So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Game That “Settles” In, Never To Leave - Yeah!

Promotional image from Mayfair Games
One of the great family games of all time has to be Settlers of Catan.  Not only did it win the Spiel des Jahres in 1995, but it is the game that really brought German style games to the American market.  It has broken ground again in being one of the first German styles games to move into the mass market; Settlers is available at Target stores.

In Settlers, players are on a resource rich island, attempting to build their colony the fastest.  Players collect resources (wood, sheep, wheat, ore or brick) based upon the location of settlements they own, and then use those resources to build more settlements, roads which connect them, or upgrade the settlements to cities.  These, in turn, produce more resources.  Cities and settlements count towards victory points (as do a few other things), and the first player to ten victory points wins.  Negotiation is a big part of the game, since the trading of resources is allowed.  These negotiations are full of worries about helping the other players more than yourself, particularly if you are negotiating with the point leader.

A game being played with a Third Edition copy. (Image by Mikko Saari)
 The first reason this is such a great game is how reachable it is.  With some help, a child down to about age eight could play this.  After a time or two they could play on their own, though they won’t play particularly well.  Once the boy or girl hits double digits, however, this game will take off.  I have successfully taught this game to a lot of people.  Keep in mind, it isn’t the first game I teach people, unless they have had some prior gaming experience.  It is a greatsecond game.  I can’t stress that enough.  This game is a classic.

The second reason this is such a great game is that it has both dice and cards in it.  Most people are used to the idea of cards and dice in a game, but not necessarily together, and not used in this way.  These are not “roll-and-move” dice.  We are not thinking “draw a card, play a card”.  Dice are used to generate resources, and the resources are represented by cards.  This is a great game to break those notions of how dice and cards are used, and lay some groundwork for other games that use traditional game elements in non-traditional ways.

This game also has a modular board, which is a concept that is also life-altering when you first see it.  The “board” is made up of hexagons which are shuffled and set out, so the board configuration is always changing.  This means that your strategy and tactics need tweaking with every play, and Settlers stays fresh longer than many other games.

This game has some serious fans! (Image by Matthew M Monin)
Lastly, this game is fun.  I have played it somewhere around 25 times.  It’s not often the first game I pull out, but that’s mainly because I tend to play new games as often as I can.  It comes out every few months, and we enjoy it immensely.  In fact, most of our “Do you remember the time…” gaming moments come from Settlers games.

Settlers of Catan is a available at many game stores and online.  In my neck of the woods, it is also at Target and a Barnes and Nobles.  I highly recommend this game for your collection if you don’t have it already.  This game is a “must-have”.

Risk (Revised)
                Ages:                    8 and up
                Time:                     90 minutes
                Players:                 3-4

Related posts:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

I have to apologize for only posting once this week. Work continues to be berry hectic; it's that time of year on my line of work.  I would have prepared for it my writing ahead last weekend, but we had guests in from out of town. Plus, it was the monthly session of our gaming group, and if I am going to choose between writing about games and playing games, playing will win every time.

Things ease up once the month is over.  I will write some this week, but thanks for your patience as things are a little thin.

In the meantime, play one for me.

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reviewed by Another Gamer -- Board Game Reviews by Josh: Abalone Review

This past winter I mentioned that Abalone was played on a Scout outing. I didn't give it a full review, but overall I think it's a good 2-player game. It is very easy to learn and play, even for kids down to about seven years old.

Josh Edwards is a well respected reviewer on the web, here is his review:

Board Game Reviews by Josh: Abalone Review

It's Your Move!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Games of Grief: How many players does this support?

Most of us have been caught in a game that we cannot win, cannot end, and cannot leave.  It’s the Triangle of Torment, and it’s too late!  Sometimes, we can avoid this because we know the game lends itself to this particular type of torture. Risk and Monopoly are the best known perpetrators, but there are far more.  At other times, it happens because a game is outside its “sweet spot”.  This is the number of players the game reallysupports, really produces a great experience, not what is on the box.  Sure, you can play Monopoly with six, but do you really want to?  Every game is lengthened by adding players.  At a minimum, more decisions are being made, and that will slow things down.  Yet, some games are relatively unaffected by the number of players.  They scale well.  This post will identify some of the signs of a game stretched too thin, or a game that can tolerate a wider range in the number of players. 

