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Tabletop Games Blog

Tabletop Games Blog

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The Tabletop Games Blog is about all things board, card, dexterity and other modern games. Every week there is a new review and a topic discussion piece, all of which are also released in audio format on the podcast. Additionally, there is the Let me illustrate podcast series where board game artists answer a catalogue of 17 questions about themselves.
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Tabletop Games, Simplified. Building, Painting, reviews, and tools of the hobby. We cover tabletop miniatures games from Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Bolt Action, to Warmachine and much more. Pull up a seat, pick up the brush and sit back for some tools and rules with us fools! We have fun at the table!
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Vikings were known for plundering, but what many people forget is that they also did a lot of trade. In fact, the Viking Era saw an increase in trade in the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic. There was one vessel that was specifically made for the exchange of large quantities of goods. It was a cargo ship with a shorter hull than the co…
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We had started in Florence when everyone was still fresh and raring to go. An endless sea of bicycles with teams sticking closely together had lined up at the starting line. The support teams had only done their last checks minutes before and everything was shiny and gleaming. Now, several thousand kilometres later, everyone started to show signs o…
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There is an unwritten social contract that, when you choose to play a board game, you agree to play it to its conclusion. Everyone around the table expects to finish the game. Everyone wants to have an equal chance of winning. People want to be able to come back from behind and snatch their victory right on their last turn. I think that expectation…
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The period of sakoku has only recently ended, and now with the Meiji Restoration in full swing, the country is investing heavily in new technologies. Locomotives have become the leading symbol of the nation's modernization. Across all four islands, new railway operations are created and entrepreneurs attempt to profit from the money being injected …
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Games come in all shapes and sizes. Designers create them in different ways and with different intentions. Some games are an interesting mix of mechanisms, others are a passion project that tries to evoke certain emotions when people play them. Games can have simple rules with deep emergent gameplay or they can be rules-heavy. While some games take…
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We made it! We finally decoded a very important ancient Mayan manuscript and found the temple described in the old document deep in the jungles of El Salvador. As we were standing at the entrance, we saw in front of us a very long paved road, leading to a circular pyramid. Each paving slab had a different symbol on it and we knew from the manuscrip…
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Good games will have had a lot of time put into them to ensure they create the experience that the designer wanted. The rules will have been created with intent and purpose. Rules are the skeleton around which the muscles, sinews, skin and the whole living body of the game grows. Games are meant to be played by their rules, or at least that's what …
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Howdy partner. Welcome to the Wild West, where there is gold to be found in them there hills. Only the most daring souls will find the riches. Mining is dangerous work. So helping your fellow human is the right thing to do, but getting repaid for your kindness is not guaranteed. I'll start you off with a pick-axe, some safety gear and a few sticks …
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It is always a pleasure to arrive by train at Birmingham International train station, which not only gives you access to West Midland's main airport, but also to the amazing NEC. It is in this huge exhibition complex that the UK's largest hobby games convention takes place every year. The event welcomes tens of thousands of visitors over three days…
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Artichokes come in two main forms: globe and Jerusalem. Both are lovely vegetables with many health benefits. As culinary ingredients, some love their wonderful flavour, while others hate them for the same reason. However, we want to talk about globe artichokes specifically here. So while you might love these wonderful green plants, as relatives of…
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Space: an endless void with countless stars, some of which capable of harbouring a planet that can support life. On one of these Goldilocks planets far away from our own, life has indeed emerged. Yet, nothing is ever allowed to last. One day, the inevitable end will come. So in the meantime, life on this planet is competing for supremacy. They do n…
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Another year has gone by in a flash and it's time again for me to start another convention season. Well, I say "season", but that's exaggerating it. I'm actually only attending two board game shows this year. I just can't afford to fly everywhere and spend time away from home. So I chose two events that I really enjoyed last year and that won't cos…
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Build your reputation, they said. Complete voyages, defeat foes and gather treasures, they said. Visit the outpost to sell cargo and make repairs, they said. Having two sloops under my command was supposed to make this easy, but the truth was far from it. A pirate's life for me, my barnacle. It was a huge challenge from the start. It was almost imp…
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Welcome, adventurer. You are about to embark on a very unique dungeon crawl. Sharpen your pencil and be brave. You are about to face an almost endless cave system stuffed to the brim with coins, treasure chests, spiders' webs, enemies and even the odd portal. So off you go, brave fellow, and descend the stairs into the amazing Paper App Dungeon by …
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Hi, it’s Joe Slack here. I’ve written a few guest posts for Oliver in the past and I was delighted when he requested another guest blog, so here we go! Something I think about a lot as a game designer is how to create tension in a game as well as ensure that players feel a sense of progression as they play. Read the full article here: https://table…
