The Expansion Game, Part One: The History

What was the first gaming expansion? I’m sure that if you looked back to the 1930s and 1940s you could find some amateur Monopoly supplements.  Likewise, I wouldn’t be surprised if amateur Diplomacy supplements appeared in the 1960s. For professional publications, it’s obvious that things got going even later. You can find some linked games as early as 1973, when GDW began their “Europa” series. SPI’s North Africa Quad of four games similarly appeared in 1976. However, the surge of true gaming expansions appeared in 1977, when SPI put out its two supplements for War of the Ring and Avalon Hill supplemented their Win, Lose & Show game.

I’m sure there’s a few scattered earlier expansions that one could dredge up, and I welcome your comments on them, but I think that 1977 is a pretty good starting point for when gaming expansions became a professional business.

And, as part of an overall look at expansions in gaming, I’m going to tell you why. Continue reading

Brass Tacks

BrassFor a while, I was playing quite a few Martin Wallace games. I haven’t exactly left them behind, as I’m still happy to play a new Wallace offering when it’s put on the table, but I’m less likely to actively seek them out now. I think I discovered that he was more logistical and mathy than I generally like. In any case, this was one of my very few strategy articles, probably encouraged by the fact that I’d just started writing at BGN and wanted to dazzle the audience. It’s also the first of several articles about Wallace’s designs —SA, 3/15/15


Brass was Martin Wallace’s last board game release of 2007. Moving away from his war gaming themes of recent years, Brass instead returns Wallace to his most successful area of design: logistical gaming. This time he’s focused the game on his native Britain, detailing the Industrial Revolution in Lancashire—which is to say northwestern England.

I was really wowed by Brass when I first played it. It’s rare that a game of this length and complexity has me returning for more, but the economic modeling and strategies of Brass are both unique enough that I thought they deserved the attention. And thus it’s those exact two topics that I’m going to be looking into in more depth today.

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Greatest Hits

Following the initial run of the Gone Gaming group blog from 2005-2007, the remaining members of the blog moved over to news site BoardGameNews to contribute columns and reviews starting in January 2008. This was the first of my gaming articles for BGN, which was a reminder of who I was and a listing of some of my top articles to that date.
—SA, 3/14/15


Hello to Boardgame News! I’ve been writing about board and card games for a few years now, over at Gone Gaming, with those articles all soon to be available on BGN itself. However, since there are doubtless people here who haven’t seen the GG articles, I thought I’d use this first entry of 2008 to introduce myself and my work.

First, about myself. I’m a writer and a computer programmer. Professionally I run the Skotos Online Game site as well as entertainment site RPGnet. Game design has always been one of my interests. I have a long running column about computer game design, and when I started writing board & card game reviews, game design and analysis were my focuses there too. Not surprisingly, game design has been a focus in my Gone Gaming articles, but you’ll also find reviews, rants, and looks at the industry.

What follows are three of my favorite articles (or series) from the last two hand a half years.
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