Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
During the summer I hurried to play all of the Spiel des Jahres nominated games as quickly as I could, then record a podcast about them. I already knew & enjoyed Hanabi, the eventual winner, but hadn't played Qwixx or Rise of Augustus. Though I didn't move fast enough to get a SdJ-prediction episode out there, it was still fun to familiarize myself with the nominees. The only one in the big box, I supposed like many that Augustus would win. My favorite of the three is Hanabi...though I have to admit I've played Qwixx the most of all. (I've still only played one of the Kennerspiel nominees--my preferences run more to the SdJ titles.)
Although my SdJ plans for the podcast didn't work out, it freed me up to talk about other games, such as Clubs. I don't accept review copies very often--usually only for a game I'm pretty sure I'll like. That means there are a lot of Kickstarter concepts with dragons or spaceships that I turn down, in preference to something like Clubs: a quasi-traditional card game that bears a resemblance to Tichu, a classic euro card game I already enjoy. What Clubs has that so many games don't is a high degree of development, of polish & attention on the little things. Instead of dazzling me with geek themes (which wouldn't work anyway, you know), it wins me over with smooth gameplay, crisp rules, and a physical production that invisibly makes everything easier and more pleasant. THAT is something I like and am happy to crow about on my podcast.
An unusual thing for me in this episode was going to a couple different Meetup groups with strangers. I know people use this service, whether gamers or not, yet I never had. But there I was, in a different city on an extended business trip, and these boardgame get-togethers were beckoning me. Why not check it out? I got to play some fun games (Settlers, Qwixx, Castles of Burgundy, and Via Appia), as well as meet some interesting people. It's not the same as my own local groups with established friends, but it was worthwhile in its own way. The triple-play of boardgames, brewpub, and Indian food at Yak & Yeti was something special, that's for sure.
You Don't Know Theme, by San Il Defanso
Games Mech-Somethings, by Alfred ???
Mark Johnson's occasional and opinionated podcast, Boardgames To Go, now has its own blog on Boardgamegeek.
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