Eldritch Horror: More melodrama without Arkham’s confusion

I’ve seen the world end about a half-dozen ways now. Sea creatures storming every port town from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Zombie hordes ravaging eastern Europe. Riots in London as a nihilistic cult races to summon its deranged god, a chaotic, semi-sentient horror that will bring only utter annihilation. Each time, we thought we … Continue reading

Three simple rules for an easy introduction to board gaming

Despite a couple of great new-ish games that I’m itching to talk about (Eldritch Horror! Pathfinder Adventure Card Game!), this month’s column will take a slightly different tack. Games are, obviously enough, a really important part of a good game night. But there’s another element that, while occasionally unpleasant enough to have been equated with … Continue reading

Time to pledge for Allegiance

Two mighty warriors take to the fields of battle. Though they arrive alone, each is possessed of powerful magic. What starts as single combat soon becomes a clash of armies as the rivals summon their own minions, from foot soldiers to legendary beasts. The casualties rise. One hero falls. The other starts reshuffling the decks. … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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