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The Best Boardgame Articles on the Web That Aren't on BGG
Gerald Cameron
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Nova Scotia
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Of course BGG is the best boardgame website around, but it isn't the only good one, and there are excellent articles covering boardgame related issues that aren't here. My hope is to put together a collection of the best boardgame articles on the web that aren't here on BGG.

A few guidelines.

1) I'm looking for specific articles, not websites. There is already a list for links at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=...tid=251... so while I don't mind hyping of your favourite website, I'd like to see links for specific articles at that site.

2) Ideally, the articles should be of general interest rather than being about specific games, since there is a place for game specific links on the game pages. Not a hard and fast rule, but a strong suggestion.

3) Just because I (or someone else) posts an article from a given site shouldn't prevent you from posting other articles from that site that you think are also worthy.
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1. Board Game: Let's Make A Deal [Average Rating:3.61 Unranked]
Gerald Cameron
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Nova Scotia
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While BGG is the best boardgame site on the web, I would argue that Greg Aleknevicus' The Games Journal is the clear number two, so I'll start with a few of my favourites from there.

This one is the first (and as of this writing, only) article in a series called Basic Strategy 1.0. This one covers situations where you are making deals with other players.

http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/Strategy1.shtml
 
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2. Board Game: Genius Rules [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:6891]
Gerald Cameron
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Also very good is Mario Lanza's self-explanatory The Finer Points of Teaching Rules.

http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/TeachingRules.shtml
 
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3. Board Game: Gloria Picktoria [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1649]
Gerald Cameron
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Also at the Games Journal is Wolfgang Kramer's essay What Makes a Game Good. i think it's one of the ones Greg inherited from the Gaming Dumpster.

http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/WhatMakesaGame.shtml
 
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4. Board Game: The Bomb [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Gerald Cameron
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Nova Scotia
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For my last choice from the Games Journal archives, I'll include Johnathan Degann's excellent series, Game Theory 101. One of the parts discusses his concept of 'bombs,' events that happen in a game periodically that shake things up.

http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/GameTheory1.shtml
http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/GameTheory2.shtml
http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/GameTheory3.shtml
http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/GameTheory4.shtml

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5. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:490]
Gerald Cameron
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Kory Heath's Zendo-Design History violates one of my suggestions above, but it really is an amazing piece, not just for Zendo fans or would be game designers, but for anyone curious about how these games that we love go from concept to final design. Nearby there is a similar article outlining the design history of another Heath IceHouse game, RAMBots.

http://www.wunderland.com/WTS/Kory/Games/Zendo/DesignHistory...
 
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6. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:66]
Gerald Cameron
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Also on the Looney Labs website is an archive of a thread from the LL mailing list about Elegance in game design. Perhaps a bit esoteric, but still interesting, IMHO.
 
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7. Board Game: German Chatter [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
 
Tom Vasel
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http://www.gamefest.com/news/blog_detail/1455_0_13_0_C/

Patrick Korner has written an excellent breakdown of the German game industry. Of course, there are many other excellent articles on the Gamefest blogs (not mine).
 
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8. Board Game: Play Your Way "Around the World" [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Norman Petry
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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Rick Heli has done a terrific set of interviews with boardgame enthusiasts from around the world:

http://spotlightongames.com/interview/

Many of those interviewed (Moritz Eggert, Ivan Hanley, Gláucio Santos dos Reis, etc.) are active members of the BGG community, and these interviews have given them the opportunity to talk (often at length!) about the boardgaming scene in their own countries. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Moritz Eggert, so if you have time to read only one, I'd suggest you start there (though they're all very good!)

I highly recommend these to anyone who's interested in the cultural role of gaming in other parts of the world. There are some surprising similarities and differences!
 
