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

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LEGO Games Goes to Hogwarts!

This game isn’t news of course, either to the boardgame industry or to me, but I just wanted to share these great images of the forthcoming LEGO Games release Harry Potter Hogwarts — and at the same time offer a grateful tip of the hat to Huw Millington at Brickset for tracking them down in the first place.

So let’s recap: this is a boardgame, made of LEGO, about Harry Potter — it is therefore something of a perfect storm of unalloyed geekiness to the right sort of geek.

Someone like me, for example.

Plus, I am in the very fortunate position of having already played a late prototype of the game, and am very happy to confirm that it really is a whole lot of fun. The board itself is fantastic, and, just like those pesky Hogwarts’ staircases, actually moves around, twisting and sliding to create an ever-changing route through Hogwarts. It’s a great mechanism for any game, but in this case the elegant, tactile precision and weighty, engineered three-dimensionality of the board — in short, its essential ‘LEGO-ness’ — makes the experience incredibly satisfying and engaging, and quite literally a world away from anything a more traditional cardboard implementation of the same game could possibly have achieved.

Harry Potter Hogwarts is one of four new LEGO Games coming this autumn, along with Meteor Strike, Orient Bazaar and Atlantis Treasure (all of which have already been handily catalogued by Huw).

I have played prototypes of all four, and can genuinely recommend each and every one, but Harry Potter Hogwarts has to be my favourite. I have no insider knowledge about the release schedule, or in which international markets in 2010 the games will be released, but my guess is that Harry Potter Hogwarts, at the very least, will be worldwide. There is the small matter of the first part of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie coming along in November, after all.

Last year I reported on the impending launch of the LEGO Games, and later got the low-down on the development process from LEGO’s lead designer Cephas Howard. Since then I have been extremely lucky to meet the design team and discover more about the great games yet to come… about which I must be duly tight-lipped.

To quote River Song: “Spoilers!”

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Boardgaming on TV: The IT Crowd

Tonight’s episode of The IT Crowd included a nod to the modern boardgaming community in the shape of a nice pile of boardgames stacked on the shelves at the back of the set. As can be clearly seen above, the titular computer geeks appear to be particular fans of the Days of Wonder catalogue, but also enjoy the odd bout of War on Terror, from the UK’s own TerrorBull Games. [Screenshot from 4oD]


Two for His Heels!

I am loving these custom Cribbage boards from Canadian supplier Cribscapes, which remind me that I don’t play Cribbage nearly as much as I used to.

And if you’ve never played the game then you will have missed out enjoying some of its more arcane charms. Let’s face it, any game in which you have the opportunity to sporadically exclaim “One for his knob!” simply never gets old.


A Hand of Helveticards

Designed by Ryan Myers, a brand designer from the US, these fantastic playing cards are an exemplar of that rarest of creative techniques: a good idea well executed. Fancy a pack? Fortunately they are more than a mere concept design and are actually available for purchase — a snip at $10!

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