Noel

Independent game designer and programmer. Runner. Cyclist. Nature enthusiast. Magic addict. @noel_llopis.

Best Board Games of 2015

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My tastes in board games are always evolving and changing, and 2015 was a very different year that marked a turning point for me. Looking at my play statistics, it’s clear that something changed: I played fewer games than in previous years, and, most importantly, I played many fewer new games than other years.

2015 was the year when I started focusing on playing more often the games I loved, and stopped chasing after trying all the hot new games.

Towards the end of 2014 it dawned on me that most new board games I was playing were ranging from bad to just OK, and only a selected few made it into the good or very good category. So why was I spending so much time and energy playing new games? It’s not like I had played the old ones too much and was done with them. As a matter of fact, I was frustrated with how little I was playing them, and how, if I only play a game once every six months or a year, I’m basically starting over from scratch. So I was always playing games at a very superficial level, without being able to get deeper into them. Not to mention it’s a pleasure to pull out a game and not have to worry about reading or explaining the rules!

2015 was the year of depth for me.

Of course depth comes at the cost of breath, so when it comes time to make a best-of list for 2015, I don’t have nearly as many different games to draw on as other years. Because of that, I’ll limit my list to just 3 games.

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State of the Blog

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When was the last time I wrote something in this blog? It was a while ago. Hmm… Let me check.

Yikes! It was over a year ago! That’s probably the longest gap ever in the history of this blog. What happened? And most importantly for the two of you still reading, what’s going to happen over here?

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Noel’s Best Board Games of All Time – 2014 Edition

There is no doubt that my game tastes are changing over time. Last year I was very much in love with point-salad games, and now I’m craving games with interesting player interactions or economic systems. This list is my attempt at capturing my top 20 favorite games at the end of 2014. It should be very interesting to compare it with the 2015 edition and see what has changed.

This list was inspired by Casualgod’s 3rd Annual Top 20 Games of All Time. David and I have a lot of overlapping tastes, so if you like what you see here, make sure you check out his list as well. Continue reading

Best Board Games of 2013

Looking back, 2013 continued my trend of diving deeper in board games, both playing and designing them. It’s no coincidence that Subterfuge, the game I’m working on with Ron Carmel, has very strong board game influences. I’ll talk more in a future post about the design part, what kind of games I tried making and which ones I’m still working on. This post will focus on the best games I played that came out on 2013. Continue reading

Luck In Games

The amount and type of luck involved in a game has a profound impact on the feel of that game. Some games have no luck whatsoever, and all the variation comes from what the opponent does (chess), some of them are all about luck with not much else (roulette), and most of them fall somewhere in between, creating a wide spectrum of possible experiences.

We don’t talk much about the role of luck in video games, probably because it’s hidden away under the black box of the computer simulation, but just like with board games, it can have have a large impact in the type of experience the video game provides.

Thinking about luck in these terms was crucial for the game I’m working on (still unannounced!). We made some crucial decisions thinking about how luck was part of the game and kind what kind of experience it created for the player. I’m hoping this post helps people with similar design challenges.

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