Articles

Articles by our editors about casual games and the board game industry.

Legacy is an upcoming roleplaying/fantasy card game by designer Erick Harding along the lines of Magic: The Gathering. We found the artwork and production quality to be very polished. Upon learning more about the history of the game, we learned some surprising facts, so we set out to hear more from the designer.

Independence is defined, roughly, as being able to do what you want, when you want, the way you want. When it comes to board gaming, this has been an impossibility for the blind and visually impaired communities for far too long. Players are stuck relying on friends and family to make the decisions for them. For the most part, it’s the decision making that makes a game. 64 Oz. Games is working to make games more accessible so blind and visually impaired players can be independent for the first time.

In the tabletop gaming world, traditional standards classify the hierarchy of gamers loosely into "non-gamers," kids/family gamers, and hardcore/hobby gamers. But in reality, there is no such thing as a "non-gamer."

Before jumping into the world of game design, I paused to consider two things. First, I thought about what types of games I would like to design.  My answer was family-friendly games. I defined family-friendly as easy enough for a child to learn, yet with enough meaningful decisions to hold an adult’s attention. I also defined family-friendly as played in an hour or less. That time limit was not just in consideration of the shorter attention span of some children, but also because of typical family schedules. Between school, homework, soccer, dance lessons, etc., even sixty unscheduled minutes for a game can be hard to come by for some families.

Unpub4 gave attendees the opportunity to playtest unpublished game prototypes with 52 different designers. Several publishers were also in attendance, and some signing announcements are already coming out following that weekend.

I grew up believing that Monopoly had been invented during the Great Depression by an unemployed man who played it around his kitchen table while dreaming of summer vacations in Atlantic City, New Jersey. So, imagine my surprise to discover a very different history while researching for my "Why I Love Monopoly" article in the Winter 2014 issue of Casual Game Insider. Here is some bonus historical material that I did not include in the magazine article.

A two-way interview between us (Chris and Melanie James of Stratus Games) and Rob Bartel, founder of Famous Games Co., about the history of our companies, the characteristics and importance of casual games, our future production plans, our game design and publishing processes, and much more.

When I think about what “casual” means, I usually envision a T-shirt with some silly pop-culture phrase emblazoned on the front or a nice family restaurant where little geeks standing up on the chairs is considered standard practice. When we consider the term in the context of games, things start to get a little cloudy. The opposite of “casual” is “formal”, but this makes zero sense in the world of tabletop games. You don’t, for example, play games formally, in business attire, in a corporate jet. Although, that would be pretty cool.

The holidays are upon us, which is great news for casual gamers! The many opportunities to gather with friends and family are perfect for playing and sharing great casual board and card games. We hope you will join us to make gaming a part of your gatherings this year!

Board games have a higher learning curve than many other forms of entertainment. Here are some ideas to reduce the barriers for both the learner and the teacher. Originally published in the Fall 2012 issue of Casual Game Insider.

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