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board game links

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

It occurred to me the other day that I ought to share my ever-growing collection of board-game related links.  I’ll try to keep them fairly well organized, and I’ll try to stick to ones that are particularly useful.  If the post proves popular enough, I’ll make a more permanent version of it available in the menu bar.

Without further ado, here are the best gaming-related links I’ve found.  If you have any other gaming-related links you’d like to share, please include them in the comments.

General Info about board games

BoardGameGeek.  The granddaddy of them all, and the hub of the board game scene on the net.  A great many of the other links listed below will be related to BGG in some way, whether by offering a new / different / better way to interact with the site, a way to aggregate information from the site, &c.  It’s the best, and the one place to go if you want to learn more about board games.

The Spiel des Jahres.  This is the Wikipedia page listing all the Spiel des Jahres winners and runners-up.  A good place to go if you’re looking for entry-level family-friendly strategy games.

2011 board game gift guide.  The 2011 edition of BGG’s board game gift guide.  You really can’t go wrong with the games on this list.

Bruno Faidutti’s ideal game library.  Bruno Faidutti is an excellent designer, and this is his list of good games — definitely worth checking out.

Buying board games

BoardGamePrices.  Search a bunch of online retailers all at once to try to find the best price.  Also handy for finding some games (like Ra, Steam, &c.) on some vendors’ web sites.

BoardGameSearch.  Another way to search multiple sites for the games you want.  I don’t like the interface quite as well, but I know some folks prefer it.

Boards and Bits.  My favorite online retailer.  If they have the game(s) you’re looking for, they’ll likely be the cheapest.  $2 shipping for any order over $98.

CoolStuffInc.  My second-favorite online retailer.  A bigger selection, but slightly higher prices.  Free shipping over $100.

Spielboy.  Say you want to buy a game from the BGG marketplace, but you don’t want to pay too much for it.  Sure, you can use the “Market Info” function in BGG itself, but I don’t find that particularly helpful.  Spielboy plots out all the purchase data so you can see how the price has varied over time — just type in “ticket to ride: switzerland” to see how the market crashed for that game when the new map collections came out.

Amazon.  Sure, everybody knows they sell books, but did you know they sell games, too?  ;-)  Seriously, their prices aren’t too bad, they tend to carry the more mainstream games, and you get free shipping over $25 on many items.

Handy tips and tricks

Tricks of the Geek and More Tricks of the Geek.  These geeklists are chock-full of tips for getting the most out of BoardGameGeek.

And, since I’m not sure where to put this next geeklist, I’ll put it here.  It’s called “Software Tools for Board Games, RPG’s, and BGG,” and that pretty much sums it up.  Various apps for a number of platforms that help you choose a game to play, choose a start player, calculate final scores, search BGG, create tuckboxes, roll a pair of virtual dice, &c.

Board game design

Board Game Designers Forum.  A forum dedicated to — you guessed it — board game design.  :-)

There’s also the Board Game Design forum on BGG.

Prototyping and / or building Print-and-Play games

How to make your own prototypes.  Lots of good suggestions on this Print-and-Play wiki page on BGG.

Which games to buy at thrift stores just for the components.  Want a bunch of bits so you can make your own board games, but you don’t want to break the bank?  Get the pieces you need by cannibalizing other board games.  Just don’t do it with Jati. :-)

Game Prototyping Tools.  A geeklist on BGG devoted to resources for people making their own games.  Other threads have covered similar ground:  build me a prototyping toolbox and help me build my print-and-play aresenal.

Also, a number of posts have been devoted to making specific types of components:  custom dice, circular tokens and counters, and professional-looking cards.  Personally, I just print my cards on card stock and sleeve them, but I know some folks want better results than that.

I’ve heard that Rolco Games, GameParts, Mr. Chips, and EAI Education are good sources for prototype parts, but I’ve never actually bought from them.  Spotlight on Games has a good list of component sources, as does this thread.  I’ve personally bought a number of things from jspassnthru on eBay, and I’ve found them to be reliable.

The best graphic design program for board game creation is without a doubt Inkscape.  It’s a vector-based graphics editor, it’s free, it’s cross-platform, and it’s also extensible.  Pelle Nilsson has created a number of useful extensions for it that are board-game-specific.

A BGG list of graphic design tools has links to graphics editors, fonts, clipart, and pdf-related tools.

Software versions of board games

Sebastian Sohn’s SoftBoard games.  A huge list of board games that can be played using the computer.  Some are Windows-based, some are Mac-based, some are Linux-based, some are flash-based, some are java-based, &c.  I wouldn’t necessarily trust all the links (anyone can add to the list), but if you exercise basic caution, you can find a ton of good software renditions of board games.  He also made a shorter, distilled list, though I’m not entirely sure what criteria were used to boil the list down.

Matthew Marquand has created a number of online implementations of existing games with AI:  Ingenious, Callisto, Clans, Coloretto, and Lexio.

Print-and-Play Games

A number of geeklists have tried to separate the wheat from the chaff in the wild-and-wooly world of print-and-play games:  PNP games people actually play, PNP games that might be worth printing, top 20 PNP games with at least 50 ratings, ranked PNP games, PNP freebies that are worth the effort, and excellent PNP games.  There’s also the wiki page devoted to PNP game suggestions.

Or, if you’re a glutton for punishment, here’s the canonical list.

Of course, four of the best can be found right here on BoardGameForgeScatterLand, Euronimoes, Wargame, and Horsefeathers.  :-)

Print & Play Productions makes and sells PNP games, and he also sells individual components.

Print-and-Play websites

Superior POD is a print-on-demand site, as is The Game Crafter.  Matt Worden’s Jump Gate (Games Magazine’s 2011 Game of the Year) was originally published on The Game Crafter.

Free expansions

Often, game publishers make expansions available at no cost if you’re willing to print them yourself.  There have been several geeklists devoted to these freebies:  Free PnP Expansions and Free Print and Play Expansions.

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