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Links: Glory to Rome Has Strategy?, Wil Wheaton Drives Sales & duBarry's Courtier History

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Glory to Rome
• "GeekInsight" at Giant Fire Breathing Robot answers the question "Is Glory to Rome a Strategy Game?" The answer, although written in a more GtR-specific manner than my interpretation below, can be applied to any number of games: It's a strategy game if you know how to play it well; otherwise, it's not.

• Tao Wong at online retailer Starlit Citadel writes about "The Wheaton Effect". Wil Wheaton's online boardgame-centric show TableTopavailable on YouTube, with the Small World episode boasting a half-million views and the featuring Get Bit!, Tsuro and Zombie Dice having more than 200,000 views after less than a week – has boosted sales on most games that have been featured, with Wong offering the following chart as evidence:

External image

Why didn't The Settlers of Catan receive a similar sales bump? Wong guesses that "Settlers is such a popular, mainstream game that [it] is easy to find; it's no wonder that we don't see a change in sales. Customers don't need to come to a game shop to find it – Chapters, Amazon, B&N all have the game in-stock. The other 3 though are harder to find; and thus we receive the 'knock-on' effect from the publicity." The sales figures aren't huge, mind you, but in cases like these you don't necessarily expect them to be. (Wheaton – or someone from the Geek & Sundry crew – includes links to Amazon listings for the games, so expect Amazon to be the prime beneficiary of such sales.)

As the months pass, however, people will keep discovering TableTop, watching the episodes, and ordering the games. And folks who have bought the games will play them with others, and some of those players will become buyers as well. The road to mainstream success is paved with celebrity endorsements...

Board Game: Courtier
• Designer Philip duBarry has started a weekly series of designer diary postings about Courtier, due out from Alderac Entertainment Group in October 2012. Here's an excerpt from the first installment:

Courtier began its game life as Henry the Great. This title may bring to mind Henry VIII of England, however my game was about the much-revered Henry IV of France (1553-1610). Champlain's Dream, David Hackett Fischer's engaging history of French-speaking settlements in the New World, inspired me to make a game about the complicated court intrigue surrounding Henry IV.

Fischer describes a world populated by strange but important-sounding figures such as Intendant, Chancellor, and Marshal who sought to administer the kingdom of France. Many religious groups, both Catholic (Jesuit and Recollet orders) as well as Protestant (Huguenot), and numerous artisans and businessmen all vied for the patronage of their king. Added to this web were several layers of nobility and those supporting the Queen, Marie de Medici (yes, those Medicis). In 1600, the famous Cardinal Richelieu was only a bishop, yet he had already begun to maneuver his way into the royal court. And hardly anything was done without the consent of the powerful Minister Maximilien de Bethune, duc de Sully. Champlain, the great explorer and founder of Quebec, routinely wove his way in and out of this complex mess to secure needed permissions, capital and supplies.

I admired Champlain's skill at navigating this sea of bureaucratic red tape. It seemed like a compelling setting: the kind of story that could be told by a board game.
• All of your favorite childhood games (or the games you hated) come into play, rock to the beat, then get destroyed in the video for "Get By" by Delta Heavy:

Having done a bit of stop-motion animation in the past, I'll just say, "Egads, that must have taken a long time..." (HT: Dale Yu)
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