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After the battle of Wolf 359, the team consisting of Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commanders Data and Shelby and Lieutenant Worf on board the U.S.S. Enterprise were doing all they could to protect the ship against the invading Borg, led by Locutus of Borg, formerly Captain Picard of the Federation. It was a strange situation. The alien drones seemed…
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Feeling stressed about your upcoming wedding? Why not sit down and relax, and maybe even get some inspiration from these wedding-themed board games! Read the full article here: https://tabletopgamesblog.com/2024/05/07/get-inspired-for-your-wedding-with-board-games-topic-discussion/ Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠…
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As the first two sons of Adam and Eve, a lot of responsibility had been laid upon our shoulders. We were a farmer and a shepherd who had to offer our harvested grains and livestock to God. We were never sure if either of us was in His favour. So we carried on and made wilder and wilder boasts about our gifts to Our Lord until it was too much and on…
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I grew up at a time when "cowboys and Indians" were a popular topic in literature. Westerns, spaghetti or otherwise, were on television pretty much all the time. Similarly, Kung Fu films were regularly shown on the small screen. The jungles of India also often featured heavily. Board games often followed the same trend and portrayed these seemingly…
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I had my camera ready. The tripod was weighed down to ensure I got a clear picture and the telescopic lens was attached to get me as close to the action as possible. It wasn't going to be easy because this creature was hard to find and very camera-shy. I was sure I was in the right spot though. There had been footprints in the ground, so there was …
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I've written about my love of trick-taking games and the genre in general many times. Just check the archives... Now that my game group has also gotten into the genre, I've discovered more and more games that take this ancient card game mechanism to new heights. They apply new twists and add different mechanisms to create really exciting new titles…
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They were very shy and very few people had seen one, but you and your friends had been lucky. One lived at the bottom of the garden of the McGregories at the end of the village. The old couple was completely unaware of the sneaking by both, the mythical creature and your group of pals. You really wanted to make friends with this little winged being…
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The following article is a guest post written by Alexandra Yaverbaum (aka Sasha) and Dina Ramse from Dina Said So Studio and originally published on LinkedIn. In light of the recent announcement that CMON have acquired some of Mythic Games’ projects, it brought into clear contrast just how well, (or indeed how poorly) these can be handled. I have b…
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Trading in the Mediterranean was profitable, but came with risks. Merchant ships were travelling far to seek out rare spices, precious cloths and many other valuable and lucrative goods. Once a heavily laden ship returned, the goods would be brought to market and auctioned off to the highest bidder. It was never easy to compete with the other buyer…
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I was pleased to see the re-released game Medici from 1995 become so popular in our household. It made me think why a game that's now nearly 30 years old was not only picked up by another publisher, but still has a lot of appeal such a long time later. So in this article, I want to look at classic games and see which ones have stood the test of tim…
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There were signs. As the king's fortune-teller, you were acutely aware of what the future would hold. As you scatter the sacrifices on the altar, you immediately see your fate. The king would ask for your head. It was all there in front of you in the ⁠Portents⁠ by Christopher Ryan Chan from ⁠New Mill Industries⁠. Read the full review here: ⁠https:/…
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The following article is a guest post by Ellen Klein, an editor who brings a unique perspective to her work. She believes in the power of planning for life's unknowns, bringing her extensive experience to bear on business, family and relationship advice. The following is a bit different to the usual fare on Tabletop Games Blog. So let us know what …
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Viking warriors cherish war. They bravely man their longships with healers, skalds, spies, seidmadrs, völva, hirdmen, berserker, a styrimader and maybe even the jarl. They go on long voyages to conquer far-away lands and fight the locals in glorious battles. Those Vikings who fall go to Valhalla, a majestic hall located in Asgard and presided over …
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Having been a part of our hobby now for a number of years, I have had the pleasure and honour to see a number of games go from early prototypes through to final products. I have also had the honour of being a judge and mentor in the Board Game Workshop Design Contest back in 2019 and 2020. So in this article, I thought I would share my experiences …
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The sun had set, but we still had a few hours before the main event. Our telescopes were set up and we had a flask of hot chocolate and a few biscuits ready to see us through the night. Our thick coats and thick socks were going to keep us warm and cosy. We were hopeful that tonight we would be able to discover new constellations. It was really exc…
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Fero City: a bustling metropolis that has become a battleground. There was little time to evacuate the millions of inhabitants before a horde of supervillains descended and started pulverizing iconic landmarks. Most people fled, but many had no chance. Now you have to get them out of there before it's too late and before the arrival of the worst su…
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It is sometimes nice to discuss semantics. It can get a bit abstract and more often than not rather nuanced, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. So while we all might be talking about the same thing in broad strokes, we are likely to have slightly different definitions in our heads. Therefore I want to look at how to define the term "board game…
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Space - the final frontier. These are the adventures of space pirate Oliver, who is on a mission to catch bounty hunter Boba on the star Alpha Centauri. Bob knows where their towel is - at all times. Meanwhile, in an underwater base, crime lord Jabba has built their shrink ray using the data chip that Boba had stolen. And so, The Plot Thickens: Sci…