Rule 1:  If the number of players supported has a wide range, the game probably doesn’t play well at the upper limit.  The most obvious hint for how many players can play a game is the number of players listed on the box.  That’s useful information, just not perfect.  Generally, a game cannot be stretched past the top number of players due to the components included.  The number of pawns, player mats or something other piece is the limiting factor.  If someone wants to play Scrabble with five, there aren’t enough tile racks.  It would probably be a good idea to politely say “no”.  After all, there is a reason the game says 2-4 players.  Beyond that, many games are not great when played at the upper limit of their player count.  If the box says it plays 2-6 players, there is a pretty good chance it isn’t very good at six players.  This is particularly true when the spread of players supported is four or more.  Games where the spread is one are generally safe; Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries says 2-3 players, and that’s accurate.

Rule 2:  Sometimes a game has a number of rolesthat define the best number of players.  War of the Ring is a 2-4 player game where victory is achieved by good overcoming evil or vice versa.  There are two sides: good and evil.  Only two people need play.  In fact, unless you like the role of Igor, it is going to be a bad game with more than two.  This is true in so many games, which can be generalized this way: don’t count the number of players, count the number of roles.  Most historical wargames have two sides: North vs. South, Axis vs. Allies,  Romans vs. Carthaginians.  An exception is Diplomacy, which, like Risk, has multiple roles.  This is exactly the reason why Axis and Allies is great with two or five, but not with three or four.  The game is either played with two roles (Axis / Allies), or five roles (Germany / Japan / United States / Soviet Union / Great Britain).

Rule 3:  The conditions that determine the end of the game indicate how additional players impact the play.  Many end game conditions are actually similarly structured, with a few defining characteristics.  The first thing to look for is whether or not the game uses a common pool of resources that directly impact the endgame, or if resources are separate or immaterial to the end game.  Take Scrabblefor instance.  The game essentially ends when the 100 tiles run out, plus a turn or two.  It is a common pool of tiles, so whether two people or four people are playing, they have to play 100 tiles.  Game length doesn’t overly suffer.  In Pandemic, there are three ways to lose: run out of disease cubes in any one of the four colors, run out of player cards, or have too many outbreaks.  The number of each is fixed, regardless of the number of players.  The game will end in roughly the same period of time – sooner if you manage a win!   On the other hand, resources have nothing to do with the end game in Monopoly or Risk, they are essentially infinite, and therefore more players will definitely increase the game length.

Rule 4:  How much confrontation a game has, along with how it is structured, have a big impact on game length with respect to the number of players.  Non-cooperative games without confrontation tend to last longer in direct proportion to the number of players involved.  If each person is trying to get to ten points, and the score of an average loser is 8, then a game with an extra player will have 8 extra points scored – more time.  If there is confrontation, the next question is does the game play with replacement or without replacement.  If I am playing a game where my ninja heals if not killed, then each attack, no matter how many players, has to kill me from full strength. (This game could go on forever!)  However, if there is no replacement, each attack weakens me, regardless of the source of the attack.  If I am playing 4-way chess, with the goal of eliminating everyone else, there are more pieces playing, but Player A taking a rook benefits Players B and C just as much, and the damage is cumulative.  The game is less impacted by the number of players.

Armed with this, you can avoid that never-ending game – you will see it coming.  Maybe you can redirect to a game that is better suited to the number of people sitting around.  After all,

It’s Your Move!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Third Sunday Gaming - Notes from the Weekend

A few things of interest this weekend:

First of all, we played the revised edition of Risk this weekend, and really enjoyed it.  The game lasted just over 90 minutes with four of us, and no one was out of the running.  Two players had a good shot at winning until the game ended.  Like most of the times I have played this game, the game was about opportunistic play, and it ended somewhat abruptly.  That's not a bad thing, just one of the differences from classic Risk.

We played Bang! also, which was new to the group.  This is a game that needs to be played a few more times to get a feel for it, but it certainly is a family style game.

My son and I were out and about after football practice Saturday, and stopped by the newly minted game store in our area:  Epic Loot Games (website below).  In my opinion, they had a nice selection of games which was very current; there were no stinkers that I saw.  The owners are boardgamers, which is not true of every store in our area, so they are a little more in touch with our world.  They are also they only game store in town that even knows what BoardGameGeek is!  It's more of a drive for us, but it's now my go-to game store.  Check it out!

