Robinson Crusoe

Boxed Worlds: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island

Co-operative games aren’t much fun unless they’re challenging. There’s a mild thrill that comes from saving the world from viral infection or invasion by eldritch gods, but when the results are a foregone conclusion, it’s hard to feel particularly invested. Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island (Portal Games) seems to understand this. In fact, when … Continue reading

FallCon Calgary

Boxed Worlds: The Board Game Retreat

Near the end of December, I got an email from one of the organizers of Fallcon, Calgary’s largest board game convention (yes, there are multiple board game conventions in Calgary), inviting me to a “board game invitational weekend” in Canmore. It’s an annual tradition, he said, to invite “ambassadors to the hobby,” and because I’ve … Continue reading

Glenbow-Museum-Calgary-2

Objects without stories

(Note: This post is quite Calgary-based, and not particularly well-researched, so take with large amounts of sodium) I’ve always been one of those people who needs to read every placard in a museum. Looking at objects is one thing, but without context to understand what makes them unique or interesting, its just so much stuff. Once … Continue reading

Hanabi

Boxed Worlds: Hanabi

(First published at ffwdweekly.com) Can board games make you a better person? There are plenty of games that can hone your strategic thinking skills or stretch your creativity. Just as often, though, games turn you into a manipulative, scheming sociopath, even if it’s only for a half-hour at a time. Are those skills transferable? Absolutely. … Continue reading

reimer

Why bother? A response to a question

For the last few months, I’ve been helping to organize a project as a tribute to Chris Reimer, a friend of mine who passed away in 2012. It’s officially taking place through the not-for-profit where I work, the Quickdraw Animation Society, but most of the organizing has happened outside of office hours, and with help … Continue reading

Tomb

Boxed Worlds: Christmas picks

Think of this column as one mighty stone being used to kill three birds. It’s a holiday gift guide, a catch-up on some notable, new-ish (for board games, at least) releases, and an intro to the tastes of three of Calgary’s prime board game institutions: Myth Games, Sentry Box and Dickens Pub’s Gamer Sundays. Because … Continue reading

Agricola

Boxed Worlds: Agricola

(Originally published at ffwdweekly.com) The best online resource for the game-obsessed is easily BoardGameGeek.com, which uses two different rating systems to rank games: the average rating and the geek rating. That second one is almost always the lower of the two, and usually rewards games that are all about pure strategy — games where every decision … Continue reading

Avalon

Boxed Worlds: Avalon

(Originally published at ffwdweekly.com) Lying to your friends is surprisingly fun. Outside of a few explicitly co-operative exceptions, almost every game requires some sort of deception, whether it’s bluffing about your hand in a game of poker or misleading your opponents about your intentions in, well, anything else. But there’s something special about a game … Continue reading

Settlers

Boxed Worlds: The Obligatory Catan Column

(Originally published at ffwdweekly.com) So. For the sake of avoiding a clichéd introduction about how board games are back and better than ever, and those crazy kids and their vinyl records and suspenders, let’s assume you’re already curious about board games. Maybe you wanted to like them when you were a kid, but you got … Continue reading

band van

An open letter to Jason Kenney

This is the letter I just sent to the Hon. Jason Kenney, in response to the increase in fees for international touring artists in Canada. As that article makes clear, these changes are going to hit smaller Canadian venues hard. Before people call this an attack on the arts, though, remember–it’s more likely that they … Continue reading

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