Anatomy of a Game: Blue Moon

Blue MoonTwo weeks ago, Joe Gola published a review of Blue Moon, Reiner Knizia’s customizable card game. It’s been a game that’s been on my mind lately too. This week I ‘d like to take a step beyond Joe’s introduction (for which, see his article, or else my own review of the game), and instead dig a little deeper to discover what really makes Blue Moon tick, starting with a look at how it really is acustomizable auction game, not a CCG.

Blue Moon as an Auction

In my overview of Reiner Knizia I made the contention that most of his games are actually auction games, but from the comments on that article I could tell that my point wasn’t entirely clear. Fortunately, Blue Moon offers a terrific example of how an otherwise unique-looking game can be based on pure auction mechanics.

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Three Collaborative Designers: Faidutti, Colovini & Schacht

Back in December I wrote an article on three game designers, and I’ll cop to lining up the usual suspects: Knizia, Kramer, and Teuber. They were easy to write about because I’ve played a slew of their games and I’ve played them many times.

I always intended that article to be the start of a series, however, and I was even more excited about writing about designers who weren’t quite as well known as the big three, because they’ve been less written about, and thus there’s more opportunity to be clever, insightful, and original.

This week I’ve decided to write about three collaborative designers, who also happen to come from three different countries: Bruno Faidutti (France), Leo Colovini (Italy), and Michael Schacht (Germany). They also all appear pretty centrally on my Six Degrees of Collaboration chart, with Colovini & Faidutti being two of the larger foci in the chart. (Writing this article was actually what got me started on that chart, which then took on a life of its own.)

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Games to Watch For: Nurnberg ’06

The Eurogaming year is centered on two points. Toward the end of the year we get the huge consumer show at Essen, and then in February we get the Nurnburg Toy Fair. Nurnberg is a different sort of show than Essen. It’s not open to the public, and there are more prototypes shown off, which might not become actual games for many months. Nonetheless, there’s cool stuff to be seen.

Last year in October I wrote about the newest releases at Essen, and now I’m going to follow that up with Nurnberg ’06: a look at a new set of games that may be making their way to us between now and … next Essen. As before, I’ve picked my top ten, mostly focusing on gamer’s games, with my top contenders marked with a star(*).

I should note that, as I commented on in my year-end round-up, much of the gaming fare continues to get lighter. Many of the games I selected are on the light-to-medium side of things, and many designers who have done heavier work in the past are emphasizing lighter games now. Over at BoardGameNews, a translated Nurnberg report seems to make the same point.
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Six Degrees of Collaboration

“Reiner Knizia,” Eric said.

We were at DunDraCon, working our way through a yearly alcoholic binge, and at the same time playing the newest geek-game, Six Degrees of Bruno Faidutti. I knew Eric thought he had me stumped, and not just because of the quirky smirk on his face. He knew — hell, we all knew — that Reiner Knizia had clearly and publicly stated that he didn’t do collaborations. He appreciated the heck out of his playtesters, but his core designs were his and his alone.

But I had something in my back pocket — a pair of serial collaborations that were easily overlooked. I’d been hoarding them all night waiting for just this opportunity.

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