I'm Saddened... (Board Games)


How much blood are they going to try to squeeze from this stone? Is Vast the new Carcassonne?


Maybe Leder will make more, but it’s definitely not the new Carcassonne. Vast has a small, small fraction of the player base of other games that have been turned into franchises. Compare the number of ratings for these “parent games” with standalone followups on BGG:

77000 - The Settlers of Catan (Elasund, Candamir, Starship Catan, Star Trek Catan, Catan Geographies…)
77000 - Carcassonne (Hunters + Gatherers, The City, The Castle)
74000 - Pandemic (Legacy, The Cure, Contagion)
29000 - Terra Mystica (Gaia Project: A Terra Mystica Game)
14000 - One Night Ultimate Werewolf (One Night Ultimate Vampire, One Night Ultimate Alien, One Night Resistance)
13000 - Zombicide (Black Plague, Season 2, Green Horde, Invader)
12000 - Sentinels of the Multiverse (Sentinel Tactics)
8000 - The Manhattan Project (Energy Empire, Chain Reaction, Manhattan Project 2)
3000 - Vast: The Crystal Caverns (The Mysterious Manor)

Even if you take these numbers with a grain of salt (# of ratings on BGG doesn’t necessarily correlate to # of games sold worldwide) it’s safe to say Vast is not the new Carcassonne by any measure; there are probably a dozen games that could lay better claim to that title.

I actually suspect Vast sold to a lot of people that didn’t play it or didn’t play it in public. Manhattan Project has 8000 ratings and 10000 owners on BGG (the ratio is around .8), but Vast has 3000 ratings and 7200 owners (~.4). It’s a really difficult game to teach to new players, I bet they’re going to include a two round walkthrough script with the new game like they were testing with Root at PAX East.


I mean, they made this just for you:


Let’s go stabby!


Best geeknights YouTube channel to watch?


These look fun, especially the bribing one. I will go read the rules on BGG.


Got Agricola Family Edition and noticed that points were represented in the rules by “shields”. Thinking about it I’m sure shields=points in loads and loads of games, Puerto Rico, Dominion, Carcasonne…

How did that become a thing? What’s the earliest example of victory points being represented by shields?


Make your own Spot-It



Carcasone is going to be on the switch later this year.


OMG Look at the ridiculously good artwork on these old Japanese board games made by Bandai.


This is my fav:


There’s our new GN logo


I would be happy renaming the podcast to Skull Mountain, but that’s already the name of a roller coaster among other things.


Had an idea for “Benjuka Junior”, a simplified version of the game played by Xinemus and Achamian in the Prince of Nothing books. I’ve just thrown it together without any real testing.


The rules are all printed on the board but if a piece covers a rule up by occupying the space the rule no longer applies (because looking at the board you can’t read it).

It looks like one problem is that the game could create a dance of pieces moving in patterns such that the game doesn’t end and there’s no reason to do anything differently. The game is solvable so something has got to give.

Another problem is that I haven’t made up my mind is whether you can make an illegal move to cover up the square that makes the move illegal. Like retreating onto the “no retreating” square. And how would I communicate that sort of subtlety using text on the board that could be covered up?


You could always rule that the board state doesn’t change until a player removes their hand from the piece or the next player’s turn. Any “global” rules could always be put on the edge of the board.


Yeah, but there’s something about the elegant simplicity of having all the rules on the board that is very attractive, and in keeping with the feel of an ancient game.

If you wanted to go that route, it might be better to replace the rules text with unique symbols, and have a separate symbol reference and small rules sheet. That would let you have all the rules written somewhere, but during play you would only have the elegant simplicity.


I feel that the real Benjuka wouldn’t have any hard and fast written rules.


It also means a symbol’s meaning could change in the course of the game.


I forget: in the books, does benjuka have only one piece per side, or is it supposed to be a large-scale game?

If you use multiple pieces, you might consider drawing some inspiration from rithmomachy, a historical game first mentioned in the 11th century. It’s chess-like with an added element of mathematical principles. Basically, capturing pieces revolves around arranging your pieces on the board such that you fulfill some mathematical principle with the piece to be captured, and winning involves both capturing a king and physical arrangement of some of your pieces.

This is not a case of the rules per se changing based on positioning, but rather the value and utility of each piece changing according to its placement against other pieces. So sort of that “rules change when you move” idea, but tied to the pieces and not the board.

Here’s a couple of different sets of reconstructed rules in case you’re interested, and also a 16th century text describing the game (though have fun interpreting that shit).


[quote=“thewhaleshark, post:198, topic:206”]
I forget: in the books, does benjuka have only one piece per side, or is it supposed to be a large-scale game?[/quote]

Yeah, it was definitely multiple pieces per side but my first attempt at doing a game like that quickly ran into problems where I couldn’t tell what missing rules would fundamentally break the game. For example covering up the “taking turns” square allowed for real abuse for the action of a second token.


Makes sense. Distill the idea down to its simplest possible form first, then figure out how to add complexity from there.