Board Game Mechanics: The Space Alert Screensaver

Board game mechanics is a series which looks at some of the innovative mechanics in modern board games. These are simple rules which add unexpected dimensions to games, which elevate games and turns them into something special. They’re rules which cause you to wonder at the mind behind them. They’re usually simple and elegant and thematic and evocative. Often they’re very funny.

This week, Board Game Mechanics looks at the Space Alert screen saver. Welcome to the future: it’s rubbish.Read More »

Review: Ticket to Ride

John Lennon said that the ticket of Ticket to Ride was actually a card that granted 1960s Hamburg prostitutes a clean bill of health. Thankfully, Alan R. Moon’s board game, which shares a name with the Beatles song, takes Paul McCartney’s more literal interpretation as its inspiration. In other words, it’s definitely about trains. And thank goodness: Ticket to Ride is supposed to be a family game.Read More »

Skull

Review: Skull

Once upon a time, the story goes, biker gangs elected new leaders by stringing candidates to the backs of motorbikes and seeing who could hold on longest. But more liberal-minded biker gangs thought that stringing people to the backs of motorbikes was maybe a bit draconian. So they created Skulls & Roses, the humane and less-chafing alternative to biker gang leadership elections. Plus, you could drink while playing. Today, Skulls & Roses is called Skull, and it comes packaged in a small, portable, rectangular box with colourful cards. But it’s still the same game.

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Board Game Mechanics: Forest Plum

Board Game Mechanics is a Shady Baron feature which looks at some of modern gaming’s greatest mechanics. These are the rules that, when you explain them to a group, cause a collective gasp or burst of laughter. They’re the rules and mechanics which we believe, here at Shady Baron, encapsulate everything that’s great about modern games. They’re the rules that hook new and non-gamers, that show non-gamers that board games don’t have to be stuffy or complex or boring. In short, they’re the rules that can tip somebody from being a non-gamer into a gamer.

Generally, to feature here, a mechanic must be simple, elegant and thematic. So no complicated dice rolls and modifiers, no correlating charts and poring over statistics. Here, we’re talking about rules you implement in seconds but which add a wonderful and unexpected dimension to board games. Often they’re very funny.

This week we’re talking about Forest Plum, Dead of Winter’s resident Mall Santa.Read More »

Review: Love Letter

Political intrigue is afoot in the fantasy world of Tempest. The king has imprisoned the queen for treason, the princess has locked herself away in her grief and in her tower (metaphorically and literally, respectively) and the empire is having a not-so-great time. Into these turbulent times come 2-4 opportunistic suitors who, in order to ease the princess’s suffering (for which read “seduce the princess in her moment of weakness”), are all vying to get their love letters into the hands of the palace’s most influential denizens.Read More »