There is a wealth of content about board gaming online, much of it created by extraordinarily intelligent and creative people. As a critical person, whenever I decide to add to a conversation, I second guess myself, concerned that the more dilutes the good. I think this is what therapists call a poverty mindset, in that it is centered around the belief that we live in a limited universe that only has a certain set of things and resources available to us.
Depending on who you are and what you believe, you might agree with this mindset. I think that’s valid, and a lot of reviews and board game criticism revolve around this mindset. There are a limited amount of dollars that most consumers have, and therefore there ought to be some consideration given to taste when making purchasing decisions.
But I suppose that I am more interested in games in the abstract, rather than games in the concrete. It’s why I enjoy some games that get critically panned, and that I often dissent with commonly held positions about different games. For me, what a game is trying to accomplish is often the most important thing. When I have been a writing teacher, I almost always evaluated my students on what it was they were trying to do, rather than what they did (within reason). In my mind, this attitude encourages us to develop in the way that we are exceptional and unique, rather than reinforcing some idea about what people, places, and things are supposed to be.
So I want to create interesting blog posts, videos, and games that grapple with questions about what games do and what they can do, and how these games generate certain types of interactions and imaginary worlds, and discourage others.
For me, Bernie De Koven set my star in how I think about games. To paraphrase his central conceit in The Well Played Game, in order for us to have a “good” or “enjoyable” game, we must agree on what it is we are doing when we play that game. Rules, mechanisms, theme, environment, and the players we play with influence that. I find that often I and others are not attentive enough to the way we frame the activities we do with one another, and I think this is an error, and one that I try to work through with what I will write about on this site, and what informs the games I design.
But I won’t really be reviewing much on this website. I might talk about games that I like, and games that I dislike. But mostly, I want to create a resource that’s worth a damn for people who are interested in thinking deeply about games (dorks like myself hopefully) as well as people who don’t know what this board game thing is all about.
Join me, won’t you?