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Genres of board games

Postby Nikom В» 31.08.2019


One German genius has engineered a faster, smarter board game. Teuber pronounced "TOY-burr" , a dental technician living with his wife and three kids in a white row house in Rossdorf, Germany, had created a game a few years earlier called Barbarossa and the Riddlemaster , a sort of ur-Cranium in which players mold figures out of modeling clay while their opponents try to guess what the sculptures represent.

The game was a hit, and in it won the Spiel des Jahres prize—German board gaming's highest honor. Winning some obscure German award may not sound impressive, but in the board game world the Spiel des Jahres is, in fact, a very, very big deal.

Germans, it turns out, are absolutely nuts about board games. More are sold per capita in Germany than anywhere else on earth. The country's mainstream newspapers review board games alongside movies and books, and the annual Spiel board game convention in Essen draws more than , fans from all walks of life. Released in , The Settlers of Catan only recently caught fire in the U. S Because of this enthusiasm, board game design has become high art—and big business—in Germany.

Any game aficionado will tell you that the best-designed titles in the world come from this country. In fact, the phrase German-style game is now shorthand for a breed of tight, well-designed games that resemble Monopoly the way a Porsche resembles a Chevy Cobalt. But back in , despite having designed a series of successful German-style titles, Teuber still thought of making board games as a hobby, albeit a lucrative one. So Teuber stuck with his day job selling dental bridges and implants, struggling to keep afloat the person business he had inherited from his father.

At night he would retreat to his basement workshop and play. One day Teuber began tinkering with a new theme for a game: an uncharted island. In his original vision, players would slowly discover the island by flipping over tiles, then establish colonies using the indigenous natural resources.

The game incorporated elements of other ideas Teuber was working on, but for some reason this one seemed special. Every once in a while, he would bring the new game upstairs to test it out on his family. They would play along, but Teuber could tell that the game wasn't working.

Sometimes, in the middle of a match, he would notice his youngest son, Benny, reading a comic under the table. Other times his wife would suddenly remember a load of laundry that needed immediate attention.

After each of these sessions, Teuber would haul the game back downstairs for further refinement. He repeated this process over the course of four years. Eventually, Teuber whittled his invention down to a standard pair of dice, a handful of colored wooden houses that represented settlements and cities, stacks of cards that stood for resources brick, wool, wheat, and others , and 19 hexagonal cardboard tiles that were arranged on a table to form the island.

He had hit on something with this combination—the enthusiasm on family game night was palpable. During nearly every session, he, his wife, and their children would find themselves in heated competition.

The game was done, Teuber decided. Released at the annual Essen fair in , Settlers sold out its initial 5, copies so fast that even Teuber doesn't have a first edition. That year, it won the Spiel des Jahres and every other major prize in German gaming. Critics called it a masterpiece. Fans couldn't get enough, snapping up , copies in its first year.

Since its introduction, The Settlers of Catan has become a worldwide phenomenon. It has been translated into 30 languages and sold a staggering 15 million copies even the megahit videogame Halo 3 has sold only a little more than half that.

It has spawned an empire of sequels, expansion packs, scenario books, card games, computer games, miniatures, and even a novel—all must-haves for legions of fans. And it has made its year-old inventor a household name in every household that's crazy about board games, and a lot that aren't. Most impressive of all, though, Settlers is actually inducting board-game-averse Americans into the cult of German-style gaming.

Last year, Settlers doubled its sales on this side of the Atlantic, moving , copies in the US and Canada—almost unheard-of performance for a new strategy game with nothing but word-of-mouth marketing.

Settlers is now poised to become the biggest hit in the US since Risk. Along the way, it's teaching Americans that board games don't have to be either predictable fluff aimed at kids or competitive, hyperintellectual pastimes for eggheads. Through the complex, artful dance of algorithms and probabilities lurking at its core, Settlers manages to be effortlessly fun, intuitively enjoyable, and still intellectually rewarding, a potent combination that's changing the American idea of what a board game can be.

Klaus Teuber took four years to create what some have called the perfect board game. Photo: Baerbel Schmidt Board games have been around for millennia: 5,year-old examples have been found in Egypt, playing cards were imported to Europe from the Muslim world in the s, and chess has existed in its modern form for at least years.

But the mass-market board games we know today were born during the Great Depression, when Monopoly took off in the US. Over the years, new icons were established: Candy Land in , Risk in , Battleship in Board games have continued to thrive for a simple reason: Whether for adults or children, they are—like poker nights, softball games, and bowling leagues—an excuse to hang out and interact with friends and family.

As Jesper Juul , a ludologist, or game expert, at MIT explains, they create a communal experience that brings people together. Who won the last time and how, some interesting tactic, or a particularly remarkable stroke of luck all produce a shared memory. Yet in the US, only a few types of games have really taken off. There are so-called lifestyle games, like Scrabble and chess, intellectual skill-based games whose devotees are interested in playing little else; party games like Trivial Pursuit and Jenga; and traditional strategy games like Risk and Monopoly, which are generally seen as child's play or possibly something to do while trapped in a snowstorm without power—just before you eat your own foot.

But part of the reason we don't play much Risk and Monopoly as adults is that those are actually poorly designed games, at least in the German sense. It's a very negative experience. It's all about cackling when your opponent lands on your space and you get to take all their money. For me to win, you have to be bankrupt.

