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Hanabi box coverYesterday I played Hanabi and, while it was too late in the evening for me, I enjoyed it immensely until I collapsed mentally and started doing stupid mistakes.

Yeah, the game is hard, especially if you play with a group that doesn’t have the meta-gaming down pat.

But one of the players said something I thought very curious at the time: that Hanabi is the only purely cooperative game out there, that there is no other game that is as cooperative as Hanabi. I smiled, looked at the backsides of my cards, nodded and thought “no way, there are lots of co-ops out there”. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more convinced I’m becoming that he is right. (more…)

5 Must Play Analog Games for Every DesignerIt happens. You look at your game and feel that, with all the bells and whistles already there, something is still missing.

It’s easy to simply shrug, thrown in another type of unit, another element, another dude with spikes on his huge shoulder pads. Sometimes it works. Mostly it doesn’t.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of, amongst others, the children’s classic “The Little Prince” said: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

It’s a wise way to look at it. Not what we can add, but that we can subtract. And the way to learn how to do that is to look for good archetypes, games where there is little, if anything, to subtract. And in the tabletop game industry paring down has been the leading star for the past 20 years (or thousands – see the end). So here, without further ado, are five tabletop games that every designer should play at least once. (more…)