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An excellent article was just published in a SLC newspaper that goes into a lot of detail about board games, privides a link to boardgamegeek.com and even summarizes Tony Ackroyd's geeklist "The Only Ten Games You'll Ever NEED" (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17612) is hitting the press today. The link for it is http://deseretnews.com/dn/view2/1,4382,650209228,00.html?tex... (don't forget to click the links to related articles).

The next entry in this thread will include the entire article in case it gets moved.
 
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Deseret News, Friday, November 24, 2006

Game on! Today's board and card games have something for nearly everyone

By Carma Wadley
Deseret Morning News

The games people play (and we're talking board and card games here) come in all shapes and sizes. Some depend largely on luck; others require strategy and skill. Some last a few minutes; others can take hours. Some have only a few simple pieces; others can wow you with their design and graphics.

The fun thing about today's games is that there is something for everyone, says Greg Jones, manager of game Night games in Sugar House, and a self-styled "games geek" who recently attended the annual boardgamegeek.com convention.

"Pick any theme, and you can likely find a game with that theme, whether it's Egyptian history or trains or dragons."

Approximately 400 new games come out every year, he says. Some go on to be classics; others go out of print quickly. But it's safe to say that board games are far from being eclipsed by their electronic cousins.


Thurn and Taxis is the winner of this year's "German Oscar" for games.

Casey Sartain, at The Tutoring Toy in Foothill Village, agrees. "Board games are especially popular at the holidays. They bring families together. Nowadays, everyone's rush, rush, rush, run, run, run. games give you a chance to sit down, relax."

Games can be educational; they can build social skills. games can also help youngsters build self-esteem. "You find a game where an 8-year-old has as good a chance to win as his 40-year-old dad, and that's great," says Sartain.


Sheep are part of Shear Panic.

But mostly, they say, games are just fun.

And it is always exciting to see what the next big thing will be, says Jones. "You think that every theme has been done, and something new comes along."

The biggest buzz in the industry right now, he adds, is for a game called BattleLore. Not in the stores yet, it is being billed as "a game that bridges several genres, combining various elements and aspects of cards, miniatures, role-playing and board games, without being easily pigeonholed in any category." The game recreates "massive clashes between medieval armies" and is "deep and engaging" while also playing out in about an hour.

"We've had more pre-orders for BattleLore than any other game," says Jones.

Sartain has heard the most buzz about a game called Khet, which also will be in before Christmas. It features a game board with built-in lasers. You move pieces with mirrored surfaces around the board, and then fire the lasers, which reflect off the mirrored surfaces. If they hit non-mirrored surfaces, those pieces are removed.

But, just because games are new, that doesn't necessarily make them better than older games, say both men.

Jones' personal all-time favorite is called Tikal, which won the Spiel de Jahres (a German award considered the game-world's Oscar) in 1999. In this game, each player is the director of an expedition intent on exploring secret paths that lead to the temples and treasures of Tikal.

Sartain's personal favorite is called Labyrinth, which has also been out for quite a few years. In this game, you lay tiles randomly to create a maze. The goal is for each player to collect certain treasures. An extra tile card lets you change the maze on each turn, to help your marker move or to block your opponents.

Many dedicated gamers agree that the area where the most exciting developments are occurring these days are in the European and European-style games. "U.S. sales of these games are definitely trending up," says Jones.

For the most part these games share several characteristics, he says. "They play in about an hour. There's a lot of player interaction. When it's not my turn, there are still things for me to do. No players are eliminated. There's relatively little luck involved. And there's beautiful artwork."

While these games may cost a bit more, he says, "it"s worth it. They are fun to play with. If you're going to sit there for an hour, you want something nice to look at."

Some of the newest trends and games Jones has noticed in the area of Euro and Euro-style games include:

Box as board: Some of the newest games incorporate the box into the layout of the game, which adds another dimension to play.

In Niagara, for example, the box becomes part of a flowing river. Players move canoes along the river, trying to collect crystals. But the players can control the speed of the rivers, which may sweep some players overboard.


The box becomes part of the board in award-winning Niagara.

With Cleopatra, the objective is to build a palace around and over the box. Players collect cards with powers and must come up with the right combination of resources to help with the building.

Great graphics: Rich colors, quality pieces, thick card stock all add to the aesthetics. The winner of this year's Spiel de Jahres, Thurn (pronounced "turn") and Taxis, is a prime example. In this postal-delivery game, players try to control various areas of Bavaria. "There are lots of ways to collect points and so many ways to play. It's a lot of fun," says Jones.

"Middle-weight" play: Many of the new games have light and fun themes that don't involve building new worlds or saving universes. Shear Panic, for example, involves a flock of sheep. The goal is to avoid getting sheared, while getting as close to possible to the Romeo-like ram. "It looks simple, but there is a lot of strategy involved," says Jones.

"Franchise" games: There are certain games that have become so popular that they come out with new versions. Ticket to Ride, for example, is a perennial best-selling game that involves building railroad lines across America. There's a lot of strategy, "but it's accessible to everyone," says Jones. A second version featured Europe. And now the third version, Marklin, is set in Germany.

