Aside from my day job documenting the cutting-edge finance technology at Ripple, I've been fortunate enough to be contracted by Fantasy Flight Games as a contributor for several books in their Star Wars role-playing line. Working with them has been an absolute pleasure, so I figured I'd share some of the writing and development credits I've earned.
The only basis for good Society is unlimited credit.Oscar Wilde1
While working in the world of digital finance, I've come to realize that most people aren't really aware of how money truly works. I mean, people have some knowledge of how they use it, but the lack of deeper understanding becomes a real problem when you try to explain how digital money works — no comparison makes sense if you're lost on both sides of the equation. To amend that issue, allow me to share some shocking truths about so-called real money that I've pieced together while investigating the mysteries of digital cryptocurrency.
I've previously discussed the excellent board game 7 Wonders, and my thoughts on the game's strategy. As part of that post, I asserted that the various Wonder boards, while they do make an impact on the game, are usually not the determining factor in who wins or loses. That said, in any game with variable player powers, there are bound to be inequalities, and a tier listing is inevitable. Thus, in this post I present my take on the different Wonder boards, discussing each side individually, and create a general tier listing out of all of them. My list includes all the boards released up to this point including the base set, Leaders and Cities expansions, the official Wonder Pack, and the promotional Catan wonder. I do not rate the promo version of Mannekin Pis, since the version contained in the Wonder Pack is a very similar, rebalanced version.
7 Wonders is a wonderful game, a civilization builder set in ancient times powered by a drafting mechanic that's elegant but extremely deep. Best of all, it plays quickly with anywhere from three to a whopping seven players, thanks to the powers of simultaneous play. The expansions, Leaders and Cities, and the Wonder Pack mini-expansion, add more variety while not changing the game much — something that sits well with me since it keeps the game fresh but keeps the burden on new players relatively low. It also means that the expansions haven't (thus far) revolutionized the game strategy, which is nice for experienced players and strategy bloggers (ha!). Hence, it's something I've played plenty, and I'm excited to discuss my strategies for the game and thoughts on how to play well. For clarity's sake: I will not be addressing the 2-player variant, nor the team variant introduced by the Cities expansion, since I have not played enough of either.
I play a lot of board games, especially Eurogames, and one thing that grinds my gears (no, not Tzolk'in gears) is that too many people don't know how to make effective decisions for playing to win. That's why I'm starting this series on how to play board games (and card games) well. In doing so, I hope to pin down and share some of the patterns that help me decide what to do. There's always the possibility that this will just lead to more analysis paralysis as people consider every move thoroughly, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.
For the first installment, I'm going to cover basic principles and ideas. Not all of these will apply to every game, but I'll try to strike a balance where they're specific enough to use in some games, but not limited to a single game.
It's been just over 5 years since this site's last overhaul, and once again much has changed in that interval. Unlike last time, those events have been catalogued on this very blog, although as always I am not consistent enough in posting. Pleasantly, I find that things here in the world wide web are changing much more rapidly now, and generally for the better. Looking back, I have a great respect for the forces prompting the modern web revolution. Back in 2008 when I last redesigned the site, standards advocates and better browsers had finally ousted the hated tyrant from power, and the concept of a 'smart phone' was barely starting to take hold. HTML5 was a giant soup of diffuse elements trying to consolidate themselves into a standard. The web was slowly crawling out of a dark age.
Thank goodness things have changed.