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Rahdo Runs Through►►► FAQ
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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So I frequently get asked certain questions, and I thought it would be nice to respond with a "check http://faq.rahdo.com" to those questions, and hence, this geeklist was born!

Direct links:

1) Who is Jen?
2) Where does the name "Rahdo" come from?
3) What's with the Klingon subtitles?
4) How do you rank [insert game here]?
5) I love [insert game here]! What should I buy?
6) You think [insert game here] is too conflict-heavy? I disagree because...
7) Why do you only ever give good reviews?
8) Why do you cover so many kickstarter games?
9) Do you get paid to do runthroughs by publishers?
10) I love your show, how can I support it?
11) What's this I hear about Rahdo's voters? How do I vote?
12) Will you run through my game?
13) How did you get started doing runthroughs?
14) Do you do Rahdo Runs Through full time?
15) What game got you into boardgames?
16) What equipment do you film your videos with?
17) What happened to your gaming table?
18) Where can I get that chicken cup you use in your videos?
19) Are you going to design a boardgame?
20) Do you have any suggestions for a first time boardgame designer?
21) Why don't you use a GoPro?
22) You're an American. Why are you living in Malta?
23) How to you rank and classify your games on BGG?
24) Have you considered trying [insert idea here] as a variant?
25) What about [insert other questions here]?
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1. Board Game: Guess Who? [Average Rating:4.79 Overall Rank:14720]
Richard Ham
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Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Who is Jen?

Jen is my wife. We met in college at the University of Washington and we've been married since 1991. She's a professional glass artist, you can find more about her work at http://www.jenefer.net. She's a bit camera shy but has been getting more and more comfortable appearing in videos, and here's a list of everything she's been in: http://jen.rahdo.com

When I started making videos, I decided to refer to her as my opponent because she's the only person I play 95% of all my games with, and I figured it would be easier for me to keep track of what I was talking about. I'm often a bit scatterbrained, and if I always referred to my opponent as "player 2" or "the blue player", I suspect that would be more opportunity to misspeak!
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2. Board Game: Name Dropper [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Where does the name "Rahdo" come from?

When I first started playing Everquest, I made a human cleric called Raham, which was short for Richard Allen Ham (my full name). I didn't like that character and later made a halfling cleric, and just to have naming consistency, I named him Rahdo, since it rhymed with 'Frodo'.

So Rahdo is basically my Hobbit name
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3. Board Game: Monopoly: Klingon Edition [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Why do you keep talking about Klingon subtitles?



Q'plah!
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4. Board Game: Rank 'Em [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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How do you rank game X?

I keep an up-to-date ranking list of all the games in my collection here: http://games.rahdo.com. You can find a different version of that same list here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/collection/user/rahdo?sort=rat...

Also, you can check out this thread to learn more about how I rate games using BGG's scale: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1078521/rahdos-ratings
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5. Board Game: Help Me! [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:7355]
Richard Ham
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I love X. What game should I buy?

That's a really big question that I'd have to spend a fair bit of time thinking about and I'm sorry to say I don't have enough time to consider and answer this every time I get asked!

You're better off heading over to the recommendations forum here on Boardgamegeek:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/8/boardgamegeek/recommen...

There's a bunch of folks who are willing to help out... chances are you'll get some great ideas!
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6. Board Game: Hidden Conflict [Average Rating:4.25 Overall Rank:14522]
Richard Ham
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Rahdo, why do you think Game X is too conflict-heavy? I disagree because...

Okay, let me stop you right there! I understand that you feel that the level of conflict/stealing/attacking/whatever in Game X is not too harsh and I'm perhaps being overly sensitive. But as a wise poster on Youtube said:

Hats Off Games wrote:
When people say that the take that element isn't that bad and give stats in cards, it's like telling someone that the dish isn't that spicy because the ingredients only rate an X on the spicy rank thingy.

It's a matter of taste. If the meal is too spicy for someone then it is too spicy. You're not going to change that and you shouldn't.


Thanks Hats Off, that's a brilliant summation, and I feel kind of silly having written the longer tome below, but I'll leave it here for folks who would like a more thorough breakdown of my feelings.

Here is my response that I believe covers 99% of these cases, broken down into 4 points:

1) I am incapable of experiencing schadenfreude (a German word meaning "to derive pleasure from the misfortune of others"). In fact, I'm quite the opposite, because whenever a game puts me in a position where I must negatively impact my opponents ability to achieve their goals, I find my empathetic response to the "virtual suffering" of my opponent actively distresses me.

