About BoardGameGuru

BoardGameGuru is a UK based online retailer, specialising in board games.

To use the shop, please follow the link below:

BoardGameGuru

To read the full articles below, please follow the link to their own pages.

Essen 2013 - Are we excited?

Yes we are. I'm off to Essen next week for three days of intensive socialising, game playing and I might even purchase a game or two The hype about this year's show has been muted compared to previous years. I suspect it's because there is not a single game that has got Geeks losing sleep about not being the first in line at 10am on Thursday to buy a copy - no 'Dominion', '7 Wonders', 'Agricol'a or 'Eclipse'. The theme for 2013 seems to be expansions and reprises. The only expansion I will be purchasing (for personal consumption) is for Suburbia. Of the reprises Caverna (Agricola : Cave Farmers)is probably the one I will purchase. There is one type of game that I can't resist and that is Civilisation builders. So Nations will be bought on the first day. I am a little concerned about the lack of conflict on the game but early reports are good. I have pre-ordered most of the Japanese games at Essen; I managed to play a few of them in Tokyo in May and I think the Japanese designers are making the most interesting games at the moment.

School Boy Errors

When I returned to the hobby in 2007 my first reaction was ‘wow look at all the these wonderful games’ and my second reaction was ‘Wow Look at all these wonderful games that I missed....’. Like so many people who returned to board gaming after a hiatus or those new to the world of hobby board games I threw myself in whole heartedly, purchased a ton of games (of which not that many do i still own). Looking back at 2007 I can see I made a lot of mistakes in the games I purchased and played. I’d like to share the lessons I learned and maybe you might not befall the same traps. The best games are the in the top ten on Boardgamegeek, I need to buy the best! The top ten games on Boardgamegeek are the highest ranked but by a very small population of hard core hobbyists. They are for the most part, not beginner friendly and are only really appreciated after you have worked your way up the complexity spectrum and started to find the gateways not challenging you. I shudder to think about my early encounters with Puerto Rico, Caylus and Brass. I’s go as far to say that they are incomprehensible to non-gamers and they left me completely non-plused – I could see there was cool stuff going on, I could even follow the rules but the bigger question of why was I doing these things was left unanswered. Understanding and appreciation followed – but after seeing the mechanics and multipliers in lighter games and returning to these classics. Also by playing with experienced gamers who will at the least show you by demonstration what’s what in complex games. So if you are new to the hobby look at gateways and next step games – don’t start by diving in to the deep end! You can’t have enough Bargains I bought a lot of bargains in my first year and a bit back into the hobby. In summary this was a big and costly mistake. There is a golden rule for buying a discounted game – ‘Only purchase if it is a game you wanted before you saw it a bargain price ‘. My 2007 self would have scoffed at this advice ‘But it’s only a matter of time before I start enjoying obscure economic games or rediscover my love of Ameritrash’ – believe me it won’t happen. Games should provide experiences to be treasured and that’s why it’s better to buy one full priced game that you are going to love than any number of games that you are just going to play – they are not like the economy range at Sainsbury’s that provide fuel for the body – a great game is food for the soul and in most cases you need to pony up for the real deal. Don’t become a board gaming cynic ‘ The player who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing’ New games must be better than old – right? When I buy a new TV or car or Fridge I expect it to be better than the one I am replacing -;time has moved on, technology has improved. It might not be a bad assumption for white goods and computers it does not work for board games though. Board games are a little like books – most of the best one’s were created some time in the past. The best Area majority Game was published in 1996, the best political game in 1986, the best Worker placement game in 2007.... Look to the past for your new games not to the recent past or the future. My mistake was to believe the hype about new releases – but look who is creating this clamour; board gaming rou├ęs whose cardboard taste buds have been killed by an overdose of mediocrity or semi-professional reviewers whose next free game depends on praising the last free game. But if I don’t buy it now it will go out of stock or print – I might never get a copy! Yes that is true you might miss getting a game that you will enjoy – but for every gem that you miss you will acquire 8 cow pats. If a game is great then it’s worth waiting for – whether it be a second print run or a trade or even pay over the odds on ebay – it will be cheaper than having to offload a lot of ill advised purchases. Try and play games before you purchase, whether at a games club or at your ‘cult of the new’ friends house. Try before you buy and you will seldom if ever own a game that does not work for you. I really need to build a collection – the guys at my club have hundreds of games and I need one for every occasion... Oh no you don’t! Either these guys are collectors, or they have been slowly buying games over the decades, or they could be the 2007 me who purchased 20 games a month...A little like jokes there are very few gaming archetypes, and within genres there are mainly only subtle differences. If you own much over a hundred games you are probably not playing most of them very often and if you own four hundred games (Mea Culpa) most likely you are not playing most of your games most of the time, if ever. They then become not so attractive wall hangings. Silos are for storing grain – they don’t make good play areas In 2008 I played 37 new worker placement games; most set in medieval Europe, most efficiency games. The diet became a little monotonous. In the last two years I have made a conscious effort to broaden my gaminbg horizons – short games, long games, interactive, solitaire, negotiation, push your luck, set in the glory days of the med or set in space – the wider my gaming experience became the more I came to enjoy and appreciate the subtleties of my favourite genre (worker placement games...). More school boy boardgaming errors to follow...

