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I just realized I didn't post a proper .

My name is Georgios (or Γεωργιος). I write about board games in the way I find interesting, which is basically looking at what we do when we play games and why we do it. I also do reviews and criticism (whatever that means).

I also produce a few German-language podcasts about board games with Peer Sylvester. I like and and apparently (but know next to nothing about it).

Some days I suspect that there is a vocal segment of gamers who consider"difficult to understand" synonymous with "great game design".

I'm at a loss to explain why this bothers me.

Question about OD&D - I vaguely remember reading something years ago about playing characters past level 10 in OD&D, and how it differs significantly from current play.

Does this ring a bell with anyone? Does anyone know where I might be able to read up on that?

Random thought of the day: is competitive play compatible with empathy?

If yes, what does it look like?

If no, what does play teach us?

I've written a short article about how I think themes function in a board game, and why the question "What does the game say about its theme?" isn't hitting the mark.

I finished Breath of Fire today. I was disappointed overall. Too much aimless wandering and some very tiresome battles.

Silly thought before my first coffee of the day:

Kayfabe and the magic circle are the same thing.

This is not meant as shade on anyone, but since moving to Mastodon and only occasionally glimpsing at my old Twitter timeline, the type of influencer/hustle-style posts stand out to me much more than before.

I think I'd just accepted it as an inevitable part of general social media interaction and I am beginning to rethink this stance.

Self promotion - link to review of Clockworker 

Clockworker is a good game. Like a Machi Koro without dice, but it has an unfortunate little flaw.

Playing some Breath of Fire on Switch, and it's rather impressive just how much padding there is and how little guidance you're given in how to advance in the game.

Upside: exploration is rewarded as many special items aren't found otherwise. Also, if you are playing alongside others, you can share experiences, tips etc.

Downside: the game is a massive time-sink with lots of dead-ends, unless you know where you need to be.

Gaming has sure come a long way since Pac-Man. 😉

It's weird when the interface design of a game is its biggest hurdle. I've just finished a game of Clockworker - which is a pleasant mid-sized gaming snack - but its icons are needlessly difficult to memorise. Its terminology is too clunky to actually be used at the table and the visuals - while charming - are too busy and difficult to read and register during play.

A lot of care went into making it a nice physical game, but not enough into making it a smooth play experience.

Blocked my first account today. I guess this really has become a true Twitter replacement to me now.🤣

First impressions playing Clockworker 

Imagine a game like Machi Koro (you're building a tableau of cards) but instead of dice, you're using a worker placement mechanism.

Didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed playing it. Although a more competitive group might turn this game into a very slow math-competition.

Link to a review of Bloc by Bloc Uprising 

I've no idea if I've written enough about the game's rules for it to be a review. But I've found other things about the game worth talking about.

What is the absolute minimum amount of rules coverage a review needs to provide to qualify as a review?

You would think after so many years of playing board games and writing about them, I'd have learned not to judge a game by its graphic design.

But no.... what I assumed was a children's/family game turned out to be a neat and clever take on Quest for El Dorado. I am delighted to have misjudged "Expedition".

With the move to Mastodon I've found myself changing my perspective from "this is my microblog" to "this is somebody else's living room". This has affected what I post (and more importantly don't post) online.

From a design perspective, a theme needs to anchor abstract rules into something tangible.

From an artistic perspective, a theme needs to have some relevance and meaning.

From a player perspective, a theme needs to invite imagination. It needs to encourage me to draw a line between what I do and how it translates into the game's fiction.

This is, I think, easier to accomplish if I am familiar with the theme.

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I think a great theme isn't necessarily one that matches the game's mechanisms closely.

Saashi games like Coffee Roaster, Before the Guests Arrive or Wind the Film (Photograph) have great themes IMO.

They stand out because they're unique, sure, but they also tap into something players can easily imagine and understand.

This is far more effective than a detailed, lore-filled game world IMO, where players need to familiarise themselves with it first, before their imagination can take over.

One thing I keep coming back to when it comes to rulebooks and rules explanations, is that players need to understand what they actually *do* in the game.

This is often conflated with which rules they have to follow, or how an action is translated into the game's theme.

But the first step is knowing you have to play cards, or keep others from placing tokens, or combining actions, etc. It's only after understanding these core elements, that you can expand into theme and the limits set by rules.

I played a game yesterday that didn't go over well with the group. Afterwards we talked about how it might have been "supposed" to be played; tried to interpret the design's incentives and so on.

It makes me think that there is a "language" to board games, that we sometimes pick up on quickly (i.e. intuitive games) and sometimes struggle to understand. I tend to attribute the latter to cultural differences, but I worry that this can lead into national stereotypes, and I'd rather avoid those.

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