We bought The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game there.  We then arrived home to find the box with Midgard and Phoenicia had arrived; these are two games I won off eBay for $10 plus $11 shipping.  It was listed at that price, and I threw in a bid on a lark.  Apparently I was the only bidder.  With those and Memoir '44 showing up on the doorstep as part of a game trade, I had a busy week with games!

It's Your Move!

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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Gambit – Is Chess Good for Schools?

Okay, if you have been reading my blog, or even just read the title block, you know where I am going to come down on this.  I teach chess in my son’s grade school.  Nonetheless, there are issues with teaching chess in schools:  promoting an elitist attitude, scaring kids off, and finding adults to help!  At the same time, there are alternative games that encourage some of the same thought processes. 

First of all, chess can be elitist.  There will be kids who join to prove they are smarter than everyone else.  Worse, there are parents who push their children into chess to prove to the world that their kid (and by extension, the parent) is smarter than everyone else.  I have been to conferences for gifted children where chess clubs were promoted specifically for gifted children, and I have mixed emotions about it.  Chess is a great way to provide more challenge to gifted child.  It doesn’t focus too much on one academic area, and doesn’t feel like “school work”.  Lastly, because chess is “the game of kings”, there are behavioral expectations that go with the game, including playing quietly and with self-control and good sportsmanship.  I worry about gifted children growing up to be “egg-heads” and lacking the softer, interpersonal skills that are so necessary for success at work and in relationships.*  I don’t want to see chess become the exclusive territory of the gifted, however.  “Normal” kids need fun mental challenges that help nurture the thinking processes and teach personal skills too.

Yet, so often (and maybe because of those gifted programs) those “normal” kids are scared by chess, feeling if they are not “smart enough” to play the game.  I frequently hear adults say this very thing; we should expect their kids to feel the same way.  This just isn’t the case.  Anyone can learn the game.  The child, or adult for that matter, may never be the next Bobby Fischer or Judit Polgár, but can love the game and get something out of it nonetheless.  I am a great example of this; I love chess and yet, with a rating in the low 1400’s, I am only a class C player.  I read chess books when I have the time, but honestly I don’t expect to even break into the B class at 1600.  Having fun is far more important than winning or even being a great player.  (Otherwise I wouldn’t game at all!)

Lastly, finding the adults who want to participate is difficult.  In the public school system for Columbus, OH, there has been an employee specifically hired by the district to provide those schools with a chess program.  That is by far the exception to the rule, and that completely leaves out private schools and small districts.  It’s sometimes tough to find adults to teach the gifted kids.  Finding someone to deal with the rest of the school population can be nearly impossible.

Nine Men's Morris - Promo image at Amazon
If chess proves to be too much of a problem, what can be done?  Don’t give up; start a gaming club instead.  There are plenty of classic, quick and relatively inexpensive games that are suited to teaching problem solving skills and sportsmanship.  A short list of abstract games would include Reversi(Othello), Mancala, Backgammon and Nine Men’s Morris.  These games do not need a teacher/coach who is familiar with the game.  The rules are more simple and straightforward and the strategy not as deep as chess.  

There actually are some advantages over a chess club with this approach.  First of all, younger kids can be included with games like checkers.  There are a lot of games that are variants on checkers, both more and less difficult.  As the kids get older, they could be introduced to pool checkers, which someday I would like to learn.  Furthermore, the list isn’t limited to just abstracts.  My wife has had great success playing 20 Questions for Kids as a team game with the after school program.  There are teachers running gaming clubs at schools who are playing some of the other types of games I discuss in this blog.

Games are so important to intellectual and social development that I think all kids should learn to play them.  If your school doesn’t have a chess program, consider a gaming program.  If there isn’t someone to start it, why not you?  If none of that is available, at least play at home.  If you keep playing and reading, I promise to keep writing!

It’s Your Move!

Related Posts:

Related Links:
Othello – Board Game Geek entry
Mancala – Board Game Geek entry
Nine Men’s Morris – Board Game Geek entry
Backgammon– Board Game Geek entry
20 Questions for Kids – Board Game Geek entry
Judit Polgár – Wikipedia entry
Bobby Fischer – Wikipedia entry

* A few years ago, it was suggested to my wife and me that our son might be gifted.  I am not sure how that actually is measured, but I do know that he is a straight-A student.  Our concern isn’t that he is provided an advanced curriculum to further advance his intellect, though that would be nice.  Our main concern is that he learns empathy, compassion, teamwork and leadership, growing up to be a productive citizen and a faith-filled man.  That’s our job as a parent.  In my engineering career, I have met lots of incredibly smart people who couldn’t lead hungry Boy Scouts to lunch, and can never see when someone is hurting.  That’s not who we are raising Daniel to be.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Growing and Maintaining an Ideally Sized Game Collection | The Opinionated Gamers

This is an interesting post about growing and maintaining the size of your collection on the Opinionated Gamers website. My limiting factor is space; I don't think I will have room for anything over 250 games...

