Board Game News

An ancient board game was unearthed in Slovakia. The Peter Principle can be applied to the game of poker. An extravagant airbnb caters to gamers. All of these topics and more will be discussed in this month’s installments of…

Around the World of Board Gaming: February 2018

1. Mainstream media is still catching up

Wall Street Journal logo
Wall Street Journal logo

Newsflash: board games are popular! This may not be the lede for long time members of the Muskegon Area Gamers. But we are on the cutting edge. Some mainstream media are still catching up. I’ll give them a pass because they are covering our beloved hobby.

A couple of recent articles drew my attention. The first is from the Wall Street Journal. The Daily Diary of the American Dream wrote about five games which you should seriously consider as alternatives to Monopoly. The list includes 13 Minutes. This is a slimmed down version of 13 Days which is a slimmed down version of Twilight Struggle. They also mentioned Memoir ’44, 1960: the Making of the President and Freedom: the Underground Railroad. That’s a nice cache of games!

Not to be outdone, The Atlantic also covered board games in their business section. This article is a good history of modern board games. The 1,700 word article discusses several themes: Eurogames, Ameritrash, and Spiel des Jahres. The article also drops many names: El Grande, Power Grid, Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan. This is a very good (and thorough) article for the uninitiated. It’s satisfying to see our hobby get the positive news coverage it deserves.

2. Ancient board game fascinates archeologists

Ancient Roman board game
Ancient Roman board game

An excavation of a 4th Century tomb in Slovakia has yielded an incomplete board game. And it’s the subject of an actual archaeology review.  In order to better understand the subject, archaeologists turned to a board game expert from Switzerland.

Ulrich Schädler is a curator of a board game museum and an editor of Board Game Studies, a peer reviewed journal. He was tapped by the archaeology community to reveal the game’s secrets. Figuring out how to play a game when you have the English rules in hand is often a struggle. Imagine how difficult it is to piece the rules together when there are no rules, no mention of the game in the historic record and the game is missing pieces. Mr. Schädler is the best person for this Herculean task. As his research is published, I’ll post about here in this blog.

3. Bed & Breakfast & Board Games

Great Escape Lakeside AirBnB
Great Escape Lakeside AirBnB

The Gaming Annex crew rents a cabin once a year and has a mini game convention. Dubbed “CabinCon”, our budding group is boasting almost a dozen gamers for this 4 day extravaganza.

It seems our idea has been stolen by some industrious folks in Clermont, Florida. Named the Great Escape Lakeside, this mansion could house several of our CabinCons. It’s 13 bedrooms in size, sleeps a staggering 43 people and has a different board game theme in each room.

Monopoly room
Monopoly room

The amenities include 10 acres of gaming fun. Video games, billiards, foosball and as many board games as you imagine. The price is as exorbitant as the amenities: $1,400 a night.

The likelihood our crew will make it to this gaming Mecca is quite small. But I’m going to add it to my Holy Grail list.

4. Interesting article about Poker

Muskegon loves itself some Poker, especially Texas Hold 'em tourneys.
Poker

Poker got a huge boon in the early 2000’s. With the advent of the internet and the broadcasting of the World Series of Poker, suddenly everyone and their brother thought he could play poker. The fad has died down a bit because it takes some serious chops to play poker professionally.

There are echelons of poker playing. The low limit or small blind games. And from there you can go to $100 or even $1,000 blind games. A recent article looked at these echelons as “work place promotions”. You start at one level, an entry level poker player. Then move up from there. And if you look at it from this point of view, the Peter Principle applies.

The Peter Principle states that employees will be promoted until they have reached a level of incompetence–and then they will stay at that incompetent level. Stated another way, employees are evaluated based upon their current position instead of the promoted position. And based on this criteria, the Peter Principle applies to poker.

Many poker players would win at a low level and then promote themselves to the next level. As the stakes increased, the competition improved from amateur to professional and eventually to world class. If you are good at the amateur level, you might believe you can compete at a professional level. If you cannot, human psychology might make you dig in your heels and stick it out instead of demoting yourself to your actual level of competence.

The author’s epilogue is cautionary:

Poker isn’t a lot of fun for any of us when the Peter Principle kicks in. We’re taking our licks and losing our money — neither of which is very much fun. So keep a good log of your wins and losses so you can find that sweet spot that’s just right for you.

Closer to Home

Out of the Box Games in Zeeland
Out of the Box Games in Zeeland

Out of the Box is starting their 2018 membership drive. You buy $150 worth of games and you get your full discount on the purchase and you get your $25/year membership fee waived. The drive will be continuing for several weeks so you still have time to make a trip. I know I’ll be making the Out of the Box hajj soon.

Scythe from Ghenos Games
Scythe from Ghenos Games

Our Nick Sima went to Griffin’s Rest recently to hold a Scythe Demo. This was our 2nd joint event with the cool new store on 3rd Street. To his amazement, Nick Sima discovered someone other than he owned a copy of the game! On a related note, our next joint venture will be in late February, probably on a Thursday. Check local listings for dates and times.

851 W. Laketon Avenue 49441 The Gaming Annex
The (New) Gaming Annex

Meanwhile, back at The Gaming Annex
Our advisory board* is working on a few long term policy projects. We need a better way to evaluate candidates. Our current method leaves a lot to be desired. We’ve been using a “30 game gauntlet” along with an arbitrary attendance record. But a better codified system would remove much of the current subjectivity. Newbie Abby was a bit critical of a new system but maybe we’ll grandfather her in with our old system 😉

The other topic is how to better plan our Tuesday and Thursday game nights. We often have late comers and we are overbooked for one table. There isn’t enough communication ahead of time so we often hem and haw over how to handle this problem. Normally, everyone is amenable to a solution. But there have been a couple of times where feelings were hurt because we couldn’t accommodate everyone. This may seem like a easy problem to solve. It hasn’t proven to be.

*We are still looking for a better name. 

 

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