Of course, there are varying degrees of this that I find acceptable, but normally where I draw the line is situations the game creates where my best move is one made predominately or solely to hamper your progress, or even worse, destroy something you have created. Cases where there is indirect hampering as a side effect of me pursing my own agenda (most worker placement games, for example) are generally tolerable for me, but even these can be problematic if the game gives me the option to pursue my goals while purposefully limiting your ability to do so where it otherwise wasn't necessary (the dice blocking in Bora Bora, The Ancient World and Covert, for example).

Now, You might be inclined to say "it's just a game, you're not really hurting anyone", but that simply indicates that you feel empathy for others differently than I do.

2) I've found that many viewers forget that I play games exclusively two player, and by its very nature, this zero-sum way of playing tends to increase the value of attacking your opponents over what is experienced with 3+ players. This is because in a 2p game, any move I make to hamper you directly translates into an improvement of my station, and therefore it's always a valid move to consider. But with 3 or more players, if I spend my limited time and resources trying to hamper you, then I slow both you and me down, and the other player(s) at the table are able to pull ahead of both of us, and so "mean" moves are less valuable overall.

Therefore, because I always play 2p, it means my already strong aversion to "messing with others" becomes an even more prevalent, because often, the best move I can make is to purposefully hurt my opponent (in 2p, even hurting you a little can net me a lot), and since I find that distasteful, I end up not enjoying the game.

As an interesting side note, one upside to 2p gaming is that I'm less bothered by "stealing victory points" from my opponent, as the zero sum nature of the game means that you losing 3vp is the equivalent of me gaining 3vp, so this sort of "aggression" I generally find to be acceptable (the military competition in 7 Wonders, for instance).

3) You might argue that in Game X, it's entirely possible to ignore all of the negative options available in gameplay and simply "live and let live". Occasionally that is true, but more often than not (especially in 2p, see above) to completely dismiss all of the aggressive options available means that I have to play the game sub-optimally (i.e. ignore stronger, better moves and make weaker ones). This is not something I'm inclined to pursue, because to get the maximum enjoyment out of a game, I do want to play the best, smartest game I can. So to ignore tools available to me to do my best is unpalatable and as such, I find it un-enjoyable to be put in that position.

4) You might also suggest that I simply house rule the game to alter or remove whatever elements I don't like. As a general rule, I don't care to spend the time and effort to come up with house rules as that requires signficant time and playtesting to ensure that the game remains balaned, and I'd rather spend my time playing games where I'm not required to do that extra work, since there are plenty of them out there

So, some combination of these 4 factors are doubtless what has caused me to declare that Game X is too conflict heavy for me. Hopefully that explains adequately that while it might be fine for you, that doesn't make it fine for me, and that we can simply agree to disagree

TL;DR?
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7. Board Game: Positive Negative [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Why do you only ever give good reviews?

I've actually got a whole thread devoted to this here: http://niceguy.rahdo.com

In a nutshell, I say no to about 9 out of every 10 games I'm asked to cover, as I don't want to waste my or my wife's time playing games that we don't enjoy. That said, about 25% of all the games I've ever filmed are in fact ones where I say in the final thoughts that we didn't end up keeping the game. For a list of those, check the link above, or check out this list of ever game I've ever gotten rid of, and why: http://gone.rahdo.com
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8. Board Game: Kick-It [Average Rating:5.38 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Gozo, Malta
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Why do you cover so many kickstarter games?

There's a whole thread devoted to that very question here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1340153/kickplaythroughs

and another one here!
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1192700/kickstarter

TL;DR - I think it provides a great service to my viewers, and I know that the majority of them like it. Often it's hard to tell if a game is right for you when trying to back, and there's often not very much information about a game during it's KS campaign. So that's when buyers most need a runthrough, IMO. Later, when the game is available in retail, a bunch more people have played and reviewed it, and so it's easier to get a feel for the game. Plus, when a game hits retail, my KS video is still a valid way to tell if it's a good fit, so my KS videos serve double duty!

