I'm Saddened... (Board Games)


This was based on some data I learned from game publishers. They generally don’t expect a game to get played very many times by the same group. 6 plays was considered the benchmark for a game that has even the most minimal staying power, and 6-12 was the range of MOST play. 4 plays was considered pretty typical among current tabletop gamers.

No publisher really cares if their non-expanding board game can survive more than 6-12 plays, since:

  1. Very few players will ever play the game that many times
  2. Of the few who do, even fewer will actually get good enough to start to understand the game

So a balance problem or degenerate strategy that takes more than a handful of plays to find can be safely ignored unless you really want the “people in this forum” demographic.


Thank you for the clarification. That makes a lot more sense. That being said, I still wouldn’t refer to games that were only played at least 6 times as “legendary.”


On a “people in this forum” demographic note, I find it kinda hilarious that some of my friends seem to think they’ve solved a game and are done with it in like four plays. Maybe if it’s simple, but even broken games usually deserve a little more thought than that. Then they turn around and try to make their own board games and they’re incredibly broken or incredibly favor that player’s preferences (turtle players building a turtle game) and so on.


You underestimate the number of games being published and the buying habits of the average tabletop gamer. They buy a lot of games, but don’t actually play any given one that many times. At least, this is the perspective of the publishers.


If I don’t want to push for five+ plays right away it’s usually on the trade pile. Same if I notice myself avoiding it.


Dr. K has released a game that is basically T&E with HEXES


Here is the full rules PDF:

Major differences I see so far:

  • Hexes make it easier to defend against internal conflicts (aka revolts) because you can surround your leader with six tiles.
  • Even players not involved in an external conflict (aka wars) can contribute tiles to either side to help. This makes the game more political.
  • Monuments (now called pagodas) are easier to make and harder to keep. Holding them in a strong kingdom for a long time probably isn’t an easy path to victory.
  • There are 5 kinds of leaders and tiles now.
  • Leaders that are not on the board can actually do something, which should do a bit to help players from getting completely shut out, which can happen if you suck at T&E.


Wonder how close it is to being out. It is the first game going on my potential acquisitions list for PAX East’s First Look area.


I want to do a show where we fully review it based solely on the rules (like our Judge Anime by its Cover show). We can then do a followup review when we play it.


Do it! I liked the (live show version of) the Judge An Anime By Its Cover, but I’ve absolutely no interest in anime. But board games? That should be a lot of fun, and super technical.


“Judge board games by their rules” would prove somewhat interesting, and have a slight bias against games with simple core rules modified by interesting cards (which are, let’s face it, less likely to get a positive review from Geeknights anyway)



Ok, so that is obviously an Onion/satire article. But a board game where the objective is to set it up properly is not a bad idea at all.


Maybe each player knows some of the rules. It’s a co-op game.


Maybe each player knows something about their “player’s” strengths, starting position, etc… They’re trying to set up the game so “they” would “win.”


There are tiles and pawns and dice and cubes. Tons of 'em. The table starts empty.

You start the game with a color and one piece of info about your own victory condition.

Example: I am the green player. I have a card that tells me any dice set to the value “3” give me one point towards victory.

On your turn you can do one of three actions:

  1. Draw a card that gives some info about a random player’s victory condition.
  2. Place something.
  3. Move/modify something that is already placed.

Special rule: You can not touch the same piece two turns in a row. If you place a piece, you can’t touch it for two turns. If you move a piece, you can’t move it for two turns.

There will be one special kind of piece. The “clock” piece. One all X clock pieces are placed the game ends and the highest score wins.

There’s a lot going on here. You can learn about other player’s victory conditions based on the moves they make! You can bluff people out by making moves that are neutral, and get other players to waste actions undoing them. It could work.


The premise could be taken really seriously or really silly. Like how the legacy games let you change the setup pieces permanently, or more as a party game.


Look up Agra. It’s a game we’ve had in First Look at the past two PAXes. A complex euro with one of the most overproduced components I’ve ever seen:

This fucking slanted market thing, with wooden pieces that need slanted bottoms in order to not fall over. We joke that there is a secret dexterity game built into Agra. Pray that you don’t accidentally knock all that shit over.


Agra is overproduced to the extreme. I’m especially bemused by how it necessitates all of the player resource markers have one flat side (for the board) and one slanted side (for guild donations).


I think this “setup the game” game idea is going to work. It actually shares A LOT with Zendo. It could almost be considered competitive Zendo. You have to figure out the other player’s buddha natures and setup the board to be more in line with your nature than theirs.


We could prototype it with Zendo pieces. Competitive Zendo.


  1. Players have a card with their winning rule.
  2. Players have one “winning” koan and one “failed” koan in front of them reflecting their own rule
  3. At the center is a set of koans
  4. Player wins if the majority of the center koans match their winning rule

On their turn, players can do things like:

  1. Make/modify another player’s koan: they have to update its “winning” status
  2. Make/modify a koan in the center
  3. Some other action?