Previous Avatars I Have Used:Recently Played Games:NOTE about my ratings:
I use tenths: X.5 is solid, X.2 is borderline the previous lower rating, X.8 is borderline the next higher rating.
However, because of this, the BGG graph is skewed high:
What it shows as my 10s are actually all my 10s and all my 9s (since my 9s are all 9.2 or 9.5 or 9.8).
What it shows as my 9s are actually all my 8s.
What it shows as my 8s are actually all my 7s.
And so on.
My username is from an Old Time Radio show I love, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. It's about a freelance insurance investigator, "the man with the action-packed expense account." (It's a lot more fun than it sounds!)
I love the quote Board games are a marriage of art and functionality
I can appreciate a particular design. I can also appreciate particularly beautiful art. When the two combine, they resonate with me in such a way that the total is greater than the sum. That's when I'm happiest as a gamer.
Another favorite quote, from one of my favorite game designers, Bruno Faidutti
, discussing why board games become more popular in a depressed economy:Games are cheap gifts. They can be given to a whole family, or at least a few brothers and sisters. There are more subtle ones. Board and card games are a social reassuring activity because they bring the generations together when the whole economic and cultural fabric seems to drive them apart. For a few minutes or a few hours, it gives everybody virtual goals, indifferent to a real world we are at a loss to understand and in which our personal goals are often badly compromised. It’s also a nice way to spend a few hours with friends, sitting around a table without talking politics or drinking too much alcohol. In a world that feels more anguishing and tiring than ever, it gives some respite, some rest. But it doesn’t change anything to the real world – it just puts it on hold for a while. Like a party, it’s a good tranquillizer, but not an antidepressant.
And another Faidutti
quote, I really like this approach to game design and how he balances luck & skill:With a game based purely on skill, there is always a risk that it will become more a contest, a kind of competitive exam to sort out who’s the best, rather than a game. This happens almost always in sport, and far too often in other skill games such as chess, go or even trivia games. For me, this breaks the game, because it breaks one of the core elements of gaming – the fact that the game issue is totally irrelevant once the game is over. That’s the reason why I totally stopped playing chess at eighteen, even when I was really good at it, because it felt less and less like a game.
On the other hand, if there’s no skill involved in a game, if it’s pure luck or pure chaos, you cannot even try to win and the game is just not challenging enough to get one’s attention.
So, I try to get the right balance – meaning my right balance – in my designs. I try to design games in which the best skilled player is more likely to win, but never certain to win. One can do this with relying on cards or dice probabilities, or on interaction with other players. I try to use both. For me, a good game is a game in which the winner can think he won because he played well, and the losers can think they lost just because they were unlucky. And it’s even better if they are all right.
And from Wolfgang Kramer
:A good game is a game which you play very often. The more often you play it, the better it is. This is valid for simple and complex games. Family games are games in which the children have the same chance to win as the adults. A good gamer’s game is a complex game, which you can play with different strategies. The different strategies should have the same chances to win – the odds are even.
And finally, from the good doctor Reiner Knizia
:When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.
I have a microbadge for "Loves all games," and that's not an understatement. My favorite games run the gamut from abstracts (Chess
), euro-style strategy games (Tikal
, Power Grid
), "ameritrash" style FFG-type games (Runebound (Second Edition)
, Nexus Ops
), even hybrids of the two (Mission: Red Planet
, Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
) and innovative card games (Fist of Dragonstones
). Although not my favorite categories of game, even more traditional card games (such as Lectio
) and party games (e.g. Wits & Wagers
) I'll occasionally wholeheartedly enjoy when I'm in the right mood. Even within a genre, for example euro, my tastes are for a broad range of mechanics - auctions, area control, economic games, role selection; I'm a game publisher's dream customer! :-) I do have strong preferences as can be seen from my ratings (you'd have to pay me to play Factory Fun
) - but I find, more often than not, that I'm one of the less picky ones when it comes to game selection on game nights.
I enjoy being a "game sommelier," suggesting just the right game for the mood, interests and number of players.
A few words about my game info...
My "Hot 10
" (see lower right) are games I have never played but am most eager to try out.
I've decided to make more of an effort to my Hot 10 games played. I'm keeping track of the first time I play them here since once a game gets played a new one will rotate into the Hot 10.Hot 10 Games Played in 2015"Play-Again 10"Note: I use my Hot 10 exclusively for unplayed games, so this list is for games I am eager to get to the table again.
3. El Grande with King & Intrigue Expansion
4. Shear Panic
5. Glory to Rome
8. Notre Dame
9. Isla Dorada
11. Ys"Play-Again 10" Games Played in 2015
I have a "quest" to try all of the BGG Top 10 (yeah probably needs to be updated to the new Top 10
):Try all of the BGG Top 10
(1 to go)
1. Twilight Struggle
2. Puerto Rico
4. Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
5. Power Grid
6. Le Havre
7. Dominion: Intrigue
Current unplayed games in my collection (Includes base games and expansions):
As of 2/1/11 36
out of 99
(36%; played 63).
As of 2/19/11 43
out of 108
(40%; played 65).
As of 11/20/11 50
out of 118
(42%; played 68).
Starting 2015, BASE ONLY (since I don't record plays of expansions)
As of 3/31/15 64
out of 155
(41%; played 91).My favorite game designers:
"Old Guard" - the first designers I got into.Bruno FaiduttiReiner KniziaWolfgang Kramer
(especially his Michael Kiesling
"The Next Generation" - first newer designer I really dug - heir apparent to Reiner Knizia?Stefan Feld
"Latest addition" - up-and-comerCarl ChudykNominees for Best New-to-me Game of 2015
-Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
-Race for the Galaxy
-A Few Acres of SnowPrevious Best New-to-Me Games of the Year:
(Click on the "year" link to see my Top 10 for that year)2008
: Mission: Red Planet
(Bruno Cathala & Bruno Faidutti, 2005, Asmodee)2009
(Dirk Henn, 2002, Queen Games)2010
: Hansa Teutonica
(Andreas Steding, 2009, Z-Man Games)2011
: Dungeon Twister 2: Prison
(Christophe Boelinger, 2009, Ludically)2012
(Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim, 2011, Tasty Minstrel Games)2013
(Jeroen Doumen & Joris Wiersinga, 2004, Splotter Spellen)2014
: War of the Ring
(Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi & Francesco Nepitello, 2012, Ares Games)