Best Board Game Blogs of the Week, ft. Adding Fun in Your Gaming

(put back together by Drew Davidson)

A mid-week dump of the Fab Four blog posts of the last 7 days.


Gamification: Adding Fun,” by Yehuda Berlinger
Yehuda, June 8th

Gamification (aka, The Mary Poppins Method) is the process by which every day life is turned into a game. The leading proponents of Gamification are the Marketing Departments of shrewd corporations, who know that making a consumer feel like a Winner is one of the best ways to buy their loyalty.

Now, the first three articles in Yehuda’s Gamification series had too many words for my liking, so I only skimmed them. But the 4th post in his series made me read the whole thing, all because of a single word: Fun.

Unlike trying to explain why jokes are funny, explaining why games are fun is easy to do. Here are his six paths to Fun Nirvana: Socializing, Entertainment, Aesthetics, Recreation, Challenge and Humor. App developers and party game designers have thoroughly explored the first one. Steve Jackson is all over that last one.

About that 3rd one in the list: I was surprised at just how much Aesthetics factored into Fun. But I began thinking about how much fun my friends & I always have with craftily designed meeples (like with the new, improved Agricola).

Berlinger’s 6-point breakdown can point you in the right direction for Fun.

printer-146481_640Print and Play isn’t for the weak at heart”, by Lowell Kempf
A Gnome’s Ponderings, June 4th

I grew up as a pencil-and-paper gamer. I was familiar with the mimeograph and the copier, cranking out paper game boards by the dozens. But this new fangled computer thingie, and its henchman, The Internet, have complicated the creation of paper games.

And that isn’t the half of it, according to Lowell’s Kempf’s latest ponderings. He shows the reader just how much work it takes to build a decent-quality print-and-play game. Even if the designer makes all the plans available for free, there will still be quite an outlay for thick stock paper.

Yet Kempf still does it, and you might want to try one, too, after reading his post.

All of this might sound like I’m bashing PnP but I don’t mean to. If you are willing to take up crafting games as a secondary hobby, you got me beat. If you are any good at it, you got me beat twice.

As for me, I’m going to wait until I buy my first 3D printer…

gears (impossible gears J. Alves)Why do gamers paint their Tzolk’in Boards?” by Matt M. Casey
Clever Move, June 8th

Because of course.
The real question to ask is, How do they paint their boards?
Clever Move has pictures….

Some observations on Kids, Games and Cooperation,” by Filip W.
Playtesting (BGG), June 9, 2014

You know, it should have been obvious. Kids love cooperative games. Yet, why do we adults constantly steer them toward competitive games? Do we think they build character and sharpen analytical abilities.

Filip W.’s excellent game design blog at Board Game Geek takes a detour this week with some anecdotes about Filip’s own children. Sometimes the most helpful playtesters are right in your own family.

There’s a big difference in building co-op games for adults and building them for children. It all has to do with the Alpha (male or female, doesn’t matter), a sure game-stopper in an adult co-op. But kids – according to Filip W. – seem to need an Alpha leading them out of the wilderness.

Another big difference: adults play to win, kids play to not lose. That’s why co-ops are enthusiastically embraced by young’uns … no one gets singled out as The Loser.

See, my kids hate losing. They don’t really care about winning but they do not want to be singed out as being bad at something (i.e having lost). That’s an interesting aspect: for the adults that I play with winning is the goal but for my kids the goal is to play together and not hurt anyone’s feelings, or perhaps not getting their own feelings hurt.

Filip concludes with the notion that, for his kids, he’ll try adapting games to a co-op + Alpha format. Read his entire article here.

  • Drew is a contributor to the Board Gamers Anonymous podcast. He's a curator by nature, compulsively reading and obsessively organizing what he's read. He's also been a gamer since the age of 3, which means he's been playing board games for... let's just say more than 40 years, and leave it at that...

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