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That Final Dice Roll
        Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ve been playing for three hours, and the entire game comes down to just one die roll.  180 minutes of painstaking planning, careful negotiation and tactical response, and everyone is looking at the guy on your left, waiting for one throw of a couple of cubes to pick the winner and the loser.          And that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen.         To some extent I’ve withdrawn from the “what a game should be” debates that rage unabatedly on the Internet, mostly because I’ve found they’re just piles...
 
 
Cult of the Overrated
Last night some friends and I had a conversation over a board game, as is our tendency. The chitchat wandered over to games that for whatever reason we didn’t like much. Eventually this turned to my well-documented dislike for 7 Wonders. Most people at the table weren’t big fans of the game either, but none of them had quite the depth of my own antipathy. So for the sake of conversation, one of my friends began to offer up counterpoints to my complaints, just as a way to show me that it’s not as bad as all that. One...
 
 
People seem to like these lists. So here I am again with your yearly dose of statistical hype-mixture. I've actually made a table this year rather than my previous paragraph-based efforts, but there are still comments beneath noteworth games. Enjoy. A quick rundown of the rules for anyone new to the list. This is an average of the ratings given to games by people who've bough the "Ameritrash fan" microbadge on BGG. A game needs at least 30 ratings to be eligable. Games that have been in the top 25 for at least five years running are...
 
 
Training Wheels
Being the guy who reviews games means that I’m usually the guy teaching them. This was the case even before I started writing about games regularly, since I was one of the buyers among my friends. I would decide what I wanted to play, buy it if no one had it already, and then teach it to everyone else. Teaching is something that most gamers need to figure out, and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But lately I’ve grown weary of being the teacher. I’m not sure if it’s a function of too many games,...
 
 
Next of Ken, Volume 80:  You Say You Want a Resolution, Well, You Know
It's not secret my column has been very irregular over the past half of last year. There are a lot of reasons for that; at the start when I could see this was becoming an issue I apologized for it. I'd also hoped I could quickly correct the things holding me back and hop back in the saddle. Though that started off promisingly enough, I was soon enough not pumping out the material regularly.
 
 
The Best Games of 2013
Every end-of-the-year board game article I read makes a general assessment over the entire year, something I’ve never felt qualified to do. For starters, there are a lot of big releases that I still haven’t played. If I don’t get a review copy of something, I have to catch the wave of popularity every new release gets before my gaming friends have moved on. When that doesn’t happen, it becomes less likely that I’ll get around to something without trading for it. That’s why a couple of major releases like Pathfinder and Kemet passed by without comment from me....
 
 
Is the Age of Reprints Over?
I visited a friend of mine to play some games a couple of weeks ago, and as often happens we spent some time chatting about different games we enjoy. I commented on his copy of the Fantasy Flight edition of Dungeonquest, and he informed me that it’s now unavailable with no plans for a reprint. Scouring the BGG forums, I did see a rumor that it might come back in a new edition, closer to its classic incarnation without the new combat. That seems little more than speculation, however. As of right now, all we know is that a...
 
 
Trains and Stations Review
I've always loved interaction in games. I'd bet that most gamers do, really, it's just that those who've chosen to embrace the bloodless, over-balanced mechanical model that runs screaming as far from zero-sum games as it possibly can think that logic is more important than interaction. But there is, thankfully, an alternative. Instead of having players taking chunks out of each other, you can instead encourage them to co-operate for mutual gain. My suspicion is that this what Trains and Stations sets out to do for the light family gaming crowd. Clearly influenced by age-old classic...
 
 
Faidutti's Triple Play
One of my strongest influences in board gaming came from noted French designer Bruno Faidutti. Aside from his many designs over the past 15 years, at one point he maintained one of best board gaming sites on the internet, his Ideal Game Library. This was a valuable resource to me as a new gamer, because it showed me two very important things: that gaming had a rich and eclectic history, and that I did not need to like every popular game. Of course, Bruno is best known for his games, which are numerous and varied. I’ve gone all over...
 
 
Barnestorming- Why Waterdeep?, Attack Wing, Wonderful 101, Can
 Is this the most divisive game of our time?
 
 
 
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