On the Pitch
Soccer is a huge draw, pulling in the biggest crowds at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, as host country Brazil finally won Gold for the first time in the men’s event. Flick-and-move veteran Subbuteo is an obvious favorite for this category, and its host of accessories even extends to Pegasus’s enormous athletics track. This large, 21-piece monstrosity that fits around the pitch was created for decorative purposes, but it’s also not beyond the imagination of the average sporting gamer to gather up a few Subbuteo players to hold their own track meet after the soccer medals have been decided.
Smart 10 is a neat little trivia party game that enables all players to participate in every round.
THE SHERLOCK FILES
Will you be a Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, or Inspector Lestrade? Tackle each case and see how clever a detective you really are.
Social/Interactive Party Games
Party games are a great way to break the ice and get to know people.
Ready for the games?
We asked creators of sport-based games for opinions about the upcoming Olympic games.
MAGLEV METRO: MAGNETIC LEVITATION RAIL
A TRAIN GAME REVOLUTION
Dungeon Academy offers a unique twist on the roll-and-write genre, adding a real-time racing element to the gameplay.
Crossed Words is a party word game about coming up with unusual connections as quickly as possible.
Getting on Track
Track and Field is the centerpiece of the games, drawing in some of the biggest crowds and containing some of the most memorable moments. For example, Usain Bolt — shoelaces undone, chicken nuggets for dinner — sprinting his way to the 100m world record in 2008. Curiously, there are very few athletics-based modern tabletop games.
Cloud City is Major Fun!
MAJOR FUN REVIEW
Casual Strategy Games
The following can be taught in under ten minutes and played in under an hour. This means you can play more games in a single game night or spend some time relaxing and chatting for part of the night.
Bravo! is an abstract roll-and-write game featuring multiple ways to score, bonuses to earn, and many paths to victory.
Save for submerging all your components into a tub of water and frenetically splashing them to the other side of it, swimming isn’t an easy conversion to the tabletop arena. But it’s being attempted on Kickstarter in the form of Chlorination. Described by creator Filip Lindlof as “a worker placement...strategy game about swimming,” Chlorination sees players manage a swimmer’s journey through training, preparation and competing in swim meets.
Gaming By Degrees: The Philosophical Journey of Dr. Finn's Games
Early in his career as a self-publishing game designer, Dr. Stephen Finn earned a reputation as a designer of filler games. In fact, Richard Ham, host of the well-known board gaming video series and podcast “Rahdo Runs Through,” has called Finn the “undisputed King of the Filler.” It was a title that Finn embraced. “There was a time,” notes Finn, “when ‘filler’ wasn’t a pejorative term, but I think it’s now becoming one. I was always proud to call myself the King of the Fillers, because I was thinking of ‘filler’ as just a quick thing.” “However, over time, I began to realize that it may be to my detriment and now, I try to avoid it.” Not completely. Finn continues to promote the phrase on his company’s website because “being King of anything is still a good thing.” “I was thinking maybe it would become something bigger.”
PUBLISHING AMID A PANDEMIC: How Board Games Survived and Thrived in 2020
COVID’s lasting impacts on our health and economy are still far from being understood. It will take many of us years, perhaps even a decade, to unravel what has changed in the last year. But some patterns are emerging, at least in the board gaming hobby, that indicate many publishers were well ahead of the curve even before the threat of a pandemic affected their supply chains worldwide. As the world began locking itself down to quell the threat of COVID-19, people continued to find solace in hobbies. Soon, the business journals and magazines of the world began tracking the increase of sales across a wide swath of interests as people did anything and everything to take their minds away from the weight of a pandemic circling the globe. Turns out, everything from toys, guitars, crafts, and board games were selling well despite a deflated economy. Report Linker’s “Board Games Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2021-2026” estimates that sales in the hobby will grow by 13 percent in the next five years, even with continued lockdowns. But what about the hobby as a whole? This article examines how 2020 affected the board gaming industry through three facets — big box stores, local board gaming cafes and stores, and the digital space — and how the pandemic has shaped them in the interim as well as moving forward. Is this projected forecast of its growth still as rosy?
Attending a mysterious funfair, you start to have psychic visions. Can you catch a killer before the evening is through?
1-4 PLAYERS | 15-45 MINUTES | AGES 7+
Live the sugary dream in Candy Lab, as you fulfill orders of candy bars and compete for the title of master confectioner!
MIND GAMES: The Psychology of Board Games
What is the mind? For the ancient Greeks, the idea of the mind was synonymous with the concept of “soul.” Plato believed the psyche was immortal and became wiser and more perceptive after death. More recently, Freud and Jung refined the idea of seele (soul) as a subset of the overall psyche, that which governs thought and behavior — in short, personality. As a game designer and armchair psychologist, I am fascinated by what makes games tick. But even more, I love to discover what makes players tick. Games are products of the human mind, and the mind is the arena on which the contest is played. All the aspects of cognition — perception, thinking, judgment, language, memory, and more — play into the game experience.
Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar
2-4 PLAYERS | 45-60 MINUTES | AGES 7+
GAME REVIEWS: CALICO
Winner of CGI’s Best Casual Game of 2020 award, Calico is filled with adorable cats and versatility in its tile laying, giving it a combination of challenging gameplay and soothing delightful theme.
2-10 PLAYERS | 60 MINUTES | AGES 8+
BOARD GAMES IN THE CLASSROOM
Gamers gather around a table to unbox a new board game or bring out an old favorite. Together, they enter into a unique experience of mental challenge, social interaction, and creative play — an experience that draws them together. But can this special experience have anything to do with learning? John Coveyou, founder of Genius Games, insists that it does. Whenever you take a seat around a table to play a board game, “your mind can’t not begin to pick up information about the world that the game is themed around.” Without a doubt, learning is part of the experience, but is it a big enough part to justify using board games in the classroom? If so, how can board games be best used for learning?
SOLITUDE: DISCOVERING SOLO PLAY IN AN EMPTY GAME CAFÉ
In a time of isolation, like the lockdowns of 2020, the modern board game hobby has a weird identity.
Calico is Major Fun!
MAJOR FUN REVIEW
Save Valentine's Day ... by Avoiding These Games
Dating can be a difficult process. Traditionally, two people might chit-chat over drinks or dinner, then spend two hours in a darkened theater ignoring each other. This is not the most effective means of getting to know someone. A shared activity is a better way to share the real you with someone else.
Holi Festival Of Colors
Spread Joy and Playful Competition
Gridopolis is Major Fun!
MAJOR FUN INTERVIEW
HUES AND CUES
In this party game about colors and shades, can you clue players in on the one color (out of over four hundred) that is yours?