The Anatomy of Racing Games: What Makes a Great Race

Racing games are the least common denominator of board games. Candyland (1949) certainly isn’t a well-respected game nor are other roll-and-move games. However, there are also plenty of modern racing eurogames which are great. I’ve got quite a few of them in my permanent collection, including Around the World in 80 Days (2004), Cartagena (2000), Fast Flowing Forest Fellers (2008)The Quest for El Dorado (2017), and Snow Tails (2008).

So what makes the difference?

I think six different attributes contribute to great racing game play — elements that have largely appeared since the eurogame explosion of the ’90s. I’ve listed them here in decreasing order of importance. Great racing games don’t usually have all of them; in fact, that’d probably be too much! But the really good racing games tend to feature several of these attributes, particularly the higher ranked ones. Continue reading

The Problem with Luck

I am sick to death of people complaining about luck in their board games.

OK, fine, if you can’t stand luck at all, and you spend your life playing Chess in a hermetically sealed bubble, I won’t complain. That’s your call.

But this article is for the rest of you, who happily draw cards, pick tiles, and maybe even (heaven forbid) roll dice in your favorite games — who do all these things, but then complain about the newest BeowulfSettlers, or Louis XIV, because it’s trendy to do so, and all the cool kids are. I’m sick to death of people complaining about luck in their board games because, simply enough, most people don’t understand how randomness actually works and don’t understand how moderating luck is an important game skill.

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