These are various notes for the panels I was on. I am starting with the board game panel!
I was a bit apprehensive about this one – I asked to be put on at least one non-diversity-related panel, which meant that I was put on exactly one such panel 🙂 and this was it. It was a fun experience and I am glad I did not
run away in fear self-reject myself from it. Special thanks to Miles Tugman for the encouragement and the board games! 🙂
These were the recommendations I mentioned, I hope I did not leave anything out:
Where to go to learn more about board games:
- BoardGameGeek is probably the best place. Links will point to BoardGameGeek 🙂
If you are looking for a fun, short game (max. 30 mins):
- for computer gamers: Race for the Galaxy. Many similarities to computer-based 4x strategy games. Plays especially fast in the online version.
- for non-computer gamers: Dominion. Like a collectible card game, without the collecting part. It does have 84329 million expansions though.
Games that play well with 3 players:
- Yggdrasil – cooperative game where the number of players also varies the difficulty a bit, 3 players seems quite good in my experience.
If you are looking for a good introductory game:
- Carcassonne. Has both chance and strategy elements, simple rules, relaxing art, fun tactile experience of assembling the board from tiles. Also good in mixed age groups. Currently has a reissue with new graphics – compare the old and the new and make sure you get the version you like better! (I prefer the old one.)
One interesting current trend in boardgaming:
- Games with overarching storylines structured similarly to TV series, like Pandemic: Legacy (I haven’t played it yet, but I really want to 🙂 )
Fun games few people know:
- Jäger und Sammler – very popular in Hungary as Mamutvadász, won the local Game of the Year award (similar to Spiel des Jahres). Stone age theme with beautiful art! Simple rules that lend themselves to house variants really well in our experience. Zombiegeddon is an American version with really ugly art (I warned you). There is no text on the game elements themselves – you can order a European version and download the rules online.
- CIA vs KGB – simple, fun, very cheesy Cold War theme 😀
And now for literature:
How can board games inspire my own SF writing?
In two ways:
- Player interactions – the ways behavior can be manipulated by the use of explicit rules, what interactions emerge from this, etc. Not so much specific games and settings, but more of this meta-approach that stems from my experiences as both a board gamer and a video gamer. Thus it can be hard to see exactly where the influence appears in my work, but it is certainly there.
- Depictions of gameplaying in a fictional setting – this is much easier to notice.
Books I mentioned (mostly related to the second point):
- The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks – note the explicitly acknowledged influence of Civilization, which started off as a computer game, but then became a board game too.
- Burning Bright by Melissa Scott – also RPG-related.
The quiz question I prepared for the audience:
- Which major board game company patented the Ouija board? – Easy to guess, but you can click here to find out.
I hope people enjoyed the panel and I’m also wishing much enjoyment to the winners of the quiz – have fun with your new games!