Also worth noting, at certain times in the year, it might look like I do nothing but KS videos, but you need to step back and look at the fact that over the course of an entire year, only about 30% or so of my videos are for KS games! Find that hard to believe? Check this summary for proof
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9. Board Game: Ea$y Money [Average Rating:5.06 Overall Rank:14017]
Richard Ham
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Do you get paid to do runthroughs by publishers?

No, I accept no money from the developers of games I cover (in fact, I often don't even get a final copy of the game when I run through a prototype).

Why? Well, Roger Ebert didn't accept money from Columbia Pictures to review Ghostbusters the movie, so I don't accept money from Cryptozoic to runthrough Ghostbusters the boardgame. I don't begrudge other boardgame reviewers who do accept cash for coverage, and I don't necessarily believe that their opinions are being bought and sold, but for me, it's a line I'm not comfortable crossing.

All the income I make off of Rahdo Runs Through is directly from fans of the show. I don't even turn Youtube ads on, because I think they're crappy!
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10. Board Game: Shut Up & Take My Money! [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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I love your show, how can I support it?

Every April, I do a fund raising campaign on Kickstarter. When it starts, I always announce it on my guild (http://guild.rahdo.com), on twitter (http://www.twitter.com/rahdo), on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rahdorunsthrough) and on my youtube channel directly (http://www.rahdo.com). If you subscribe to any of those, you should know when it starts.

For the rest of the year, I don't ask for or accept money, but if you'd still like a way to support they show, check out Jen's ETSY shop and consider buying some of her glass! You can find info at http://www.jenefer.net
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11. Board Game: Battle of Ballots [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What's this I hear about Rahdo's voters? How do I vote?

Every month, I run some private voting ballots to determine three of the games I'll runthrough that month. To vote in these ballots, you need to be one of my backers in my yearly fundraising drives (see previous questions). You can see the results of these votes at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/966204/directors-chair

If you're not a backer, you can still help determine what games I runthrough. Check out http://requests.rahdo.com. That's a list of every game I might ever film. Thumb the ones you would like to see. Every month, the game with the most thumbs on this list gets filmed. You can see the current thumb rankings at http://thumbs.rahdo.com. You can click links on that list to go directly to the entries you like and thumb them to push your favourites forward!

update: TL;DR? Here's a video:
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12. Board Game: Look Look [Average Rating:4.90 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Will you run through my game?

Contact me through BGG to talk about it, and the first thing I'll ask you to do is send me a copy of the rules to look at. It usually takes me a few weeks to get to reading the rules (I've usually got a backlog of 15 or 20 rulebooks to read), but I'll use that to determine whether it would be a game that Jen and I would enjoy playing. If it is, I'll give you my address and you can send a copy of the game, and we'll eventually get it played and runthrough (though that might take awhile too)
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13. Board Game: Origin [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1833]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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How did you get started doing runthroughs?

It's all because of this thread:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/782891/where-i-can-i-fi...

and then it continued here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/784361/poll-my-next-game-vi...

and then it just kept growing...
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14. Board Game: Careers [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:4886]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Do you do Rahdo Runs Through full time?

Yes, I'm a retired videogame designer (here's my CV for that: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardham) with a lot of time on my hands and a lot of love for boardgames, and doing Rahdo Runs Through helps keep me retired instead of having to go back to full time work, so I guess it's my job now
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15. Board Game: Game Seeds [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What game got you into boardgames?

This vid tells the tale:


Long story short: Jen and I became board game enthusiasts in 2009 when, while visiting Seattle, I stopped by a great little FLGS called Blue Highway Games (highly recommended!). I was looking for a copy of Travel Scrabble, for an upcoming road trip we were going to make through France, but the guy working the counter talked me into getting Pandemic instead. Jen and I LOVED it, and played it obsessively every day on our road trip (we enjoyed the game almost more than the trip itself!) and since then we've become hard core geeks.
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16. Board Game: Modern Equipment Handbook [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What equipment do you film your videos with?

The camera I use for my main runthroughs is a Sony PJ650, held in my left hand while filming, and the one for my static cam overhead vids is a Panasonic TM90.

I also use an Ultradisc 4033 lavalier mic plugged into the Sony pj650.

For the static cam overhead shots, I'm using an ALZO Horizontal Camera Mount plus a 72" tripod.

