I'm Saddened... (Board Games)


My idea I think is almost mathematically identical, but more accessible and less abstract in terms of components and layout.


Oh, yeah. I only use Zendo because that is the simplest way to prototype the concept and make sure it’s fun.

I’ll write the rules this weekend. It’s easier than Grease the Wheels.


I already wrote them, mostly.


For the 2 of you who like to shop for generic games for the collection, here is the list of soon to be closing toy r us stores.


A game game. We’re only one step away from a game game game!


“Trying to learn the rules for a random-rolled game in 504.”


I had an idea for a Benjuka inspired game. The rules are all written on the board but when a piece covers the rule it no longer applies. I tried writing it but it blew my mind instantly and utterly defeated me.



I have discovered the most Scott Rubin board game component ever:

This is called The King’s Plunger, and it is used to pluck tiles off a dual-layered board to reveal stuff beneath them.


You have my permission to touch my plunger.


I think I used to have one of those…


It wasn’t called The King’s Plunger, though, was it now?


you’ve got me there


Latest episode of Heavy Cardboard is with David Short, talking about a second edition of…GROUND FLOOR. This one done in collaboration with Spielworxxx, whom I really trust to fix up a game. We shall see…


Spielworxx has a mixed track record for me (I like Solarius Mission, but they really did cock up the components and rules presentation) Now I need to listen to that interview.

Random aside, this year I nominated two podcasts for golden geek awards: Heavy Cardboard and… Geeknights with Rym + Scott.


Part of me wants geeknights to win the big podcast award just to see the big reaction to it.


Can’t win a popularity awards if nobody knows who you are.


No idea if John Company is a Geeknights game (we only played half of it last night), but it’s probably a good Geeknights review.

The game makes you run the East India Company from the inside… every player has family members in offices with a job to do; Presidents run the branch offices in Bengal or Bombay or Madras. Director of Trade plays quartermaster with all the ships and goods. Chairman has to allocate all the funds (and the court of directors is filled with players’ family members, and definitely expects you to pay dividends). Vacancies get promoted up from within, so if you ran the military affairs office this turn you might have the Bengal presidency next turn.

It’s not a eurogame, you’re not running an engine. You’re negotiating to get your family members cushy jobs in the Company so when they retire to polite society they get jobs at a political newspaper or get married. You need to get the director of trade to send ships and goods to your cousin in Bengal, in return for putting their brother in the governor’s office. Bengal needs a governor because the Company sent an entire army to secure the region last round.

And then he’s probably going to keep all the tax money for himself anyway. Weddings cost a lot of money.

Players own factories, shipyards, military officers… all this infrastructure that the Company uses, and the same players are deciding or negotiating where to buy the ships, who to put in charge of the armies etc. And at the end of the round when you draw an event card some new law comes up to a vote civ-style. More political power in London means more votes. Everyone has to scramble and drop a bunch of cash to make sure you don’t single-handedly petition parliament to enact a law that makes factories worth endgame points.

Pretty much everything the Presidents can do to make the Company money is dependent on a dice pool mechanic that feels like building a dice pool in Burning Wheel. You agonize over how much company money to spend financing the fleet this turn. Three dice is way better than one die, but five dice isn’t that much better. Sometimes crazy shit happens in India, maybe Mysore invades Bombay, and you wonder if things might be easier if you just stationed police everywhere to keep things quiet.

Basically a mix of conflicting/shared interests, changes in the game state, and dice. It’s possible to play well, we just didn’t.

Recent Board Gaming

A little late to the news on this one but here is an interesting list of books about the hobby.



The more I read about John Company the more I think this is something MBA Students should be playing and/or studying as part of their degree program.