Blokus, a board game that reminds a lot of people of the electronic Tetris game, is another example. Players place colored tiles, but only where they match up correctly, corner to corner. You try to build your own line, while blocking your opponents. Now there is a new version involving triangles called Blokus Triagon.

Fantasy: games with various fantasy themes have long been an important segment of the market. Two new offerings:

— Blue Moon City, where players work together to rebuild a destroyed world. "You work together, but at the same time you want to collect the most points. It's fun, it's beautiful and there are lots of dragons," says Jones.

— Mission to Red Planet, where players try to go to Mars and claim territory. "The artwork is wonderful; it allows you to sit for an hour and think you're actually there."

Kids' games: Most of the Euro games are appropriate for children age 8 and up or 10 and up. But GuloGulo is one for kids age 5 and up. "It's one where kids can beat adults even if you're not trying to let the kids win. It involves dexterity, and their fingers work better." Most Euro-style kids games are also fun for adults, Jones adds.

Another example is Wallamoppi, a fast stacking game that involves a dropping marble and cool, wooden pieces.

War games: Another staple of the genre, "when a lot of people think of board games, they think of war games," says Jones. New developments include a new version of Axis & Allies. A new game called Twilight Struggle, set in the Cold War, is also winning awards.

Viktory II is a war game "that plays down to the lowest common denominator, yet it's fast, accessible, and I like it better than Risk," says Jones, "unless you play 2210 Risk, which plays in five turns instead of hours."

Here's a sampling of other new ideas, trends in the world of games

SHOW BIZ:

Sarah Ause, Deseret Morning News

Three new games that will appeal to the LDS audience. TV and movie characters are always popular themes for games. Among this year's offerings:

• Deal or No Deal: Both a board game and a card game that capitalizes on the popular game show.

• Disney's Princesses: Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine and other Disney darlings are available on a variety of games. One variety includes seven classics such as Tic Tac Toe, Go Fish and Crazy Eights. Another is Gowns & Crowns, a dress-up kind of game.

• Superman: The man of steel made a return in Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em and Kryptonite Crisis.

• Cars: Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Doc Hudson and the gang star on a Champion Checkers games as well as the Tractor Tipping board game.

• Grateful Dead The Game: The first-ever authorized Grateful Dead board game from University Games features artwork from poster artist Richard Biffle. In the game, players travel through time with the band, collecting concert tickets as they answer questions.

LOCAL INTEREST:

Local companies continue to issue games that appeal to the LDS market. Among this year's choices:

• Hold to the Rod: Produced by Teancum Games Inc., it's sort of a take-off on the popular Cranium games. Players have to hum, draw, spell, unscramble, perform and answer questions as they advance their team to the Tree of Life — along the straight and narrow way or the long and winding way.

• Church Ball The Game: From HaleStone, the same folks that brought us the movie, this is a combination card and dice game that can be played one-on-one or in teams.

• Fast Sundaes: A card game from Covenant that involves dishing out cards while watching for special combinations of ice cream, toppings, sauces or complete sundaes. Get all the cards and you win — but beware the dreaded Brain Freeze.


PARTY GAMES:

Folks are always looking for games that work with bigger groups.

• GiftTRAP: The game offers up some wonderful treasures such as a shopping spree in Paris, having your portrait painted, six weeks leave to work as a paid volunteer, the chance to drive a tank for a day or a beautiful diamond ring. Players have to guess which gifts their fellow players would prefer. You also hope to get the gifts you like best. It's a good game for people who know each other, or people who want to get to know each other better.

CARD GAMES:

Shuffle, deal and let the fun begin!

• Frog Juice: The object of this GameWright game is to get the most points, but you do it by capturing ingredients for spells and potions as well as cards that give you special powers. Shades of Harry Potter. The game requires both luck and skill, as well as imagination and competition.

QUICK & EASY:

• SimplyFun, the home-party game company that offers games that are easy to learn and quick to play, has several new offerings for the holiday season. (For more information visit www.simplyfun.com.)

• Simply Catan: Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular of the Euro-style games, but it is rather complex. This version simplifies things. It is still a settlement building, trading and adventure game. Players earn resources such as wool, wood, brick and wheat and use them to buy or barter to create cities and settlements.

• Sudoku Challenge: A board-game version of the popular puzzle, this game does not include predetermined set-ups, so playing with other people makes each game different. Players place numbered tiles and collect points. The box also includes a Zoodoku version for the kids.

• The Crazy Mixed Up Zoo: A memory/switching game that involves turning over zoo animal cards, mixing them up and guessing the changes. The person who makes the best monkey sound gets to start the game.

• Sneaks: In this variation on the old spoons game, players pass around cards until they get a set, then they grab a little sneaker from the pile. The object is to become the "sole" survivor.

TRIVIA:

Ever since the original Trivial Pursuit, trivia games have been popular. Here's a look at some of the newest ones:

• Trivial Pursuit Totally '80s: Remember hot-pink leg warmers, slap bracelets and the moonwalk? This game offers a gnarly walk down memory lane as, following the standard Trivial Pursuit formula, you collect wedges in various categories. Totally tubular!

