Nick Bentley
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I've been putting together a guide to abstract strategy games online, and it's ready to be shown publicly.

Check it out here

I've been wishing for a resource like this for a long time, and I finally up and decided to make it myself. I'd love it if you can point to stuff I should add.

I'm not reposting the whole guide here because a) I'm going to be updating the article regularly and don't want to have to update it in multiple places; b) I suspect Google is punishing my site in the search rankings for duplicate content. Anyway you'll have to click through. Apologies.
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The link links to the picture depicted in your article.
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Nick Bentley
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gulp. thanks. fixed.
 
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Keith Carter
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Thank you for the Guide. A great resource.
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Joe Joyce
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It's so short! shake

I see ChessVariants didn't make it for game-playing site or discussion site. While I agree it can be difficult to get a specific game there, there are usually a few open game offers available, plus the Game Courier software is excellent and pretty flexible. But the Comments section can get pretty lively at times, and it does get comments fairly often. You might want to watch it for a while and reconsider including it.

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joejoyce wrote:
It's so short! shake


Yep. Mind you, there are many, many more sites that have stuff about abstract games in little bits and pieces, mixed in among other things, so I could've made the thing much longer, but I felt it would be less useful that way. I want to make sure that readers will find really good, focused stuff without wading through irrelevancies

Quote:
I see ChessVariants didn't make it for game-playing site or discussion site. While I agree it can be difficult to get a specific game there, there are usually a few open game offers available, plus the Game Courier software is excellent and pretty flexible.


It was sort of borderline for me. I may add it as a playsite. Thinking...

Quote:
But the Comments section can get pretty lively at times, and it does get comments fairly often. You might want to watch it for a while and reconsider including it.


I'm less inclined to add it in the discussion section, because the comments are just comments on pages, distributed throughout the entire site. It's not like, for example, the BGG abstract games forum where I can point to one page where all the discussion appears (unless: have I missed some forum on chessvariants.org? if so, let me know)

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Nick Bentley
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milomilo122 wrote:

Quote:
But the Comments section can get pretty lively at times, and it does get comments fairly often. You might want to watch it for a while and reconsider including it.


I'm less inclined to add it in the discussion section, because the comments are just comments on pages, distributed throughout the entire site. It's not like, for example, the BGG abstract games forum where I can point to one page where all the discussion appears (unless: have I missed some forum on chessvariants.org? if so, let me know)


Answering my own question: found it; Though it's slightly confusing perhaps. Still, I may add it as indeed it's fairly active.

[EDIT] added it
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Joe Joyce
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milomilo122 wrote:
joejoyce wrote:
It's so short! shake


Yep. Mind you, there are many, many more sites that have stuff about abstract games in little bits and pieces, mixed in among other things, so I could've made the thing much longer, but I felt it would be less useful that way. I want to make sure that readers will find really good, focused stuff without wading through irrelevancies

I wholeheartedly agree with you. There is a huge difference between a good list and an exhaustive list. What's wanted is a good list. Thanks. I was just surprised at how very short it is!

The comments at chessvariants.org are generally tied to both the game commented on and the Comments section. If a general discussion is started that is not tied to a game, it only appears in the Comments section.
 
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Nick Bentley
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joejoyce wrote:

I wholeheartedly agree with you. There is a huge difference between a good list and an exhaustive list. What's wanted is a good list. Thanks. I was just surprised at how very short it is!


I know right? I even included some things, like certain discussion forums, that are fairly inactive (i.e. the list could've been even shorter). Putting this together has strengthened my feeling that something is missing. Some years ago there was a (predictably short-lived) print magazine called Abstract Games Magazine. Maybe what's needed is an online (and more sustainable) version of that.
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milomilo122 wrote:
Putting this together has strengthened my feeling that something is missing.


I wholeheartedly agree. I feel strongly that the abstract games genre is one of those "long tail" subgenres that has an audience that doesn't know it's an audience. (If that makes any sense.)

I guess what I mean is that there are lots of people willing to play abstract games. People who prefer them, even. But there are not a lot of abstract games fans. People who are loudly espousing the virtues of abstract games and clamoring for more of them.

I can think of two possible reasons for this lack of fans:

1. Fans tend to get really caught up in one game, and focus their fanaticism on that one game. Go and Chess probably have more "fans" than the entirety of BGG. But those fans don't often translate their interest into interest in board games at large.

2. (This one may be a controversial opinion, I don't know.) Euros tend fill some of the same "itch" as abstract games for many people. (Obviously I am not talking about ALL euros here, but just some euros not the genre as a whole.) They require deep thinking, they are often very strategic and/or tactical, and yet they often have a theme which puts them into the eyes of folks who might not be attracted to a game for the elegance of its game design. I guess what I mean here is that there are probably "diehard" euro fans who, in another life, would instead be diehard abstract strategy fans.

What appeals to me most about abstract games is that they are almost wholly about design. There is no distraction from the design, and when a design is "laid bare" as in most abstracts, it feels easier to gauge its relative merit. (Or at least find out what's "interesting" about it.) Anyway, my point here is that perhaps the general population simply isn't as interested in game design as those of us who are "into" abstract games. Or, tangentially, maybe an appeal to fans of abstract games should also be an appeal to game designers.

(Wow, didn't expect to go off like this. Anyway, Nick, it's another excellent article/post. A couple of new-to-me links that I am looking forward to exploring. Thanks!)
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Great work Nick
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milomilo122 wrote:
Putting this together has strengthened my feeling that something is missing. Some years ago there was a (predictably short-lived) print magazine called Abstract Games Magazine. Maybe what's needed is an online (and more sustainable) version of that.


The quality of the articles there was excellent. Editing is a wonderful thing, and to a large extent, I think that's what's "missing". Perhaps, with the advent of lulu, for example, it would be possible for some of us to put together an annual in the mold of Abstract Games Magazine. Not having to worry about maintaining a subscriber list, and shipping, would make that task more manageable than running a magazine.
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Nick Bentley
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molnar wrote:
Editing is a wonderful thing, and to a large extent, I think that's what's "missing". Perhaps, with the advent of lulu, for example, it would be possible for some of us to put together an annual in the mold of Abstract Games Magazine.


There's been discussion about the possibility of a website built in the same spirit in this thread.

That wouldn't preclude having an annual as well, and in fact it's currently popular for sites focused on high-quality writing to periodically publish printed collections (for example, see the very popular Grantland and its Grantland Quarterly Collections).

Doing it that way also offers an additional layer of quality control, since you can use the online response to the articles to winnow down what's included in the print version, and to further revise and edit the things you do include.
 
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