Growing and Maintaining an Ideally Sized Game Collection | The Opinionated Gamers

It's Your Move!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Better Selection at Barnes and Noble

I stopped in Barnes and Noble by work the other day and was impressed with the fact that their game selection is getting better.  On the shelf was a lot of the usual suspects, but also Dominion, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, Qwirkle and some other very good games.  They may be worth a stop if you are looking for a game to buy!

It's Your Move!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mass Market Mêlée – Risk: Revised Edition

Most of my friends and acquaintances have two games they consistently know, and one of them is Risk.  This is the Epic Game for most of them; the game that produced most of the fond (or not!) memories.  I have to admit that I really like Risk, and I am glad to have played it.  Past tense.

Photo by Leo Zappa
A few years ago, Hasbro floated a small print run game to the gaming community:  Risk: Black Ops.  It was a very hot item, and it is said it was really a marketing study for the revised rules they were considering for a revision to Riskitself.  Regardless, the rules from Black Ops were incorporated into the rules for the 2008 edition of Risk.  This has taken a game I have always enjoyed but was too long for most evenings to a new level: a new game I will play anytime! The new rules introduced cities and capitals.  The overwhelming power of the cards was reduced.  Lastly, objectives were introduced, which now define the game end and winning condition.   I am going to take the liberty of assuming you know how the original game worked.

Cities and capitals change the count for armies at the beginning of the turn.  Cities are placed on the board randomly at the beginning of the game, and each player places his or her capital in a territory they control at the beginning of the game.  Rather than just count countries at the beginning of their turn, players count countries and cities, then divide by three to get newly recruited armies.  Another army is added if the player still controls their own capital.  Armies are still gained for controlling continents.

Cities and capitals go on the board at the start; some of the bonuses from objective go on too. (Photo by Liang Roo Wang)

Gone are the massive armies generated by turning in cards.  Cards have one or two stars on them, and the number of stars turned in determines the number of armies received.  Any number of cards can be turned in, totaling a maximum of ten stars.  However, you won’t want to hold onto your cards that long!

Objectives are the biggest change by far.  They give the cities and capitals even more importance, as they shape the endgame and victory conditions.  At the beginning of the game, eight objectives are placed on the map.  These objectives may include taking over an opponent’s capital, controlling a certain number of cities, conquering an entire continent in one turn, or some other goal.  This is the biggest change to the game, because the first person to achieve three objectives wins!  Forget about wiping people off the board!

The combination of these changes results in a game that is very familiar yet far more fun.  The combat dice rolling is still there, as well as most of the major elements.  However, this game now plays in 90 minutes, and after many plays I have never seen a player eliminated!  Never again will people be sitting around for hours to find out the winner of the game they were eliminated from hours ago!

Strategically, there are important differences.  First of all, there is “turtling” in Australia or South America: building up a massive horde to OVERRUN THE WORLD IN STEEL AND BLOOD!  Mwahaha! – er, um, yeah.  No, if you are building up a massive army, you are losing time to those who are skirmishing and raiding to take those objectives (some of which give a combat bonus).  You will lose.  The name of this game is opportunism.  It is probably a little less strategic and a little more tactical than the original, but it is much more fun!

For the family gamer, the new Risk  is excellent for age eight and above.  The only issue with children is the emotional one; some kids are just not ready for Mommy or Daddy to grind them down and seize their cities and capitals.  Tears may be the result.  However, children approaching 9 or 10 could easily grasp the rules.  Given that most people could be given a three minutes explanation of the rule changes, and would know the rest, I believe this game is a must have for the casual gamer.  It will easily bring back those epic games of the past.

One additional note:  This is the same game as Risk: Onyx Edition.  However, the line between Iceland and Greenland is missing in the Onyx version.  This is a misprint: the line is supposed to be there.
Vital Statistics:

Risk (Revised)
                Ages:                    10 and up
                Time:                     90 minutes
                Players:                 3-5

It’s Your Move!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Never Underestimate the Awesomeness Factor

I learned something this weekend about the need for Awesomeness; it is still incredibly important to my 13 year old boy.  It may very well be the difference between giving a game a chance or not.

