Maven Games

Maven Games is a boardgames publisher, based in Nottingham, UK, and built up around the community at the The Dice Cup (a boardgame cafe). It is linked with the Boardgame Opinions YouTube channel and is run by Jonathan Hicks. The blog contains articles on a wide variety of topics, from gaming to publishing to living in community.

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My Top Games from UKGE 2018

Jonathan Hicks
United Kingdom
Nottingham
Nottinghamshire
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On the whole, I wasn’t overly impressed with the offering at the UK Games Expo this year.  I really enjoyed myself at the convention, but in terms of exciting new games to try, there wasn’t a lot that really interested me.

That being said, there were a few diamonds in the rough.  I didn’t get to try everything I wanted to (some games became booked out almost as soon as the show opened), but of the ones I played, these were my favourites…


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Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:01 pm
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Confused Drow mages play with letters (part 3)

Nathan Cooper
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Arise from your wage-dorms, cast aside your warm Doges and your dower mags, and if you are a gambler apply some wager-mods. This post will be no sog-warmed amalgamation of mowed rags, no sad gem row through which the hapless gamer morg-wades. Today we cut, saw-gormed, through the dewar smog and distill the very orgasm dew of truth from the subject of word games.



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Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:36 pm
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Heaven & Ale

Jonathan Hicks
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The Spiel nominees were announced recently and one of the surprise nominations was a game called Heaven & Ale.  It’s been nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres – the “Strategy Game of the Year” award.

Whereas the Spiel des Jahres games are meant to be light, family-weight games, the Kennerspiel are meant to be more complex, but still accessible to people with some gaming experience.  Previous winners include Istanbul and 7 Wonders.

How does Heaven & Ale stack up?  Is it likely to win?  Let’s take a look at it…


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Mon May 28, 2018 11:37 pm
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Confused Drow mages play with letters (part 2)

Nathan Cooper
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Being an extremely dedicated blogger who takes his work seriously, I went on holiday and ended up not having time to finish the post I was supposed to put up. On the subject of word games, here is a boardgame-themed crossword I made earlier instead. Black numbers are for across clues and red for down. I’ll put up solutions with my next post. First person to show me the full correct solution will win an extra power cycle on turn 1 next time I play Terra Mystica against them…



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Wed May 23, 2018 8:25 pm
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Rules Videos

Jonathan Hicks
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I picked up a copy of The City of Kings recently.  I tasked my son with punching out all of the components (fortunately, he’s still young enough to be enthusiastic about this!) and I sat down to read the rulebook.

I got a couple of pages in though, past the thematic intro and the list of components, and it said, “If you prefer watching videos to reading rulebooks, then you can find a series of how to play videos on our website.”

You bet I do!  So I went to the website and watched Frank West (the designer) explain how to play his game.  Is it possible to learn the rules this way or do you need to read the rulebook really?  Here’s my experience…


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Fri May 18, 2018 8:55 pm
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The Mind

Jonathan Hicks
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Nottingham
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Boardgaming, as a hobby, is rarely controversial.  People get together, play games and generally enjoy themselves.  People have very different tastes in games of course, but when one group of people say a game is good, those people who don’t like it are usually quite happy to say that it’s not their kind of game rather than saying that the game is actually bad.

My lowest rated game is Joking Hazard.  I think I rated it a 2.  I really didn’t like it.  Other people I played with rated it a 6 or 7 though.  I can see some people could really enjoy it.  Just not me!

However, every now and then a game comes along that sharply divides opinion.  Some people love it, some people think it’s so bad that it’s not even a game, and some people don’t get what all the fuss is about and reckon it was just ‘okay’.  The Mind is such a game…


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Mon May 14, 2018 10:18 pm
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KS Spotlight: Black Rose Wars

Jonathan Hicks
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There are an awful lot of boardgame projects on Kickstarter at any one time (currently 270 as I write this), with new ones appearing every day.  How do you keep track?  Well, to help you out, I thought I could do a semi-regular Kickstarter Spotlight, where I pick the one game currently on Kickstarter that stands out the most (to me at least!).

To kick us off (pardon the pun), I thought we could look at Black Rose Wars, which still has a little over a week left.  It’s essentially a fantasy first-person shooter where players run around in a magical lodge throwing fireballs and summoning creatures to cause as much damage to each other as possible.  Let’s have a look…


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Fri May 11, 2018 8:57 pm
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Confused Drow mages play with letters (part 1)

Nathan Cooper
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AGED WORMS

The traditional image of someone who plays word games is the retired bookworm, sitting in their dusty study in their slippers playing a very slow game of Scrabble against themselves. And of course there is nothing wrong with this – it just doesn't necessarily make word games appealing to people who want a slightly more exciting theme, or maybe at least one other player within thirty years of their own age...



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Tue May 8, 2018 10:26 pm
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Copyright and Theft

Jonathan Hicks
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What happens if you design a game, show it to a publisher and then they steal your idea and make the game without you?!  Is there anything you can do?  As a designer, do you automatically have some kind of copyright?  Or should you take out a patent before you show it to anyone?

I’m no legal expert, but these questions have been asked many times over the years by budding designers and the answers are all fairly unanimous (more on that in a bit).  The one thing that most people agree on though, is that it hardly ever happens.

However, unfortunately it seems as if it really is happening in the case of the latest boardgame based on the popular Alien franchise: USCSS Nostromo…


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Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:50 pm
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Hey, that's my strategy! (part 2)

Nathan Cooper
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If the water copies the appearance of the sky, does the sky care? Besides, the sky looks pretty good, so isn’t it great that the water can look good too? If I single-handedly drink all the beer and then try to write a blog post, does anybody really notice? Can I write an entire post where every sentence is a question?

For the answers to these, and other pressing questions, keep reading as I go substantially off-topic – because after all, isn’t knowing how and when to go off-topic the most important part of copying a strategy from someone else?


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Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:35 pm
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