Psychology of Board Games

Statistics and Speculations on the Behavioral Science of Board Gaming
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Game Design, Vikings, and Batman

Corey Butler
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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Hey everyone, I'm back! Well, sort of... I don't actually have a new blog post (and am still officially taking time off), but I wanted to say hi and let you know that you can listen to my podcast interview about the Psychology of Board Games over at the Board Game Design Lab. Isn't that exciting? If you check it out, you will have the chance to listen to Gabe Barrett and me talk about some of the stuff we've covered here at this blog. And be sure to check out some of his other podcasts while you're there.

Speaking of games and game design, the most recent game I've been playing is Raiders of the North Sea. I've played a couple of times now and am pretty impressed. The game is beautifully illustrated, has a nice twist on worker placement which minimizes downtime, and captures the theme of Vikings and raiding in a fast-playing, Euro style game. Conflict is present in the cards, but is not excessive. So you get a little tension and interaction, but not too much frustration or resentment. It works well two-player, which makes it a good couples game (for us anyway), but is flexible enough to accommodate up to four players. And I really like the cards and the way you can either use them as an action or hire them as crew.

Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea

Raiders of the North Sea

It's a fun game, but the main reason I'm bringing it up is that at the end of my podcast interview, I suggested that good games need to tap into one or more of the following key motivational preferences: 1) opportunity for strategic thinking, 2) a strong theme, and 3) social interaction. These appear to be the three biggest things people are looking for when they play games. Well, Raiders of the North Sea hits all three of these bases pretty well. There is a lot of strategic planning in the cards and the theme is also good- who doesn’t like Vikings? Well, maybe 9th Century Englishmen... It may be a little light on social interaction, but we’ve certainly got two out of three. It's probably no surprise that Raiders is the highest rated game in the North Seas trilogy.

That's about it, except for Batman. If you like Batman and are planning on attending the Minnesota Fan Fusion convention this weekend, come to my talk on Friday at 3:00. My title is Who’s the BEST Batman? A (Brief) Historical and Comparative Analysis of Batman in Television and Film. It should be a fun time.

That's all for now. I hope you are enjoying your summer and getting the chance to play some good games.

From gallery of shotokanguy

He’s Batman, in case you were wondering.
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