Hump Day Dump is a mid-week recap of the best blog posts from the last 7 days.
And I’m late again, a lot later this time! … I’m actually spending a lot of time preparing to launch a new podcast for Board Gamers Anonymous. Yeah, that’s a good thing, but not if it’s throwing off my blogging schedule. I’ll get a handle on it, I promise!
I’m still taking time to read all the great blog posts out there. It’s about time I share them with you…
Let’s count down the Four Fab posts of the week!
4. A Book That Tells Stories (Thematic Solutions for the Spare Time Challenged)
3. Eurogames Reclamation Project #3: Bohnanza (No High Score)
2. Now That’s a Rules Lawyer! The Curious Case of a Copycat Card Game (Geek Dad)
AND AT THE TOP OF THE CHARTS…
Un Chien Andalou, August 21, by Mike Fogus
Mike is always looking to share his passion with new players. But he was surprised to find that those close to him had quite a bit of experience and skill at tabletop gaming.
One of the joys of my gaming life has been in discovering gamers who I never knew were gamers. … That is, it’s always a pleasant surprise when they reveal: ‘I played Hearts religiously as a child’, ‘we have regular Catan nights’, ‘I won a local Poker tournament’, ‘just picked up Pandemic on a whim’, ‘we love Fluxx’, etc.
While this circumstance is always a pleasure, it’s even more so when I learn that the people whom I live with are also gamers.
WELL WORTH YOUR TIME…
Now That’s a Rules Lawyer! The Curious Case of a Copycat Card Game
Geek Dad, August 26, by Jonathan H. Liu
Jonathan witnessed upclose China’s booming copyright-busting machine. He uses the popular game Bang! as an example of how China takes a Western product, throws a thin veneer of the Far East, then tries to peddle it back to the Western market.
The problem with Legends of the Three Kingdoms, at least in its initial form, is that it wasn’t just taking a core mechanic from Bang! and applying it in a different way. It was, in fact, lifting almost the entire game wholesale and copying it, with a new theme. That seems less defensible to me—if not according to copyright law, then at least according to Wheaton’s Law.
Jonathan’s paraphrase of that “law”…
Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s cool.
The problem is, copyright law is far weaker than trademark law. Gucci knockoffs can be cleared off the streets, but a product that’s been given a new name before reproducing is harder to fight. You may want to think twice about buying anything designed by “KayaK” or distributed by Ziko Games.
Eurogames Reclamation Project #3: Bohnanza
No High Score, August 21, by Michael Barnes
One of the first of the modern Eurogames, Bohnanza introduced a brilliantly simple mechanic to American players which forced them to play the cards in the same order in which they were dealt.
Well, that’s also true of the card game War, but in Bohnanza you actually look at the cards and base your decisions on what’s coming up in your hand.
Uwe Rosenberg’s most notable contribution to the world of German-style game design until he started cranking out complicated resource management games like Agricola and Le Havre. Unfortunately, his more recent designs have completely shunned this game’s brilliant simplicity, pitched interaction and sharp focus on a core trading mechanic in favor of mostly solitaire exchanges…. There’s no heads-down staring at player boards and puzzling over how to make one resource turn into another here, it’s all about planting beans, cashing out fields, and begging somebody to take that Soybean you don’t want.
Thematic Solutions for the Spare Time Challenged, August 25, by Morten Monrad Pedersen
You don’t see many book reviews in the tabletop wing of the blogosphere. In this case, the book being reviewed is by Ignacy Trzewiczek, the designer of the newly released Imperial Settlers as well as Robinson Crusoe and 51st State.
To Morten, reading Ignacy’s book is like a conversation with the author…
Considering the fact that you’ve been talking about games for hours with one of the best game designers of our day, you don’t feel much wiser about how to actually design a game yourself, but you’ve laughed, you’ve felt his frustration at being stumped by a design issue, you’ve shared his elation, and felt his passion for making board games that tell stories.
(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.)
AND IF YOU HAVE A FEW SPARE MINUTES…
11 of the Cutest Kids From GenCon 2014
Clever Move, August 22, by Matt M. Casey
Carrie bakes me a Takenoko cake!
A Gnome’s Ponderings, August 26, by Lowell Kempf
Which one of these posts did you enjoy? Are there any blogs that I missed last week? Let me know in the Comments section!