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9. Board Game: Epaminondas [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:3410]
David Molnar
United States
Ridgewood
New Jersey
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Robert Abbott - maybe best known for Eleusis? - wrote an article called "Under the Strategy Tree", discussing the concepts of 'depth' and 'clarity' in games. Probably of most interest to those of us who enjoy two-player abstracts. Uses Epaminondas (easily playable with bits you already have) as the primary example.

http://www.logicmazes.com/games/tree.html
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10. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:1805] [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
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I keep forgetting to add this series of articles from our very own Shannon Appelcline. I remember reading somewhere on the Geek a post by Shannon referring to himself as a game designer. So I went searching on Shannon's home site. rpg.net and its relative skotos.net (familiar ground due to my RPG background) and unearthed this series of articles. I'll post a few of the specific ones on strategy, but all of the work in the series is a worthwhile read. Just following the links in the articles below will lead to a lot of other great material.

Shannon Appelcline's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities

#101: Strategic Introductions: Tabletop Games
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_101.shtml

#102: Designing Strategy: The Components
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_102.shtml

#103: Designing Strategy: The Gameplay
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_103.shtml

#116: Strategic Insights: Trading Games
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_116.shtml

#144: Strategic Insights: Auction Games
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_144.phtml

#154: Strategic Insights: Connection Games
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_154.phtml

#155: Strategic Insights: Bluffing Games
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_155.phtml

To Shannon: Thanks for the writing and I look forward to more of the same! meeple
 
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11. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:348]
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Lewis Pulsipher, the designer of Britannia, has a couple of interesting articles on the state of boardgames, and why it's moving away from the monster hex-and-counter fare of old towards Euros and CCGs. I don't necessarily agree with him, but it's a good read and gristle from the mind mill.

An attempt to explain why (and how) boardgaming has changed in the past twenty years
http://www.pulsiphergames.com/Articles/WhyChangesinHobby105....

Are Video games slowly turning us into a nation of losers?
http://www.pulsiphergames.com/Articles/Video%20Losers2.htm
 
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12. Board Game: Gold Digger [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:4936]
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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Althouh I don't like spielboy.com's juvenille attitude, I find the Knizia Fusion section very informative:

http://www.spielboy.com/kniziafusion.php
 
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13. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:133]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Civilization

A nice review by Steve Jones, including some general strategies and specific comments about advances and each culture. I haven't played many games, so I can't attest to the quality of the advice -- it seems good to me, though!

http://www.westpark-gamers.de/index.html?/GI/civilization.ht...
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14. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:154]
Meng Tuck
United States
Compton
California
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A wonderful article is Walter's (of Westpark Gamers) mathematical analysis of St. Petersburg. Moritz' tips for a "winning" strategy are excellent too.

Analysis (in German)
http://www.westpark-gamers.de/Artikel/petersburg_analysis.ht...

Tips for a "winning" strategy
http://www.westpark-gamers.de/Reviews/bericht109a.html#game1
 
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15. Board Game: BuyWord [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2087]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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Mark Johnson has mentioned this piece, Peter Sarrett's Review Manifesto, on his Boardgames to Go podcast a couple of times. I have to agree with him that it is a very good read for any prospective review writer. With a little reflection, some of it's lessons could be applied to GeekLists and other types of content as well.

http://www.gamereport.com/tgr24/randomdraw.shtml
 
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16. Board Game: York Town [Average Rating:4.65 Overall Rank:10277]
Tim Synge
United Kingdom
Westbury-on-Trym
BRISTOL
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I still enjoy reading Jon Power's introductory article on German games. I found it soon after "discovering" Elfenland. I still find it helpful to keep some of these features in mind when explaining what this strange hobby is to friends who do not understand.

http://www.tragsnart.co.uk/gamehub/german/german.htm
 
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17. Board Game: Battle Dice [Average Rating:4.43 Unranked]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
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Nova Scotia
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A very nice discussion of the role of luck/randomness/chance in wargame design by the designer of Bonaparte at Marengo, which adds another dimension to the discussion since it, in fact, uses a luckless combat resolution system. Highly recommended, even if you have no intention of ever playing a wargame heavier than Axis & Allies.

