Gift Giving Mechanics in Games

1257675768969338833secretlondon_red_present.svg.medLast week I offered up a gift guide for Christmas giving. This week I’m going to continue the seasonal theme by looking at gift-giving as a game mechanic.

Sure, it’s hard to fashion pure gift-giving into a mechanic, because in that pure form it’s theoretically altruistic — offered with no expectation of recompense. But, that isn’t how gift-giving really works, especially not when it gets wound up into societal holidays like Christmas, where gift-giving becomes an expectation.

When you add expectations and recompense in to the idea of gift-giving, then you have something more like a game mechanic. I’m thus going to look at the few games I know of that have used these various elements … Continue reading

Shannon’s Christmas ’12 Gift-Giving Guide

Christmas is just around the corner. If you haven’t already picked up presents for your family and friends … it’s getting down to the wire. To help the process along, I wanted to offer what I hope will be the first in an annual series of board-game gift-giving guides.

I’ve mostly focused on games from the last year or two, with a few references to older releases. Everything’s organized by the type of gamer you’re giving to, with the caveat that most of my suggestions are euro games — which means somewhat more strategic and somewhat more abstract.

If there are any other great games from recent years that belong on this list, please tell me about them in the comments below, along with the type of gamer that you’d give them to. Continue reading

Life Lessons from Board Games

Everything I needed to know about life, I learned from board games.

7 Wonders taught me that it’s good to hit someone before they hit you, and that it’s even better to go after a totally helpless opponent who has no aspirations toward conflict.

Aeroplanes taught me that we should wait around forever in the hope that multinational megacorps will eventually give us what we want.

Age of Steam taught me to take stuff from other people even if I’m going to put it to considerably worse use.

Around the World in 80 Days taught me that game titles can be very deceptive — or at least not good goals if you want to win.

Continue reading