Best Board Game Blogs of the Week: Majority Control–on cardboard, and in the marketplace

(A mid-week recap of the best blog posts from the last 7 days.)

Summer is over and the bloggers are back in a big way!


Jeux de langues (sorry, untranslatable pun)
Bruno Faidutti’s Blog, 9/5/14, by Bruno Faidutti

Bruno’s innate sense of humor shines through in this plea for a multilingual world. But only if you read it in the original French…

I write most of my game rules in English mostly for practical reasons, because the English language is lighter, more precise, more direct, more efficient for technical and informative texts like game rules. This is true even for a French designer like me, whose English is quite rough. Last year at the Essen fair, I remember a discussion between game designers from all the western world, whose conclusion was that writing rules is very easy in English, relatively easy in German, difficult in French and almost impossible in Italian.


El Grande & the Art of Majority Control
Mechanics & Meeples, 9/8/14, Shannon Applecline

El Grande is a landmark game that is sadly – and strangely – out of print.

El Grande (1995), by Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich, is one of the foundational games of the eurogame genre….

El Grande’s majority control also taught me the power of unfriendly ties. Because everyone loses points if they have the same number of cubes in a region, there’s an increased chance for mischief. Adding just one cube or subtracting one cube can often have bad results for multiple players. This allows for a lot of interesting tactical play.

One of my favorite games is Las Vegas which adopted El Grande’s ‘unfriendly tie’ mechanic.

How Not to Fail in the Gaming Industry
Rolling For Initiative (ICv2), 9/8/14, Scott Thorne

And now, for a different kind of majority control

In the wake of Wizards of the Coast pulling the plug on their Kaijudo card game. Scott reminds game publishers, as well as game designers, that you have to expect this kind of shakeout…

WotC, and a number of other companies, really need to listen to Al Ries, who pointed out years ago that there is generally only room for two brands in a particular category, and that “third place is no place.” In the trading card game category, there are currently two top brands, Magic: The Gathering and, depending on where you are, Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon. Anything else is third place.

Another great example of this is Barnes & Noble’s Nook, which is competing with Kindle & iPad. In fact, B&N is trying to unload the Nook to Target or Walmart or anyone else who doesn’t mind being in 3rd place.

All Games Teach
Playtesting, 9/8/14, Filip W.

Filip’s strength as a blogger is viewing games from both the designer’s and the player’s perspective.

I learned that imagination was more important than strength, that I could take a world I loved, a character I loved, a story I loved and run with it, play with it, win it my own way.

I learned to create. To take and to copy and steal and make games of my own. I learned that there was pleasure in opposition, that one could cry out in rage and be friends. I learned to cope.


(The above four blogs earn consideration for the BGA Blog of the Year Award. One point is awarded for inclusion, with an extra point given to the Post of the Week.)



Balancing Family Life and Gaming, pt 2: Gaming is Absolutely Fantabulous
League of Gamemakers, 9/3/14, by Luke & Odessa Laurie

It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.

By involving my kids, I’m making gaming and game design a rich part of our family life, not something that competes with my family for time and attention.

Luke’s daughter Odessa posts about her favorite games and why she loves gaming with her family.

Back to School Board Games
Board Game Family, 9/4/14, by Trent

A fine selection of games that can fit into a backpack and into a free period.

The Designer’s Eye: Twilight Struggle
Board Game Meta-Blog, 9/4/14, by Val Teixeira

A game designer looks at why TS is strong enough to sit atop the BGG rankings.

Don’t turn your back. Act!
Boardgames That Tell Stories, 9/8/14, by Ignacy Trzewiczek

Online bullying effects us all, and, in Ignacy’s case, board game designers who put their labors of love out into the cold harsh marketplace.

What is an “Ameritrash” game?
Clever Move, 9/9/14, by Matt M. Casey

Admit it: you aren’t really sure what Ameritrash means. Matt takes a good shot at defining it for you.

Market Mechanic Lecture: Auctions
Dr. Wictz Board Games, 9/5/14, by Aaron Honsowetz & Austin Smokowicz

Comparing and contrasting real time auctions with in-game auction mechanics.

Every Man Needs a Shed, 9/5/14, by Tony Boydell

Cryptic clues for game titles. A great diversion, lovingly prepared by one of the hobby’s great characters.

BTW, the answers are posted at Headscratchers – The Answers.

Which one of these many great posts did you enjoy most? Are there any blogs that I missed last week? Let me know in the Comments section!

You can always reach me at

  • 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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