Board Game Manuals

Feature: Rules Explanations

Without doubt the worst bit of board games is the bit in which you have to explain the rules. If you’re like me you’re often gripped with terror at the thought of having to explain mechanical processes and make those processes sound fun to people who have agreed to put aside an evening to come play a game with you. To me, this is a huge responsibility; when people agree to put aside their pre-conceptions and give gaming a go I feel honoured. But I feel equally overwhelmed, overwhelmed with the fear that I might be about to waste somebody’s evening. It could be that the game is the wrong game, but equally it could be because of a stodgy rules explanation. Stodgy rules explanations have the power to destroy a game before it’s even played. They have the power to suck the energy out of a room. A bad rules explanation will make even the simplest game seem bewilderingly complex and impenetrable; it will make gaming feel like an elitist culture, one your non-gaming friends will feel very much outside of.Read More »

Review: Machi Koro Bright Lights Big City

“Mayor of Machi Koro” is an ambitious title. As you look over your solitary wheat field, over your lonely bakery and your optimistic city hall, you dream of airports and train stations and restaurants and cafés and airports. You dream of a moon tower. Yes, a fricking moon tower. Someday, you think, it will all be real. Someday my Machi Koro will be better than all the other Machi Koros.

Maybe you cackle a bit. Everybody round the table will look at you.Read More »

International Games Week

Part of the modern board game narrative is focused on the growing appeal of board games, on how more and more people are playing board games and on how board game sales are soaring year-on-year. Board game cafés get a lot of the attention, and rightly so: in the past few years board game cafés have sprung up everywhere and are thriving. We talk so much about the social appeal of modern board games it makes sense that people are talking about board game cafés.Read More »

Monthly Round-Up: June 2017

Andrew: June has been a slow month for the Baron. I’ve been on holiday, mercifully free from the Internet and from current UK politics, parboiling in the sort of heat that rarely visits the North-East of England. 35 degrees?? What’s wrong with you, France?? And with holidays out of the way, the rest of the month has been full of studying; assignment deadlines are, if not looming, then certainly lurking just beyond the horizon. As a result, the blog hasn’t been updated since last month’s update. We’ll try to keep reviews and features coming when we can, but at the moment we have other priorities that need our attention. Please bear with us.Read More »

Monthly Round-Up: May 2017

Here at Shady Baron, we’re still fairly new at this board gaming stuff. In fact, one of the reasons we started this site was to share with people the joys of board gaming that we’re only just discovering for ourselves.

We’re starting a new monthly feature, not to keep you up-to-date with all the trends and releases in gaming, but to keep you up-to-date with our own journey. We want to share with you the games we’ve been playing and discovering: games we might not have the time to review or don’t think are worthy of reviews; maybe even games we think it’s worth being on your radar until such time as we can get a full review out.Read More »

Review: Cat Tower

As a cat lover there’s nothing I enjoy better than stacking my 42 cats. Sometimes I stack them in a really tall tower, which is good. Sometimes they fall over, and then you just have cats all over the place. Sometimes I stack some of the cats upside down, just because I want to. Some of my cats are really fat and lazy, and stacking them leads to all manner of unforeseen consequences. But as every cat lover knows, cats are notoriously resistant to being stacked, which makes cat stacking a difficult and time-consuming exercise.

Fortunately, I can now indulge my love of cat stacking with IDW’s Cat Tower.Read More »

Review: Colt Express

Do you remember that scene in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, when Clint Eastwood hops a train and starts stealing loot from the passengers? And then Lee van Cleef punches him in the face and Clint flies into another carriage where a marshall is waiting; and the marshall shoots Clint, so Clint escapes out the window and onto the roof. But then he forgets what he was doing so he climbs back into the carriage and gets shot by the marshall again, so Clint has to climb back out the window and back onto the roof. And then he pulls out his gun to shoot somebody except there’s nobody there so he puts his gun away. But then Eli Wallach climbs out of the carriage and punches Clint so hard that Clint flies onto the roof of the next carriage and drops the loot he was carrying.

You remember that, right?
Read More »