Hump Day Dump: Gaming in Kazakhstan & The Grand Unified Theory

The best writers in tabletop gaming continue to stay indoors and post a lot of thoughtful reading.

Here are 4 fab blog posts from the past week, ranked in order of what I liked…

1. The Gift Economy (Stonemaier Games)
2. Gaming in Kazakhstan, part 2 (Gamerati)
3. 5 Board Games That Were Ahead of Their Times (Clever Move)
4. Towards a Grand Unified Theory of Boardgamery (Big Game Theory)


The Gift Economy, Jamey Stegmaier
Stonemaier Games, July 15

Inspired by The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde. Jamey applies this economic theory to the Kickstarter economy. The point of the book is that a gift creates a debt. And it’s this debt that builds a relationship.

As Jamey concludes, the large number of gifters that contribute to a Kickstarter project builds a community centered around the project creator. In this case, that would be Stonemaier Games, with their Treasure Chest of game accessories.

The post aims to help KS creators appreciate the important relationship they’ve built with their investors.


Gaming in Kazakhstan, Part 2, Chris Rogers
Gamerati, July 15

Not just a discussion of gaming in an obscure part of the world, but also how to take advantage of gaming while traveling anywhere.

I took a trip to Iceland last December and found two opportunities to game, once in a remote & storm-bound hostel, and a 2nd time with a group in Reykjavik that I met on Board Game Geek.

Don’t ever travel without games!

5 Board Games That Were Ahead of Their Times, by Matt M. Casey
Clever Move, July 14

Matt provides some great background on games that didn’t get much love the first time around.

…All right, I’ll tell you two of them: Diplomacy and Acquire.

Towards a Grand Unified Theory of Boardgamery, by Oliver Kiley
Big Game Theory, July 15

It’s not just his research into board game classification, but the links he provides to great research by others, especially Mark Major, of The League of Game Makers.

What I took from it, though, was the inspiration he provided to game reviewers in the final paragraphs.

Oliver’s theory

can … provide a useful approach and nomenclature for the critical analysis of games, and in giving game criticism in a more understood language to utilize. So many reviews of games tend to skip across the surface, touching on the 4 main elements (who, what, how, and why)…. Not many reviews get into … the net experience realm.

I would have loved to have made this Post of the Week, but there’s just way too much information to digest in one read-through.


The Eurogames Reclamation Project #1 – Adel Verpflichtet, by Michael Barnes
No High Scores, July 10

Scores points for a spine-shaking first sentence: “Kickstarter’s sewage flow of dungeon-crawling-steampunk-space-marine-versus-Nazi-Cthulhu-zombies continues to beg money out of the hobby…” Commenters have joked about being the first in line to buy that game.

And it loses points for that needless hyperbole. I mean, everyone who’s been following KS closely over the past couple years knows that the quality of offerings is declining as the number of projects is increasing. (See Matt M. Casey’s great post.)

The point of Michael’s screed is to turn our attention away from the “Cult of the New” and show some respect for the groundbreaking German games of the 1990s. This first installment in his series explores a long-forgotten set collection game with a rock-paper-scissors mechanic that’s more familiar to us today by its 2004 edition name, Hoity Toity.

Dominion Randomizer Beta, by Derek
IHeartPrintAndPlay, July 12

Great little app to make choosing Dominion decks much easier!.

Conwy Twitty, by Tony Boydell
Every Man Needs a Shed, July 14

Few people write a session report like Tony. This time around the game is Dominant Species.

Why board games kick arse, part 2, Mike Poole
The Board Game Shed, July 15

Mechanics, of course. A lot of this may seem self-evident to experienced gamers, but it’s a great primer for the casual gamer.

Game Design Analysis – Terra Mystica, Matt Pavlovich
Games Precipice, July 15

Quite long, but if you like the game, then it’s an easy read. I’ve never played it, but Matt’s analysis has me salivating…

Which was your favorite post of the week? Did I forget to include it here? Tell us in the Comments section and we’ll compare notes!

  • 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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