I don't usually edit my vids at all, but when I do, I just use http://www.youtube.com/editor

For the podcasts, I record them with the PJ650 & lapel mic, and edit in audacity

For my live plays, I'm using a Microsoft 720 Lifecam for the main video & audio, and the webcam built into my wife's laptop for the PiP of us, and OBS freeware to stream both feeds to Youtube.
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17. Board Game: Turning the Tables [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:7500]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What happened to your gaming table?

That table was always intended to be a loaner for the purposes of doing a runthrough. After I had it for a few months, it was originally intended to go back to Geek n' Son (the table makers) so they could use it as a demonstration model. But recently, a wargamer moved to Malta, and he liked the table so much, he bought it from Geek n' Son. So it's still here in Malta, and we can even go and visit it!

The reason we opted not to get a permanent game table of our own is the fact that we're renting our current apartment, which came pre-furnished, and when we eventually decide to leave Malta, we don't want to have to pay to move a giant table out of the country, especially when we might end up somewhere without enough room for the table.

Some day though, when we permanently settle down (wherever that might be) we'll be contacting Geek n' Son again!
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18. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3592] [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:74]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Where can I get that chicken cup you use in your videos?


We bought ours direct from the artist in Prague, but you can order one now on ETSY: https://www.etsy.com/listing/247470636/chicken-bowl?ref=shop...
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19. Board Game: Make It Up! [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Are you going to design a boardgame?
Nope! More detail here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1067470/calling-richard...
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20. Board Game: Game Design: Theory and Practice [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Do you have any suggestions for a first time boardgame designer?

Check out the boardgame design forum here on boardgamegeek
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/boa...

It's full to the brim of folks who are more than happy to offer tips and advice, feedback and support. It's an amazing resource that will definitely make your game designs better!
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21. Board Game: Candid Camera Game [Average Rating:3.08 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Why don't you use a head mounted camera like a GoPro?

I did actually try this a few years ago, and documented the results here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1150067/pivothead-tripo...

I wasn't happy with the extra motion, plus I couldn't zoom in, plus I couldn't even tell exactly what was on screen while filming. So it was a big fail (but as a side benefit, folks get to see a video of me feeding our chickens )
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22. Board Game: Malta! [Average Rating:4.90 Overall Rank:14169]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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You're an American. Why are you living in Malta?

My wife and I came to Malta because a job for me opened up at a start up game development house. We thought it would be a fun year - sort of a working vacation, living in the Mediterranean, doing the job, and then going back to England once it was over. But it turned out that Malta was so cheap to live in and so nice to live in that once the job was done, we decided to stay, and make a go of early retirement.
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23. Board Game: Rank & File [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Your BGG collection rating & classification is weird! How does it work?

Okay, there is method to my madness. Here's a rundown of the various ways I'm abusing the BGG collection system:

RATINGS
First of all, I only apply ratings to games where I own the commercial version (no prototype ratings), and I've played it enough times so that I'm confident in ranking it compared to all the other games I own.

Second, I'm ignoring most of BGG's rating scale because I think it's fundamentally ill-conceived (more on that HERE). So, here's my rating scale:

10 - 100% perfection, which fundamentally doesn't exist. I don't rate anything a 10. There's no such thing as a perfect 10!

9 - the absolute best of the best of all time. Stunning stuff, I weep with joy to think on these. if BGG used a 5 star system.

8 - a really fantastic game. Love it, can't imagine parting with it (but you never know, I am short on shelf space...). Basically

7 - Good stuff, solid game, Jen and I enjoy it, 3 stars!

6 - /shrug. Not great, but not bad. Just 'okay'.

Anything below a 6, I don't keep, and therefore it's not rated.

So why do i rate some games to the 4th decimal place? Specifically so I can rate games relative to each other. As far as I'm concerned, any 8 is fantastic, and an 8.2 is practically as good as an 8.903, but an 8.903 is still ever so slightly better than the 8.2, and so the wierd multi-decimal point rating exist, so that if you go to http://ranked.rahdo.com, you'll see a full ranked breakdown of everyting I've got. But remember, all 8's, no matter the decimal place, are fantastic IMO!

STATUS
You may have noticed I use the various status flags oddly as well. Here's what they mean to me:

Want to play - this is a flag I give to everything that I own which I haven't filmed a runthrough for. An easy way to see everything flagged this way is http://unfilmed.rahdo.com

Preordered - these are not actually preordered. I have these in my home, right now. I've co-opted the preordered status as a stand-in for "expansion", so everything in my collection that is pre-ordered is something that I consider to be expansion content to the games I've already got. I don't rate expansions, but instead add their quality to the rating of the base game. Also, some full games are listed as preordered, and this is because I consider them to be functional expansions (Dominion: Intrigue, Dale of Merchants 2, etc.)

