Sunday, February 27, 2011


(First: an explanation: when I started this blog I said I would fold expansions into the base game—this so I wouldn’t have to spend week after week playing variations of the same thing. In the case of the Bohnanza series, however, each game has such a different feel that I thought each merited its own post.)

Uwe Rosenberg seems to be fond of two things: farming; and puns. He is the designer of Agricola, one of the most popular games of recent memory (and the subject of last week’s blogpost). The Gates of Loyang, his last game but one, also involved planting and harvesting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


In my second blogpost I talked about hot games and classic games. Agricola was released in 2007 accompanied by a huge amount of buzz, quickly rose up the ranks of games to become the third-highest rated game on BoardGameGeek, and is now regularly name-checked by both newcomers and longtime gamers. It has a nickname (The Gric—as in “Get him to The Gric” ), a Java implementation,  and a fanmade yahtzee-style spinoff (Agricola Express).

Saturday, February 12, 2011


2008 Edition
 Well, dagnabit, I done gone ahead and run ahead of myself—just finished the blog for next week’s game (The Age of Exploration) only to realize that I had yet to write up this week’s game. So I’m going to turn back on myself and then publish both at once. Lucky you!

Acquire was first published in 1962. Some have called it a classic. Certainly, being almost continuously in print for almost 50 years makes a good case. So does being in GAMES Magazine’s Hall of Fame (along with universally beloved games like Scrabble and Risk).

WEEK 6B: The Age of Exploration, 1492 - 1543

Let me start with two admissions: (1) I have only ever played this game solitaire; (2) this past week I opened the box in good faith, looked through the rules, and couldn’t face playing it again. Realizing that the time has come to sell or trade it is one of the benefits of this exercise. The other benefit is thinking about the game and what it represents to me. So read on and find out, already!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


In my Sackson-fired enthusiasm last week I erred in thinking the next game on my list was his classic Acquire—that will have to wait until next week. It is, in fact, Aces of Aces’ turn.

Ace of Aces is one of the first games I remember reading about in GAMES Magazine, which means I must have bought it in the spring or summer of 1980. I distinctly remember my first encounter with GAMES. I was having lunch with my family at one of the Hungarian restaurants that at that time dominated the stretch of Bloor Street between Spadina and Bathurst. (There is now only one left, the others having made way mainly for sushi places.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Sid Sackson is one of my wannabe uncles. (Martin Gardner is another, but that will have to wait.) Growing up reading GAMES magazine, it seemed like every other issue there was either a review of a new Sid Sackson game or (even better) an actual game in the magazine designed by Sid which you could learn, set up, and play in minutes and spend days (or weeks, or months) trying to master. (An example is Mini-Golf.)

I spent many hours with coloured pencils marking up his books Calculate, Beyond Solitaire and Beyond Competition (each of which had half a dozen original designs)—rendering these now heavily-sought out-of-print books totally unsellable but what did my ten-year-old self know? And since I wouldn’t sell them now for any price anyway, who cares?