 Battle Cry and it's great visual appeal - Awesomeness! (Photo by Joe Keller)

We have been playing Battle Cry, a game with a modular board that lets players set up various battles from the American Civil War.  The game has various miniature plastic pieces which represent infantry, cavalry, artillery and leaders. The play is very quick and very fun, but a little light (at least as far as wargames go).  Daniel loves it when we play, and I thought another Civil War game with a little more depth and complexity might work well. I asked, and he looked over the titles of my other Civil War games and picked one.

Friday night I was in front of the TV with the family punching out the little cardboard squares that represent units, leaders, political influence and game markers and bagging them as I do.

For the People has more interesting game play, but isn't as cool (Nick Avtges)

My son says, "Dad, are those the pieces to the game?"

"Yes Daniel, though it's not just the units.  This game also incorporates the events and politics of the war, so there are markers for those, too."

"Oh.  Dad, it looks kind of, well, boring."

"Is that because it doesn't have miniatures?"

 "Um, yeah.  I am more interested in a game that has something that at least stands up and looks like the soldiers."

Oh well, I guess I will see if I can trade my copy of Combat Commander: Europe for Memoir '44 , which is in the same game series as Battle Cry.  That way WWII is still a possibility...

It's Your Move!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Making Your Games Bloom – Floral Stones

At times, ramping up the Awesomeness Factor on a game can get expensive.  Let’s face it; a custom made dice tower isn’t going to be cheap.  If the miniatures in the game aren’t pre-painted, and you can’t paint them yourself you just might as well give up on that upgrade.  There is an inexpensive alternative that can add some flair: floral stones.  And, should someone just happen to have a craft table (or a fish bowl) in the house, a few of these might be “liberated” for a greater purpose – gaming!  Here are a few ways to use them, in increasing order of Awesomeness: scoring, game copies, and replacing parts in existing games.

Using stones for scoring is probably the easiest and most common use.  Qwirkle comes with scoring rules that require a piece of paper and pencil to keep track of in the same way Scrabble is scored.  We printed out a scoring track from BoardGameGeek (BGG), and viola! – instant Awesomeness.  The best part about this is that scoring is always open information for everyone to see.  Ivanhoe is another game I own that I use stones for scoring.  This is a card game where the object of the game is to win several different fighting tournaments out of the number played, such as jousting.  Which tournaments a player has won is tracked by the player keeping different color tokens for each tournament type.  The tokens that come with the game are little poker chips that are, well, not impressive.  Different color stones serve the same purpose, have some weight, and just look better.

Creating a copy of a game is another use.  Before you get upset, I am talking about copies of public domain games.  Games like Brandubh, Nine Man’s Morris, Mancala and Senet are all ancient games that could easily be produced using floral stones.  (Stones were the original pawns.)  Rules can be found on the internet and boards for these games could be anything, including drawn on a piece of paper (though that does severely hurt the Awesomeness Factor).

Replacing tokens in already awesome games is another way to use them.  My favorite example is the fantasy game Runebound, which has heavy cardboard markers on the board.  These represent places “where there be dragons” – literally if they are red in color.  These markers are called “jewels”, but they really don’t look like much.  Now, replace these with translucent floral stones of the appropriate color, and the board is transformed!  The Awesomeness Factor goes way up.  Now I just have to find the time, and courage, to paint the figurines and my copy will peg the meter on Awesomeness!

Floral stones in Runebound (image by Richard Johnson)
Did you ever imagine that something so mundane could be so cool!  Go down to your closest craft table store and pick some up.  You can often find them on sale and in large bags with a mix of colors.  If you figure out some other uses, let me know!

It’s Your Move

Related Posts:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Expending My Thoughts About Expanding My Games…

Image by Antony Hemme
Last week I mentioned punching out the expansions to Zooloretto.  Expansions are crazy things.  Some games will have a million of them; some will have none.  Some expansions are specifically geared to up the number of players involved.  Some tweak the rules to add variety or another layer of strategy.  Some tweak the rules to fix a problem that was discovered after release.  Personally, I have mixed emotions about expansions, and I will tell you the good and bad.

