We are currently in a board game apocalypse─some may call it a golden age, but I digress. This site is dedicated to board games, their articles, designs, top lists, files, and more, with emphasis from a designer's perspective.
Disclaimer: This site is a work in progress. All art, text, pages, etc are subject to change. Please use this contact form if you have any feedback regarding this site.
Some features of this site...
A Board Game Files Review will highlight the additions, modifications, and variants to board games that I and others have created. These files will be reviewed/play tested and written about in a blog post and will have points of interest that board game designers should take note of.
Most of the files will be available for download from boardgamegeek.com, a fantastic site that we support, where board game enthusiasts can find the “largest and most up-to-date place to get gaming information”. There, you’ll find thousands of creative board gamers who have dedicated much time to increasing the play-ability of their games and sharing with us their fan-made expansions, player aids, guides, and more.
A design critique is a review of a game from the perspective of a fellow designer. Thus, a Design Critique will focus on answering questions from a designer's perspective. These reviews will ask and answer questions such as; why did the designers do this or that and make points of WIBCI (pronounced wib-see), an acronym that stands for “wouldn't it be cool if”.
All criticisms should be of the constructive type and if the reviewer has an issue with the game, they should provide a solution. These reviews are more aimed towards other designers and what can be learned from the design of this game.
A Design Critique should be broken down into several categories, but does not require all categories.
Thematic Ties and Immersion: Points listed on how the theme of the game and its mechanisms match up. Also, point out elements of the design that either breaks the immersion or improves it. If the game could be re-themed, mention more appropriate themes.
Under Suspect—With some games, players discover imbalances or other irregularities that may eventually get addressed by the designers. Any aspect of the game that is under suspect of being imbalanced or its usefulness being questioned will be noted here.
Better Than Points: many games have actions/cards that just give players victory points. However, gaining points are not all that exciting compared to new abilities or bonuses. Here the review will offer suggestions abilities/bonuses to give instead of just points.
Note: Some games are more about points, such as Ticket to Ride, so this category may not be a fit for all games.
WIBCI: An acronym for “wouldn't it be cool if”. Throughout the review there will be suggestions or other options pointed out that the designers could do or should have done.
Replay Value: how well does the game fair on multiple plays and what can be done to improve it
Strategy and Tips: most rule books do not point out or suggest any types of strategies for beginners, here will be a brief list of information new players could use to get the most out of the goal of the game.
Comparisons: The reviewer may compare this game to others that are similar and well known and if/why this game is still a viable option. Knowing where we've come from is critical to a good modern game design and that's the main point of this section.
Final Thoughts: Overall thoughts, likes, and dislikes should be listed here. These should be brief, unless the game being reviewed has received little attention.
Note: If you would like to write a Design Critique for our website then please use the contact form here and let us know.
TopGamesList & MemberTools
I have a top games spreadsheet, a document where I keep up with the top-games-of-all-time published by multiple board game persona. I use this spreadsheet whenever I get an inkling (happens quite often) to purchase a game. With the multitude of new games coming out each month, we need dedicated reviewers who give us descriptions and feedback on all these games so we can make informed purchasing choices.
I've converted my top games spreadsheet into a multi-member database. Now anyone can create an account here at the Apocalypse and start setting up their own purchase guides from games in our database. We also have a PairWise Tool to help rank games and a Research Station to help you quickly find info about a game. We'll be adding new features, more persona, and more games over time.
Note: The games included in our database are in no wise, definitively, the best games out there.That's all I got to say about that.
Larry Ted McBride; Lead Developer, Designer, Co-Author
Based in Texas
I grew up playing the classic board games like Monopoly, Sorry, Pay Day, Clue, and the typical card games. And so, my wife and I started playing games with our kids. I purchased Pay Day for us as that was one of my favorite games, but they changed it, and I didn't like the modern game play.
Someone had given us Catan, but it had been sitting high on the shelf unplayed for months. With the disappointment of Pay Day I decided to try something new. So I pulled down Catan, brushed away the dust, and cracked it open. My wife and I read through the rules and played our first game...my mind was blown!
This all happened at the end of 2017. I then started wondering, if Catan was that unique and fun, what all else was there? So I turned to YouTube and little did I know we was in a Board Game Apocalypse (or Golden Age, however you want to look at it). If my mind was blown with Catan it was now pure sponge and anxious to absorb everything that was board games.
So here we are now. I love board games, writing, programming, designing, and being creative, so I decided to develop website where I can do all these things.
John Rogers; Writer, Voice Actor, Play Tester, Quality Control
Based in UK
John has been with me from near the beginning. He is a very talented writer and has been an inspiration to work with. There’s been so many times we’d have just an inkling of an idea, but by passing it back and forth between us, we’d come up with one grandiose design.