Frustration. For weeks that was the predominant emotion. Maybe weeks is a bit too long, but for sure it was frustration. You see, I’d decided to enter the GenCan’t Roll and Write contest. A game design contest that with a one month deadline, that needed to involve standard dice (the roll bit), that involved writing on paper (eh…the write part), and that MUST include a solo mode. All three things made me uncomfortable as a designer. Generally I don’t like dice. I’ve very little experience with roll and write games. I’ve more experience with solo games, but have never designed one, and any ambitions I’ve had to design one usually end with exasperation as I try to find the balance between replayability (generally through random events, unpredictable outcomes etc.) and making the game about skill, not luck (generally though reducing randomness, avoiding hugely unpredictable outcomes). Continue reading
I’ve never roasted coffee. I do enjoy a good cup of coffee, and we’re lucky to have some very well regarded roasters in Dublin, like 3fe, Roasted Brown and Coffee Angel. Given my lack of coffee roasting experience, what follows is a wholly groundless assertion: it’s an art. Sure, you can measure the roasting time, the temperature, but I bet it’s never 100% exactly right every time. Neither is a game of Coffee Roaster, a solo game from Japan. Sure, you can math out some bits, try to count and make sure you’re as close as possible, but things don’t always go as expected, and you end up with a horrible cup of coffee from an over-roasted bean. Continue reading
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
After my previous adventure in print and play solo games, I found the experience to be more rewarding that I expected. It showed me that games designed for solo play can be engaging and worth playing, even if it is me, in a room, on my own, cursing the dice rolls. So, I decided to explore a bit further. How? I bought a game that was exclusively a single player game, a game that is currently in it’s 3rd printing, with 4 expansions available and more on the way. If that doesn’t sound like a successful game, I’m not sure what does. A game with a theme I’ve not seen attempted anywhere else. That game is Hostage Negotiator. Continue reading
I don’t play board games for the games themselves, I play them because they bring me together with people I want to spend time with, they facilitate friendships, catch ups and create good stories. For these reasons, I’ve never played a solo board game. It’s a whole genre of the hobby I have no knowledge about. There’s another whole area of the hobby which I know very little about: print and play games. There are games that haven’t been published in big shiny boxes, but are available online for download, that you print yourself. You can print the game on cardboard or paper, colour or black and white, and have a perfectly playable game at the end of it all.
I decided I would explore these two worlds at the same time. I’d look into some print and play, solo games, give a few a try, and report back on what happened. Just like a real journalist. Continue reading