There are also several other nice articles on wargame design (especially Simmons Games products, of course) on the site. Quite a nice example of content-based website design in the boardgame industry, and, IMHO, a site worth taking lessons from for any boardgame publisher.

http://www.simmonsgames.com/design/Chance.html
 
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18. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:360]
Steve Janecek
United States
Unspecified
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The "Diplomatic Pouch" Website is a reference tool for diplomact players throughout the world, including a move library, judge system (for online play) and to this article's topic, the "Zine" an online magazine dedicated to
diplomacy.


Paul Windsor's article titled "Caissa at the Diplomacy Table" is one of my favorite. The article discusses how even minor modifcations to momentum and location may have long term effects on the strategy and tactics of the entire game.

Caissa Article
http://www.diplom.org/Zine/S1998R/Windsor/caissa.html

For more diplomacy related articles take a peek here
http://www.diplom.org/Zine/list.html
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19. Board Game: Lucky Loop [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:10285]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
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Nova Scotia
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ekted is one of the more distinctive voices in the boardgaming community, so it only seems appropriate that a couple of entries from his blog, Gamer's Mind, should be here.

In Loops http://ekted.blogspot.com/2005/10/loops.html ekted discusses the flow of a boardgame in a manner that only a programmer could or even would. It turns out to be highly illuminating.
 
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20. Board Game: Force [Average Rating:4.35 Unranked]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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Every boardgamer has their own theory about what makes a great game, and ekted is no exception. One of the more interesting aspects of his perspective on this is the concept of Forces, which he outlines at http://ekted.blogspot.com/2005/11/forces.html
 
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Gerald Cameron
Canada
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Nova Scotia
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Chris Farrell is one of the most widely read and highly respected commenters about boardgames in the world. Unfortunately for this GeekList, most of his blog posts are about specific games.

Occasionally, however, he will use a particualar game as a springboard for discussion of a broader issue, as he does in one of his discussions of the Card-driven wargame Here I Stand. His musings on the structure of HiS's deck leads him to a wider discussion of how decks for CDGs seem to be put together.

http://homepage.mac.com/c_farrell/iblog/C1070818615/E2006050...
 
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22. Board Game: Frankenstein [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:8182]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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Boardgamers' Pastime is an excellent, if sporadically updated, new blog by Mario T. Lanza. Mario writes at length on a wide variety of topics related to boardgaming. I highly recommend it to all boardgame fans.

A great place to start is When Theme Comes Alive, his essay on one of the perrenial holy war topics in the hobby, theme. While I do not really line up with Mario on the subject, this essay is a wonderful piece of writing.

http://boardgamerspastime.com/?p=21
 
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23. Board Game: Think Twice [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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Sadly, Richard Fawkes had to go and get himself a career and the go-go lifestyle that entails, so he doesn't get to write on his boardgame blog nearly as much as his fans (including me) would like.

To see why this is such a crime against boardgaming, check out Analysis Paralysis: When You're Not Smart or Decisive Enough. It's classic Fawkes, and a real thinker.

http://boardgameblog.blogspot.com/2005/09/analysis-paralysis...
 
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24. Board Game: The Economy Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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Another newish blog that offers high quality writing is 'Peg City Gamers, which is a group blog featuring three authours, the best known of whom to BGGers is liable to be Ryan Walberg (BGG username generalpf).

One of the more interesting posts about general boardgaming issues is False Economy: Playing for Value, in which Ryan discusses the relationship between replayability and value when it comes to buying boardgames.

http://pegcitygamers.blogspot.com/2006/03/false-economy-play...
 
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25. Board Game: He Shoots... He Scores! [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
 
Gerald Cameron
Canada
Unspecified
Nova Scotia
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Jonathan Degann has continued his analysis of boardgame designs, begun in the Games Journal series Game Design 101, cited earlier in this list, on his new blog Journal of Boardgame Design.

In The Art of Scoring, Johnathan takes a closer look at how different scoring systems can impact on how a game is played.

Part 1 http://jbdgames.blogspot.com/2006/03/art-of-scoring.html
Part 2 - 101 Ways to Score http://jbdgames.blogspot.com/2006/04/101-ways-to-score-art-o...
 
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