Want to buy - I actually own all of these titles, but they're locked away in our attic in England. Originally when we moved to Malta, we thought we'd stay for a year, and then return to our house in England (which we're renting to tenants while we rent our apartment in Malta), and so I left some games behind to minimize moving costs (no reason to move them to Malta and then move them back within a year). And now, many years later, we're still in Malta, and I still own these games, and it's very sad that they're not here with me. So I don't flag them as 'owned', but 'want to buy' for my own record keeping.

Want in trade - this is a list of all the promos and small expansions out there that I'm hoping to pick up in the occasional international promo math trades. I keep them flagged like this so that the OLWLG will make it easier for me to scan for things I'm wanting. None of this will mean anything to folks who don't engage in math trades, I suspect!

For trade - these are games I'm actually considering selling, not trading. If you go to http://4sale.rahdo.com, you end up with a list of everything I've tagged as "for trade". I generally don't sell games overseas as shipping out of Malta is too crazy expensive, so this is mostly a list for the boardgamegeeks of Malta who are interesting is swinging by my place to buy a used game or 2. I also try to sell excess games when I go to boardgame conventions like Essen Spiel.

WISHLIST
So I've totally co-opted the 1-5 scale for the wishlist and use it a bit strangely in places. Here's the deets:

1 - I *will* own this, make no mistake. It will be mine!

2 - very strongly considering this, it's all but guaranteed I will pick this up at some point.

3 - "of interest". The description of the gameplay, or the designer pedigree, or the art, or something has made me think that this is probably worth seeking out.

Everything rated 1-3 ends up on my monthly-updated "games of interest" geeklists

4 - maybe/maybe not. There's something about the game that has sparked some small interest, but I don't know nearly enough. Need to see some videos, or read the rulebook, or something to push it higher into a 3.

5 - here's where things get wonky. This is a flag I use to help prioritize which games I'm going to runthrough, and so this is combined with the "want to play" status tag. Basically, if a game is "want to play" but isn't a wishlist item, that means it's one I've bought myself and therefore it lower priority. If it's "want to play" and is also wishlist 5, then it means it's something I prioritize higher to film because the publisher submitted it for a review. This means that it will appear on the monthly voting ballots I send out to my show backers, while games that I've personally bought are pretty unlikely to get covered unless "director-level" backers of my show choose them, or they climb to the top of the thumbs chart on my request geeklist.

Phew! TMI? Well, someone (maybe you) asked for it!
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24. Board Game: Variant Souls [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Have you considered trying [insert idea here] as a variant?

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of trying out variant house rules. The way I look at it is that the developers of the game have likely playtested their rules for hundreds if not thousands of man hours, and done their best to come up with the ideal way to play their game. Just because it doesn't work for me doesn't mean it's not the best way to play. So I'm willing to trust them, in large part because I personally don't want to spend potentially dozens of hours as a tester of some new alternate rule that may have unforeseen consequences on the overall balance of the game.

It's true there are a few games where I've used fan-made variants I found on boardgamegeek, and even a couple of times I came up with my own, but those are definitely the exception to the rule! There are so many great games on my shelves that I can already enjoy without having to muck around with variant rules, and life's too short to try to change the other ones I think.
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25. Board Game: What Everyone Should Know About TRENDS & LIFESTYLES [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What about [insert other questions here]?

Head on over to my guild: http://guild.rahdo.com At the top of the page, you'll see shortcuts to a lot of common topics that come up. If you don't see an answer there, create a thread and ask!

You can also send questions to questions@rahdo.com and I'll answer them in my monthly podcast, which you can subscribe to here: http://podcast.rahdo.com

Also, I was geek of the week awhile ago, and got asked a LOT of questions there, and you might find some answers your looking for there as well:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1115571/geek-week-437-richa...

Also also, I did a quasi-AMA of sorts on reddit awhile ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/1w728n/ama_requ...

And more recently I've done a real, proper AMA:
https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/66pmcq/im_richa...

Also also also, here's a runthrough video I awhile ago for the Rahdo Runs Through Guild that might help somewhat:
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