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Since the pandemic, many of us have started to explore the world of online board gaming. Even before we went into lockdown, there have been digital platforms allowing us to play games remotely. For me, these were really important, because it allowed my game group to carry on when we were all told to stay at home. Now that my friends have moved away…
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Welcome, everyone. It is wonderful to see so many of you here today. The hour is near and the gaze of the Great Inky One is upon us. We have to be strong and stay true to the cause. It is time to show our dedication, fellow followers. It is time to hail the mighty Cosmoctopus by Henry Audubon from Lucky Duck Games. Read the full review here: https:…
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Historical simulation games, conflict simulation games or war games - call them what you will. There is certainly a huge following of this genre and there is an endless list of these games already on the market, with many more coming out each year. Many people are put off by the idea of replaying a real conflict from history, but of course, these t…
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Once upon a time in a magical village where artisan dragons worked at the butcher's to sell meat, the ironmonger to make metalware or in enchanting shops to bake bread, it was your role, as a Flamekeeper, to find the perfect shop for each dragon. You would visit these shops to gain items or enchant the shops to grow your reputation. Only the best F…
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I keep hearing people talk about replayability in board games. I've talked about the topic a few times in the past. I've also clarified the difference between variability and replayability. However, as the topic keeps popping up from time to time, I thought I'd share some more of my thoughts. After all, I think replayability is an important criteri…
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The mountains provided great vantage points for both sides. We could easily see what the enemy was doing, but so could they. Providing air support was going to be impossible because of the terrain, but we were still considering paradrops to get troops far into the enemy's territory. It would all come down to tactics, because we had only been given …
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Anne Isaksson is a 2D/3D artist living in Stockholm, Sweden. She has a bachelor's degree in 3D graphics from the Luleå University of Technology and a degree in 2D game art from Future Games. She has worked in the 3D industry and as a freelance 2D artist. She is currently a full-time concept and board game artist at ION Game Design. Read the audio t…
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I know it's not true for everyone and playing games by yourself is certainly something a lot of people really enjoy, but for me, playing board games with friends or family is very important. I always look forward to the next time I meet friends, be it online or in person, for game night. I get really excited when my wife or daughter says that they …
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The Women's Suffrage Movement in the US started small, very small in fact, in a tiny hamlet in New York State. Over time, it spread from state to state across the whole country as its following grew. Their fight for equal rights culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment after a seventy-year battle. However, while this monumental achievem…
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There is a type of board game that I absolutely love. In fact, I've always loved it. Economic simulations somehow activate a certain part of my brain that is really stimulating. These games not only activate my brain's reward centre, but their competitive nature and the element of bluffing all scratch the right itches for me. In this article, I wan…
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There. It was done. The mosaic was complete. It was tiny, about the size of a full stop. However, under the microscope, it glistened and glinted, it sparkled and shined. It was a wonderfully symmetric arrangement, forming the overall shape of a circle, intersected into various quadrants. Yet, it was more than just geometry and scientific fascinatio…
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I know that many of us play board games to have fun. Whether we enjoy lighter or heavier games, it's all about spending time, either alone or with friends or family, getting away from the day-to-day worries and immersing yourself in another world for an hour or two or three. Yet, there are games that are set against the background of a very serious…
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We were on our way to the city's main station to board the bullet train to Kyoto. Travelling on the Asakusa underground line towards Ikebukuro, we had just passed through Kasumigaseki and arrived at Ginza station. We were nearly there. It was Next Station: Tokyo by Matthew Dunstan from Blue Orange. Read the full review here: https://tabletopgamesbl…
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The snowshelf reached from horizon to horizon in all directions. We were in the Valley of the Ancient Ones, which was a frozen region, pounded by deadly storms, but which had made space for a single, lone city. It was summer and time for the guilds to go on their annual pilgrimage and explore this tundra. As one of the leaders, you were about to ta…
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Let's be honest. Most of us in the hobby buy games that we play once or twice or in rare cases, three or four times. In fact, the term "shelf of shame" is a thing, describing games that people have bought but not yet played. The thing is, these games sit there unplayed for months on end and may never see the welcome sight of a table, let alone a bo…
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Announcing the annual Top Table Award is always a pleasure and an honour at the same time. Choosing and deciding the order of the top 5 games I reviewed in 2023 is never easy. There usually isn't much between the games and they are all great for their own reasons. So, irrespective of which one won the coveted award, all of the games are worth a clo…
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Some might argue that board games are basically just toys. Some games add to that argument when they play on the toy factor by including one or more components that are basically just a gimmick. These components could easily be replaced by something else without affecting gameplay. Yet, some games are accused of capitalising on the attraction of gi…
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