario ahead of time. In some sense, it seems to me that this significantly diminishes the "decision-making" element of a game. Accordingly, if you've done your research/homework, then you will know the most optimal move given the circumstances/scenario, period. In my opinion, this detracts from the fun factor, but, again, to each his/her own...10
Perfect-love the theme, love the mechanics, and can't think of anything that could be improved (still waiting for this one...)9
Excellent-A game with great mechanics and a theme that I find intriguing/original. Time to play is appropriate. Very little room for improvement.8
Great-Nice mechanics and/or interesting theme. Interesting decisions. This is a game that I would gladly play whenever with whomever.7
Very Good-Mechanics and/or theme are noteworthy, and interesting decisions are plentiful.6
Good-This is a fun game, with decent mechanics and/or theme. 5
Average-This is a game that I will gladly play (given my love for games), but is not my first choice. It may be interesting/fun, but there are elements of the game that could be better.4
Bad-This is a game that I would play (again, given my general love for games), but there are certainly better games out there that I would rather play. There are likely elements of the game that I think could use significant improvement/revision.3
Very Bad-I will play this game, but only after begging to play something else. Various aspects of the game leave something to be desired. Often times, games with this rating are either too long for what they provide or lack interesting decisions (or both).2
Horrible-I will play this game, but only if someone is threatening my life or if my daughter is giving me that cute little puppy dog face.1
Shoot Me-I will not play this game, even if someone is threatening my life...OK, maybe I would in that case...but only in that case! I cannot for the life of me fathom how/why this game was published. There is likely no decision-making in this game. Instead, you probably pick a color and watch as the game plays itself out.