Glen More

the-crafty-players-glen-more-contentsGlen More is an older game – it’s not polite to talk about someone’s age, but I bring up it up is to remind us that it belongs to a different time, a time when the “Euro” and “Ameritrash” genres were more clearly defined, with less “hybrids”. As a matter of fact I think it’s a perfect game to demonstrate the difference in opinion Emmet and I have in relation to theme and its importance to a game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Episode 7 of the podcast.

Glen More is ostensibly about building a small Scottish village, making whisky (interesting aside: it’s spelled with an “e” i.e. whiskey, if it’s country of origin has an “e” in the name. Ireland, America = whiskey, Japan, Scotland = whisky)  and promoting chieftains to gain influence and power which is represented by victory points. Obviously. The theme is “evoked” through kilted men and sheep on the box cover, Tam o’shanter caps, highland cattle, whisky production and use of the word ‘chieftain’. It might sounds evocative, but there’s very little to drag you into the theme, to immerse you in it and make you feel like you’re actually in Scotland building a village.

But to me it doesn’t matter because the gameplay is so good! Continue reading

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Carcassonne

the-crafty-players-carcassonneWe often hear about the importance of first impressions. Back in the early 2000’s, I was introduced to a game, and to be honest, I didn’t really like it. Looking back, I can’t remember the specifics of the experience, why I didn’t like it, just vague impressions. I moved on, left college, got a job, moved to Japan, time passed and this game’s popularity endured, it’s stature growing in the community before cementing its place as one of the classics of modern board gaming. Originally released in the year 2000, this classic has more expansions and variations that you can shake a stick at. I’m talking about Carcassonne. Continue reading

Design Diary: Introduction

 

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A successful playtest meet up

One of our ambitions for 2017 here at the Crafty Players is to put out more higher quality articles. If you read our post about our new year’s gaming resolutions, you would have read that I have set myself the goal of having three games ready to submit to the Cardboard Edison Award in January 2018. To help facilitate both of these goals, I’ve decided I’m going to write about my experiences of trying to design board games. From the early steps of idea to early prototype, to playtesting and how I modify the game based on those playtests. Continue reading

Shogi and I

Today I’m going to talk about something a little different. It’s still a board game, but it’s not a hot off the shelf release from Essen, or a Kickstarter reward or my latest adventure in solo gaming. It’s about shogi, Japanese chess, the game which I have undoubtedly played the most in the past 10 years. Many people compare the game Go to chess, but shogi is much closer. Several of the pieces move the same, lending a sense of familiarity to those who’ve played chess. But it’s also hugely different, and in my humble opinion, better by far.

Before we go on, I want to say that I won’t be using the Japanese names for pieces etc, just the names in English that I know them as, as taught to me. It may not be technically correct, but to me the words carry more than just meaning. Continue reading

Adventures in Design

The reasons myself and Paddy chose the name “The Crafty Players” may be obvious: we enjoy craft beer and like playing board games. But part of the reason behind the name was  to reflect that both myself and Paddy like to make things. He’s mentioned before in blog posts and podcasts that he enjoys making board games and that he has a few prototypes in the works (one of which almost made one of our friends cry, so it’s gotta be good!), and while I also have notes for my board game opus scrawled across dozens of pages, at the moment the “crafty” side of me is focused on creating and writing adventures for Dungeons & Dragons. The first of these, titled The Graveyard Shift, is free on DriveThruRPG now! With that in mind, this week I’d like to talk about how I approach writing adventures and I’m going to use my current work-in-progress adventure as an example. So strap in because we’re venturing deep into the depths of my DM-Brain!

Continue reading

Live To Board

Board games have given me a lot. These simple objects made of cardboard, wood and plastic have given me a way to regularly engage with my oldest, dearest friends in a new way. They’ve helped make me some new friends. Through this blog and through trying my hand at design, board games have also given me a creative outlet, something I’ve felt was missing in my life. Yes, board games have given me a lot. But could they give me more? Continue reading

The Crafty Podcast – Episode 07: The Theme is the Thing

The Crafty Podcast Episode 07 is now online!

Also available on iTunes & Stitcher! Be sure to rate and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!

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Continue reading