We're a community of boardgaming enthusiasts meeting in the Kalispell area. Regular weekly gaming nights on Tuesday nights at 6:00pm!
ABOUT DESIGNER BOARDGAMES
WHAT ARE DESIGNER BOARDGAMES?
While designer boardgames originated as far back as the 1960s (Acquire, by Sid Sackson, is a venerable US published game), the modern genre originated around the late 1970s/early 1980s in Germany. Germany sells more boardgames per capita than any other country (games are reviewed just like books & movies) - thus why designer boardgames are often called German games.Nowadays, the phenomenon has spread throughout the world, including design and publication in such places as France, The Netherlands, Italy, Great Britian, Czech Republic, Poland, and even here in The United States.
This new breed has been variously labeled as Euro-, German Style-, or Designer boardgames and feature titles like Pandemic, Carcassonne, Agricola, Puerto Rico, and many thousands more. The Settlers of Catan, first published in 1995, paved the way for exposure of this genre to the U.S., and is now one of the world’s best-selling boardgames (15 Million+ copies sold).
WHO ARE INVOLVED WITH THESE BOARDGAMES?
The “designer” moniker is important in that the designers are featured prominently on the game packaging & rules. Specific designers have generated huge followings, much of it well deserved for the effort & integrity they put into developing their games. That level of influence is also noted by the various awards organizations following the boardgaming industry & player community. The Speile des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis are two of the most prominent awards given to new games each year. Also not to be missed is the center of the boardgaming universe: the annual Essen Spiel convention, where over 150,000 fans congregate to explore and play the latest in boardgaming (over 800 new games released at 2012's October show).
There are active communities of boardgamers throughout the world, many in support of local conventions that run throughout the year. Nearby conventions in Calgary, Salt Lake City, and the Seattle area are well attended events. Locally, there are organized boardgaming groups that meet regularly in Missoula, Helena, and Great Falls. Here, the Flathead Valley is a place ready to host it’s own community of boardgamers - and that'd be this group!
WHY DESIGNER BOARDGAMES?
If you've heard of them, then you already know how great they are. These new style boardgames are easy-to-understand, fully participative, fun-to-play games that go beyond what you played when you were a kid. The games are stimulating, challenging, and provide a rich gaming experience.
These are NOT your typical mainstream boardgames like Monopoly, Life, and Sorry. They also are not role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons or collectible card games like Magic the Gathering. Nor are they purely social games either (such as Apples to Apples or Pictionary).
These games are fresh, new, and stimulating strategy boardgames featuring intriguing game play mechanisms, shorter playing times, rules that are relatively easy to learn, continuous player involvement, little or no player elimination, and engaging depth of play. And, not to be forgotten, these games make you think ... sometimes a little, sometimes a lot!
HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT KIND OF BOARDGAMES TO PLAY? Games can be measured in a lot of ways. Finding the games that match your interests may be a matter of figuring out the right kind of measuring tool. As an example, style measures the genre that a particular game fits. Some typical styles include abstract, economic, diplomatic, cultural, general strategy, war scenarios, and everything in between.Weight measures the complexity of a game – how detailed the rules are, how layered is the strategy required to play the game. Some game hobbyists like games with deep levels of strategy, thus a “heavier” weight, whereas others enjoy a relaxing game that still employs decision making, but doesn’t freeze one into perpetual “analysis paralysis” (a dreaded situation to be sure!). Game mechanics references how the game is experienced through the game play design. Processes like trick taking, auctioning, tile placement, worker placement – these, and more, influence the game experience. And, then there’s the obvious popularity ranking!
So how does one know what the best fit is? The best way to start? Just play! You may be surprised by what kind of game interests you. After playing a number of these games, you will come to find that particular types of games appeal to you more than others. And that’s why a boardgaming group is so useful – you have an opportunity to try out a wide variety of games in a concentrated environment, with others who share the same interests!
WHERE DO WE GET MORE INFORMATION ON BOARDGAMES?
You can find out more about these great games at www.boardgamegeek.com. BGG is a comprehensive web site about all things related to boardgames including game reviews, player forums, lots of sample pictures, and all kinds of rating tables to give you the best idea of what games may interest you. For the latest news, another source is www.boardgamenews.com (now a part of BGG) which provides industry information, previews, and even designer interviews. And then there’s the Boardgamers Players Association at www.boardgamers.org which hosts the annual World Boardgaming Championships with over 100 boardgames represented in the tournaments. These resources can point you towards many other sites on the ‘net’. And don’t forget - you can always chat with your fellow boardgamers at the Flathead Valley Boardgaming Group!