Gouging and exploiting may be perfect for humiliating your siblings, but they're not so great for relaxing with friends.

Monopoly also fails with many adults because it requires almost no strategy. The only meaningful question in the game is: To buy or not to buy? Most of its interminable three- to four-hour average playing time length being another maddening trait is spent waiting for other players to roll the dice, move their pieces, build hotels, and collect rent.

Board game enthusiasts disparagingly call this a "roll your dice, move your mice" format. Unfortunately, Monopoly still dominates. German-style games, on the other hand, avoid direct conflict. Violence in particular is taboo in Germany's gaming culture, a holdover from decades of post-World War II soul-searching. In fact, when Parker Brothers tried to introduce Risk there in , the government threatened to ban it on the grounds that it might encourage imperialist and militaristic impulses in the nation's youth.

The German rules for Risk were hastily rewritten so players could "liberate" their opponents' territories, and censors let it slide.

Instead of direct conflict, German-style games tend to let players win without having to undercut or destroy their friends. This keeps the game fun, even for those who eventually fall behind. Designed with busy parents in mind, German games also tend to be fast, requiring anywhere from 15 minutes to a little more than an hour to complete. They are balanced, preventing one person from running away with the game while the others painfully play out their eventual defeat.

And the best ones stay fresh and interesting game after game. Teuber nailed all these traits using a series of highly orchestrated game mechanics. Instead of a traditional fold-out board, for example, Settlers has the 19 hexagonal tiles, each representing one of five natural resources—wooded forests, sheep-filled meadows, mountains ripe for quarrying. At the beginning of every game, they're arranged at random into an island. Next, numbered tokens marked from 2 to 12 are placed on each tile to indicate which dice rolls will yield a given resource.

Because the tiles get reshuffled after every game, you get a new board every time you play. The idea is that players establish settlements in various locations on the board, and those settlements collect resource cards whenever the token number for the tile they are sitting on gets rolled.

By redeeming these resource cards in specific combinations it takes a hand of wood, brick, wheat, and wool to build a new settlement, for instance , you expand your domain. Every settlement is worth a point, cities are two points, and the first player to earn 10 points wins. You can't get ahead by rustling your opponents' sheep or torching their cute wooden houses. One of the driving factors in Settlers—and one of the secrets to its success—is that nobody has reliable access to all five resources.

This means players must swap cards to get what they need, creating a lively and dynamic market, which works like any other: If ore isn't rolled for several turns, it becomes more valuable. Wheeling and dealing turns out to be an elegant solution to one of the big problems plaguing Monopoly—sitting idle while other players take their turns. Since every roll of the dice in Settlers has the potential to reap a new harvest of resource cards, unleash a flurry of negotiations, and change the balance of the board, every turn engages all the players.

Teuber also made the game as flexible as possible, with numerous means of earning points. Building the longest road is worth two points, for instance, and collecting development cards purchased with resource cards, these can offer a Year of Plenty resource bonanza or straight-up points also brings you closer to victory.

Having options like this is critical. The games that stand the test of time have just a few rules and practically unlimited possibilities, making them easy to learn and difficult to master. Chess, for example, has 10 potential moves, far more than the number of atoms in the universe. Finally, the game is designed to restore balance when someone pulls ahead.

If one player gets a clear lead, that person is suddenly the prime candidate for frequent attacks by the Robber, a neat hack that Teuber installed. Roll a seven—the most likely outcome of a two-dice roll, as any craps player knows—and those with more than seven resource cards in their hand lose half their stash, while the person who rolled gets to place a small figure called the Robber on a resource tile, shutting down production of resources for every settlement on that tile.

Not surprisingly, players often target the settler with the most points. In addition to deploying the Robber, players will usually stop trading with any clear leader. In tandem, these two lines of attack can reduce a front-runner's progress to a crawl.

Meanwhile, lagging opponents have multiple avenues for catching up. All of this means that players must use strategy and move smartly, but even flawless play doesn't necessarily lead to easy victory.

This is why kids can play with adults, or beginners with experts, and everyone stays involved. There are lots of little victories—as opposed to defeats—and perpetual hope. Settlers is one of those perfect storms. Settlers may be the Mona Lisa of the board game renaissance, but Teuber makes for an unlikely da Vinci.

He's balding, slight, and surprisingly modest.

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Joined: 31.08.2019

Re: genres of board games

Postby Bataxe В» 31.08.2019

Puzzle games are about numbers, pattern recognition, combinations and arranging things. Otherwise known as Diplomacy players. Adventure Games : invite players to explore new areas and fight enemies and often have gzmes fantasy theme. This means players must swap cards to get what they need, creating click here lively and dynamic market, which works like any other: If ore isn't rolled for several turns, it becomes more valuable.

Posts: 75
Joined: 31.08.2019

Re: genres of board games

Postby Samujinn В» 31.08.2019

Teuber's plan for overcoming this challenge is, oddly enough, computers. Board games have continued to thrive for a simple reason: Whether for adults or children, they are—like poker nights, softball games, and bowling leagues—an excuse to hang out and interact with friends and family. Sponsored Stories Powered By Genres. It's a board of this strategic blocking that Worker Placement Games can get quite competitive and heated. In addition to deploying the Robber, players will usually stop trading with games clear leader.

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