Space Cadets Dice Duel: Panic in deep space

“Frantic” isn’t a word that comes into play in most board games. This is a hobby that gets its kicks from things like maximizing the efficiency of your electrical grid, after all. Absorbing? Entertaining? Challenging? Sure. But frenzied? Hardly. In the last few years, though, a handful of games have been kicking at board games’ … Continue reading


The Philadelphia Story: A pretty, pretty sight

“The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges.” So says Macaulay Connor, an author slumming it as a tabloid writer in Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story, and while Connor has firmly established himself as an opponent of America’s de facto aristocracy, he seems sincere in that champagne-tinted moment. … Continue reading


Super Motherload: Mars needs miners

Board games are very much an international hobby. Your biggest games — Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride — all hail from overseas, and North American designers are only starting to catch up. So it’s nice to be able to start the year by recommending a local creation. Awarded the Canadian Game Design … Continue reading


Chelsea Hotel: Leonard Cohen inspires stories

Leonard Cohen is an artist who demands to be reinterpreted. Like the hundreds of remountings and reworkings of Shakespeare, new takes on Cohen’s canon emerge with frightening regularity, with everyone from Johnny Cash to the Pixies covering the bard of Montreal. Maybe it was inevitable, then, that his influence would extend to the world of … Continue reading


The unnoticed death of a billion-dollar endowment

Given plummeting oil prices and the ensuing talk of austerity in Alberta, a program designed to think long-term, to change the way we approach social and cultural problems, and to invest in long-term projects outside the fluctuations of a resource-based economy is an idea worth considering. If someone pitched it now, the province’s progressives would likely … Continue reading


Board game gift guide 2014

This time of year, it’s traditional for columnists to put together gift guides — lists itemizing the perfect present for your spouse, roommate and pretentious brother-in-law who never quite conceals his distaste for your latest attempt at giving. The trouble is, I’ve likely never met you, your friends or your relatives, and so it seems … Continue reading


The Duke: Chess’s quick-and-dirty cousin

The Duke isn’t a chess knock-off, although it’s definitely chess-inspired. You’ve got a six-by-six grid instead of an eight-by-eight chessboard. You’ve got an assortment of pieces that each have their own rules for movement. There’s a medieval theme, with the brief flavour text in the rules contrasting the elegance of the high court (chess) with … Continue reading


Fallcon 2014: The auction

This past weekend was the 27th edition of Fallcon, Calgary’s annual celebration of all things tabletop. With multiple vendors, over 70 scheduled events and nearly 1,000 games available for free play, it can be an overwhelming experience, even for those already indoctrinated into board game culture. Do you pre-register for a round of a familiar … Continue reading


Euphoria: Building a better dystopia

When you really get down to it, the theme in board games should be superfluous. Whether you’re meant to be founding cities in Settlers of Catan, saving the world from ancient demons in Eldrich Horror or setting the inflation rate in a parliamentary democracy in Poleconomy (a game brought to Canada by the Fraser Institute … Continue reading


Tokaido: Competitive zen

European board games have a knack for turning even the most mundane tasks into a battleground. While American games often focus on more traditional fantasy and sci-fi fare, pitting players against each other in contests of galactic conquest or dungeon-crawling adventure, Eurogames have turned civil engineering and agriculture into blood sports. Tokaido — from designer … Continue reading


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