First of all, what is an expansion, and how do they come to be?  An expansion is a set of rules packaged with some new playing pieces, designed to change up the original (base) game.  Typically, expansions require the base game to play it.  They are not stand-alone games.  Games that often have expansions are very popular games:  games which sell a lot of copies.  Lately, a game winning the Spiel des Jahres is almost a guarantee expansions will be produced, though this year’s winner, Qwirkle, might be difficult to expand.  Expansions make good business sense for the publisher, since it capitalizes on a line that people already know and like.

Carcassonne has LOTS of expansions! (Image by Big Woo)
There are a few, very good reasons to specifically buy an expansion.  The biggest reason I mentioned last week:  to change up a game that is played very often.   Around our house a game will see a lot of table time because they are easier to teach and have wide appeal (Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Zooloretto).  When family and friends who only play casually have come to call, these games tend to be played.  A good expansion will add more strategic depth with a minimum of rule changes, and so can be incorporated as soon as your guests say “Let’s go again!”  For the game owner, this keeps the game fresh.  Another good reason to buy an expansion is in those few instances when a game needs a rule “fix”.  While games are play-tested by the designer and again by the publisher, every once in a while a problem surfaces only after the general public has played it repeatedly.  Sometimes, a dominant strategy immerges.  It may there is a turn-order advantage that is overwhelming, or some set of random circumstances that typically determines the winner.  Those can be fixed in an expansion.

What I most dislike about expansions is the cost.  Often, the expansion to a game will be 2/3’s the cost of the base game.  For that expense, I would rather put the money towards a whole new game and get a brand new gaming experience out of it.  I would probably feel more this way if I had a small collection. At well over 200 games, having a couple of expansions isn’t a big deal.

After all of that, which for which games do I have expansions, and why?  Here is a short list:
Image by Dean
  • Carcassonne:  I have several expansions to this, and there are a truckload, but the only one I really need is Inns and CathedralsThis gives me some variation in play, which is great because it is the game I have played the most (other than chess).
  • Zooloretto:  I haven’t played this one much, but I anticipate it will be played in much the same way (and frequency!) as Carcassonne.  I need to teach it to the family first.
  • Ticket to Ride:  We also have several different (stand-alone) versions of this game.  Again, the expansions, like 1910, add variety.  These are my son’s (Daniel’s) games, and he loves expansions, which is the primary reason we have these.
  • Dominion:  This game has a stand-alone game that can be mixed with it (Dominion: Intrigue), making it a kind of hybrid.  Dominion is my son’s; I bought Dominion: Intrigue so I have a copy after he eventually goes away to college.
  • Settlers of Catan:  Again, this is Daniel’s game.  The expansion we have for it is designed to increase the number of players from four to six.  A couple of years ago, I thought this was a great idea.  Now I would say that most expansions that increase the number of players just make the game too long.  I personally would not buy this one.
  • Runebound:  I bought some new adventure decks for this fantasy game, which change the challenges and the end game.  They cost less than $10 USD, so I really couldn’t go wrong.
  • Battleground Fantasy Warfare:   This game is not really a family game.  If you have ever seen wargamers playing with miniatures, you have some idea of how this game works.  Figurines are replaced with cards.  The expansions are different factions (men, elves, orcs, dwarves, etc.) and they have different abilities.
  • Warrior Knights:  The expansion for this game adds some rules and another strategic area, but is also highly recommended as a fix to some issues.  The last reason is why I bought it.  Warrior Knights is a long, complex game, and it hasn’t seen the table yet, so I can’t really say.
Expansions are definitely worth considering.  I recommend the less expensive expansions unless you really love a game.  A reasonable mix of new games and expansions makes sense, though exactly what the mix should be is a matter of personal taste.  It’s your money, and

It’s Your Move!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I am asking too much...

I have been listening to the Ludology Podcast to and from work.  There are several podcasts that I listen to regularly; this particular one is more of a once-in-a-while type of thing.  The topic was family games, and it ventured into a discussion on the developmental stages of children and what games work well at those stages.  I came to realize something in this podcast -- I am asking too much from my chess club kids.  Simply put, chess offers too many decisions with too many options that impact too many moves down the road for these kids, particularly the younger ones, to grasp.  I thought starting at 4th grade would allow for more cognitive ability, but I was wrong.  Some of the junior high kids should start to get it, but the younger ones, no.

I guess that really means I am a chess teacher, and not a chess coach.

It's Your Move!