BrettSpiel is a blog about board game design, written by game designer Brett J. Gilbert.

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BrettSpiel Board Game Reviews

In which I do a little bit of housekeeping, and create a homepage for my board game and card game reviews. Hence this is a sort of metapost which will hopefully prove its usefulness in the fullness of time.

I have so far been writing new game reviews — and posting them simultaneously on BoardGameGeek — at the rate of about one a month* and my aim in each is to look at the quality of a game’s presentation and components, and consider (some of) the most important aspects of its gameplay.

Clearly these topics can be highly subjective, so the reader is advised to seek out as many opinions as possible before doing anything rash, such as dashing out to your local store and buying a box based purely on my recommendation.**

My wider hope on these pages is to talk usefully about game design, and for me the discipline of writing about a game is a good way to explore, with a more analytical and technical eye, the mechanisms, tricks and personal touches that a designer has chosen to build into any particular design. With luck some of this insight will show through and be of interest to game players and other designers alike.***

* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Rates may go down as well as up.
** Precisely the opposite advice is also offered: that is, don’t not buy something just because I didn’t seem to like it much.
*** If not, never mind; perhaps the pictures will at least add to the gaiety of nations.

Pickomino

Designer

Reiner Knizia

Publisher

Rio Grande Games

Published

2005

Players

2–7, age 8+

Length

20 minutes

Pickomino is a simple and fast family dice game in which the players take turns to roll the dice to match the values on the 16 tiles and then stack the tiles they collect. Each tile is worth 1, 2, 3 or 4 worms, and the player with the most worms when all the available tiles have been taken is the winner! Continue reading…

Archaeology: The Card Game

Designer

Phil Harding

Publisher

Z-Man Games

Published

2007

Players

2–4, age 8+

Length

20 minutes

Archaeology: The Card Game is a quick and simple set-collecting game. The players are archaeologists digging for treasure in a somewhat windswept Egyptian desert, each hoping to collect and display the most valuable sets of artifacts. Continue reading…

Carpe Astra

Designer

Ted Cheatham & Jackson Pope

Publisher

Reiver Games

Published

2008

Players

2–4, age 10+

Length

60 minutes

Carpe Astra is a middle-weight tactical game that combines a pleasing mix of tile laying, card play, resource management and area control mechanisms in an attractive, well-produced package. Continue reading…

Ingenious

Designer

Reiner Knizia

Publisher

Kosmos

Published

2004

Players

2–4, age 10+

Length

45 minutes

Ingenious is one of Reiner Knizia’s most successful and well-known designs, and is something of a modern classic. The elegant gameplay and clean, colourful visuals makes this abstract tile-laying game ideal for both children and adults. But don’t let the apparent simplicity fool you! Continue reading…

Metro

Designer

Dirk Henn

Publisher

Queen Games

Published

1997

Players

2–6, age 8+

Length

45 minutes

Metro is a moderately light, moderately quick tile-laying game. In it each player is charged with building the longest underground train network from their stations at the edge of the board, all the while attempting to thwart the similar ambitions of the their opponents. Continue reading…

Atlas & Zeus

Designer

Bruno Cathala

Publisher

Eurogames

Published

2004

Players

2, age 10+

Length

30 minutes

Atlas & Zeus is a light, quick battle of wits in which the players fight to be the last man standing as the islands of a doomed Atlantean archipelago fall into the depths. Continue reading…

Dominion

Designer

Donald X. Vaccarino

Publisher

Rio Grande Games

Published

2008

Players

2–4, age 10+

Length

30 minutes

Dominion has been a smash-hit amongst Eurogamers since its publication last year, rising quickly to its current position at number 6 in BGG’s rankings; an impressive debut for Donald! Continue reading…

Marrakech

Designer

Dominique Ehrhard

Publisher

Gigamic

Published

2007

Players

2–4, age 6+

Length

30 minutes

Marrakech is a quick and light game of dice rolling and carpet laying in which you attempt to manoeuvre Assam the carpet merchant around the local souk, laying your own coloured carpets as you go, and hoping to gain payouts should your opponents have the misfortune to land on them. Continue reading…

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