Evergreen and run out of steam

Like most red blooded Ipad owning Eurogamer I have been neglecting household duties, avoiding friends and family and generally playing 'Agricola' on the Ipad. I have three online games, a solo series and and a five player against the AI on the go. It's addictive and an amazing port of the board game. I have not been surprised to see shop sales rocket out of the door. What has surprised me though is the lack of interest in Eclipse and it#s expansion at their reduced RRP. I suspect everyone who wanted a copy bought one at the old price.

New Releases 25th March 2013

All new releases can be found here ‘Batman : Gotham City strategy Game’. This solves the problem of who gets to be Batman? As players are four arch villains being pursued by the caped Crusader. Designed by Paulo Mori (‘Libertalia’ , ‘Vasco Da Gama’ and the Pocket battles series) ‘Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game’ – Quarriors mechanics meets MiddleEarth theme. The third edition of Puzzle Strike, and Puzzle Strike Shadows – a stand alone expansion that can be combined with third edition. ‘Chicken Caesar’ – a game of fowl negotiation set in ancient Rome. ‘Relic’ – Talisman given a Warhammer 40K Makeover ‘Axis and Allies 1914’ ‘Star Wars : Angriff der KlonKrieger’ (sorry no English rules for this) ‘Jackal and High’ (reminds me a little of the recent Alea game Vegas) ‘Toss it in the trash’ (a light party game) ‘The Pirates of Lys’ is the third Chapter pack of the Song of the Sea Cycle for A Game of Thrones Living Card Game ‘The Ruinous Hordes’ is the fifth Battle Pack in the Eternal War Cycle for Warhammer Invasion ‘A Study in Static’ – the fourth data pack for Netrunner and unfortunately already sold out. I have more on order. Arriving on Tuesday ‘Rialto’ – Stefen Feld’s second release of 2013 (and I think a guru only UK release for the moment) ‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck Building Game’ ‘Shattered Timelines’ is an expansion for Sentinels of the Multiverse. I have bundled together another 7 mini expansions for Sentinels into one (the expansions are the Final Wasteland. Miss Information , The Scholar , Silver Gulch , Unity , Oversized Villain Cards) OSG’s ‘Napoleon at Leipzig’ has reached its 5th edition My recent gaming highlights include discovering 'Myrmes' - a medium wirght worker placement game about managing an ant colony and 'Angola' - which for a 1988 designed wargame feels utlra modern.

IOS - the slow train of gaming

Like all board gaming IPad owners I get very excited when I read that one of my favourite boardgames is getting the Apple Magic treatment. However, excitement only last so long. The 'Cult of the New' phenomenon in gaming circles and the short lead time between a board game designer having an idea and it appearing at Essen means that the game that is still awaiting an Ipad release is already languishing at the back of the gaming cupboard, unplayed. We have moved on! It seems rather ironic that the dinosaur that is the physical world of board gaming is faster to publish than computer versions of said games. I was a big Dominion fan back in the mists of 2000 and ??? see already forgotten. However I read (can't find link) that the IOS implementation is still in beta. Well I don't care - i'd of been all over it a two or three years ago now I have new games to play. A lot of games only get a release after they have become successful - which misses the opportunity for digital sales at the peak of their popularity. Maybe publishers need to start planning the digital version before the physical game has been made.

Living (for a short while) Card Games

This has been my first blog post for a long time and my only excuse is the busiest post Essen and Christmas period in the Guru's five years of selling games. Mind you that should be no excuse as every Christmas has been busier than the one before. In the brief moments between packing games I have been playing 'Netrunner'. Lots of 'Netrunner'. And the most anticipated releases of 2013 became the Data packs for the game. Well they are here and I have yet to incorporate them into my plays - I'n still (20 plays in) enjoying the base set. Additional cards require another level of investment in the game - both money wise and also non playing time. To really enjoy the added depth the packs bring I will need to deck build. And whilst I can see myself tinkering with constructing as an omni gamer I am not sure how much time I want to take away from my other games to specialise. I think a lot of other gamers probably feel the same way and sales evidence supports this for other LCGs ('Living Card Games'). Lord of the Rings the Card Game was one of the most successful releases of 2012 and it has been interesting to track the declining popularity of the expansion packs over time. My sale records would indicate that only about 10% of people who purchased the original game are still buying expansions for the game. For older LCG's the decline is much more marked - with 'Call of Cthulhu' and 'Warhammer Invasion' down to less than 5%. The LCG that has stood the test of time is 'A Game of Thrones' and a rough guess would be that somewhere between 5 and 10% are still buying expansions. 'Netrunner' has been such a phenomenon (still at the top of the 'Geek hotness after 4 months) that I think it will follow AGOT in having a sizeable devoted following. Despite the fact 'Star Wars the Card Game' has only been out for a few weeks I predict that it might flop. Not because of the game play but because of the timing of the release - its too close on the heals of 'Netrunner'. Most gamers seem to only have time for one LCG and most have chosen 'Netrunner'. Unless 'Star Wars' picks up a large following outside of the harder core hobbyist then its going to struggle. The license should help with that but it's not a simple game and therefore not so accessible to the non gaming Star Wars fan. I hope I am proved wrong as its looks great - however I still have not got round to playing it because 'Netrunne'r is my LCG of choice.