• Game of Knowledge: With separate questions for kids and adults, this is a game for the whole family. Questions cover six categories from "Our World" to "The Media," "Science" and beyond. From University Games.

• The Worst Case Scenario — Game of Surviving Life: Based on the "Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbooks," this offering from University Games guides players through a lifetime of sticky situations. You may learn how to stop an overflowing toilet, handle a romantic breakup or deal with an earthquake.

(Omitted section concerning Trivial Pursuit)

The only 10 games you'll ever need

1. Card Games Around the World: a standard deck of cards
2. Chess: a traditional game
3. Ticket to Ride: a gateway game
4. Goa: a gamers' game
5. Ra: an auction game
6. For Sale: a card game/filler
7. Nexus Ops: a multiplayer conflict game
8. Loopin' Louie: a kids' game
9. Bausack: a dexterity game
10. Time's Up: a party game
Optional extras:
11. Lost Cities: a non-war game for 2
12. Commands & Colors: Ancients: a war game
13. HeroQuest: a dungeon crawl
14. Lord of the Rings: a co-operative game
15. Werewolf: a game for many players
To get names of similar games, comments on these games and other information about them — and every other game out there — visit www.boardgamegeek.com.

— Compiled by Tony Ackroydof www.boardgamegeek.com






 
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Gert Corthout
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Nice article. It seems one learns something new every day:
Quote:
• Simply Catan: Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular of the Euro-style games, but it is rather complex. This version simplifies things.



???
 
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gert_c wrote:
Nice article. It seems one learns something new every day:
Quote:
• Simply Catan: Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular of the Euro-style games, but it is rather complex. This version simplifies things.



???


Settlers of Catan is commonly thought as complex simply because for non-gamers, the rules are deceptively difficult for what is an extremely simple game. Still, calling it "rather complex" is somewhat of an overstatement.
 
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Gert Corthout
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OldestManOnMySpace wrote:

Settlers of Catan is commonly thought as complex simply because for non-gamers, the rules are deceptively difficult for what is an extremely simple game. Still, calling it "rather complex" is somewhat of an overstatement.

Strange, of all the non-gamer people I've ever played Catan with, ranging from factory workers to PhD students, everybody always agreed the basic rules are very simple after their first game...
Seeing that they actually made a simpler version of the game proves nonetheless that my view isn't really accurate. i always figured that Simply Catan was targeted at younger kids (-12).
 
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gert_c wrote:
Nice article. It seems one learns something new every day:
Quote:
• Simply Catan: Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular of the Euro-style games, but it is rather complex. This version simplifies things.



???

It's the presentation of the rules which makes it seem complex.
 
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That's amazing. In that list of 15, only HeroQuest is OOP and it's listed simply as an alternate.
 
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I know the article is not 100% accurate, but pretty good when you consider the author is not a hard core gamer. I offered to review the article for accuracy before it went to print, but deadlines prevented that.
 
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I've seen articles about boardgames in the Deseret News before, but this is the best one. You must be doing something right in talking to her because this one has more emphasis on good games than previous ones have.
 
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gert_c wrote:
OldestManOnMySpace wrote:

Settlers of Catan is commonly thought as complex simply because for non-gamers, the rules are deceptively difficult for what is an extremely simple game. Still, calling it "rather complex" is somewhat of an overstatement.

Strange, of all the non-gamer people I've ever played Catan with, ranging from factory workers to PhD students, everybody always agreed the basic rules are very simple after their first game...
Seeing that they actually made a simpler version of the game proves nonetheless that my view isn't really accurate. i always figured that Simply Catan was targeted at younger kids (-12).

Outside of gamers, I've yet to encounter "normal people" who found Settlers to be a simple game. Remember, most people think Monopoly is hard to grasp, too.

I think we're (BGGers) insulated quite a bit from "the real world." We talk about our "non-gaming" friends, but they're our friends--they, too, are probably geeks and many are closet game geeks. Go find people who truly know of only Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and maybe Risk and see how they do with Settlers or Alhambra. Sure, with enough time and assistance, you can turn them into gamers, if they don't give up, but they'll have a difficult time of it.
 
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dominojones wrote:
I know the article is not 100% accurate, but pretty good when you consider the author is not a hard core gamer. I offered to review the article for accuracy before it went to print, but deadlines prevented that.


I should have added that the article is a great one. What I meant by the "amazing" part is that even dedicated gaming publications often mention several OOP games in their "best of" and "must have" lists. The owner of a FLGS I frequent often expresses dismay when a customer requests a game that is OOP. Conversations often go:

"Hey! I just read about this great game in Trotterdice called 'Bidding in the Renaissance'. Gotta copy? Can I order it?"

"I'm sorry, but the game is no longer published and none of my distributors have any copies left."

"But, I just read about it in the latest issue! They had pictures of it and everything! They made it sound new!"

"Yes, I know, I read it, too. But they didn't note (or noted poorly) that the game has been unavailable for some time. Your best bet is to (go someplace online) if you really want it."

"Dang. I was hoping to spend money here today."

"Ah! Good news! I still have many other great games to sell! It's not too late!"

 
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Hurrahs are in order
 
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