Quinns vs. Tom Vasel: Who is more wrong?

Quinns: Morning everybody! We can’t offer you a new video this week, but we can offer you something significantly more stupid.

This week BoardGameGeek user ThunderCat23 sent me quite the gift! ThunderCat23 wanted to chart the BGG game ratings of Tom Vasel, pater familias of popular board game content network The Dice Tower, against the ratings of the Dice Tower’s Mike Dilisio.

Entirely by accident, ThunderCat23 ended up charting Tom’s BGG ratings against my BGG ratings. Not wanting to waste their work, they then sent me this data, letting me write an article listing all the games Tom and I disagree on the most.

Strap in, folks! The opinions are gonna fly hard and fast. Someone could lose an arm.

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Your Introduction to… Carl Chudyk!

Ava: Welcome to an occasional series introducing you to a single, storied game designer. Today I want to tell you about the games of a man called Carl.

Certain designers have a set of obsessions that shine brightly when you put all their work together. There’s a pattern of passions that unite their work. Carl Chudyk is my my board game design crush, and it’s because he ploughs a furrow that nobody else could. His games are relics from a weirder, smarter world. He builds layered puzzle-systems where possibilities multiply at every turn. They’re challenging to learn, but a delight to wrangle.

It’s odd though. I struggle to recommend them to people, even though they’re my favourites. I don’t like to push people into an experience that might feel horrible the first time round. It’s like asking someone to dive into a river that will be cold until they adjust.

But I want to talk about Carl Chudyk anyway. Once you’re swimming with him, you’ll find something you couldn’t get anywhere else.  You’ll open tiny boxes and find yourself tucking ideas under possibilities and watching your table turn into a sea of systems. You’ll still be finding surprises on your hundredth play.

You’ll get stories. Stories of the time a game felt different to anything else.

These aren’t reviews. There’s no time for that.

Instead I’m going to dissect a few games, pull out a few gutsy details, and see if I can read in the entrails why Carl is the way he is. Why he fills me with wonder and what makes me scream. Take a deep breath. It’s a fast river, you might not be able to get out.

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Interview: Kieron Gillen on his roleplaying comic, DIE

Quinns: If you like comics, we’ve got a real treat for you today!

This month saw the release of the book collecting the first five issues of DIE, a fabulous new comic about a group of people who become trapped in their fantasy roleplaying campaign.

Written by Kieron Gillen, creator of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, and breathtakingly illustrated by artist Stephanie Hans, DIE quickly became a series where I’d devour each new issue on the day of release. In two words, Kieron describes it as “Goth Jumanji”. In three words, I’d add that it’s “Very, very good”.

What makes this even more exciting is that Kieron Gillen is a personal friend of mine, and agreed to an interview about not just about the series, but the accompanying DIE RPG, and Kieron’s thoughts on roleplaying games in general. This is SU&SD, after all.

Before we get started, the three preview pages below give a summary of what DIE’s about. Click to see them at full-size!

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10 Board Games to Buy the Enthusiast this Christmas

Quinns: I’m hoping that by now you’ve all seen Matt’s amazing video on big games to play with your family over Christmas. Didn’t he do a good job? And wasn’t it kind of hot seeing him dressed as a reindeer 30 seconds in?

But there’s simply no time to imagine stroking Matt’s downy fur, or his rock-hard antlers. Today I’m presenting our second (and final) holiday list feature: 10 strong gifts for the hobbyist board gamer in your life that you can actually buy.

That’s because a lot of the hottest games this year, like Root, Brass: Birmingham and Welcome To, sold out almost instantly. Not so with this list! We’ve made sure each of these titles is in stock to buy in North America and the UK.

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Our Shopping Guide to the Best Cheap Board Games!

Paul: Hot summer strawberries! It’s the middle of August, the sun is (sometimes) in the sky (here it’s mostly just windy) and this is the season that you finally get into board games. It’s an intimidating prospect: you’ve eyed those enormous boxes on the shelves with price tags that would make a banker blush, but this really doesn’t have to be a hobby that destroys your wallet.

Wait! What’s that noise? An approaching siren? An… ice cream van?! It’s me pedalling furiously toward you in the Shut Up & Sit Down Budget Bus, adding a host of surprising prices in this sequel to our indispensable article, How To Build an Amazing Board Game Collection for $10. GET ON BOARD.

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The Best Board Gaming Books! (According to us)

Quinns: Books! They’re like very long board game manuals without a game.

Now I’ve got a good 23 years’ distance from the bullies at my school, I’m freely able to say that I think books are nice, and today on the site I want to recommend the board gaming books that I’ve had the most fun with. There’s fiction and non-fiction, controversy and aliens, a Go master at the end of his life and a 21st century designer at the peak of his powers.

But best of all, each one has helped me to understand this ancient hobby a little better.

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Megagame Report: Bring Them Home

[Special thanks to photographer Ben Broomfield. His other photos of the event are available here.]

Quinns: I’ve never been so excited by the sound of a printer.

Inside the cramped confines of my spacecraft, the machine’s senile clunking makes my heart skip a beat. I drop to my knees, lowering myself before the machine in sweaty supplication. By positioning my head beneath my desk and rotating it 90 degrees, I’m able to start reading the paper before it’s ejected.

The printer is my only lifeline to the three competing space agencies outside my ship – the Americans, the Russians and the Chinese – who are trying to bring me home. Only they have the power to scan the space around me, providing the information that I need to navigate a deadly hellscape of black holes, stars and asteroids. Using their messages, I might just make it back to Earth.

I recognise the Russian insignia on the printed sheet. They’re my most helpful allies. This will be helpful! The printing finishes and I lift it closer to my lamp, banging my head on the desk on the way up. It reads:

“QUESTION FROM RUSSIA: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FLAVOUR OF ICE CREAM?”

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Our Holiday Gift Guide, 2017!

Quinns: Christmas is almost upon us, everyone! That sweet stretch of the calendar where board games take center stage, or at the very least share the stage with potatoes and Jesus Christ.

Are you thinking about buying a new game to play with your relatives? Or are you wondering which game to buy for the stalwart board game collector in your life?

Either way, we’ve got you covered with the below holiday game guide. Enjoy, everyone!

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The best games of SHUX 2017!

Paul: It feels so very, very strange to be doing this. We’re always writing post-con roundups, flying home and tapping out our thoughts on the best new games we tried, but to do that after our own con? It feels a little peculiar, like the first time a doctor shone a light into my ear. But that’s a proper, sensible thing that doctors do, right? It’s not just for giggles?

Matt: At the time, it was straight-up stressful! We hadn’t accounted for the fact that people might be showing off things we really wanted to look at, so we frantically juggled schedules to try and check stuff out. There was still so much we missed, but we caught some REAL GOOD BITS.

Paul: For a start, Matagot only went and rolled up with an Inis expansion that they just casually announced IS A THING THAT EXISTS?

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How to build an amazing board game collection for $10!

Quinns: Ladies, gentlemen, non-binary folks, and anyone else who’s left a comment over the last six years along the lines of “ARRRGH STOP MAKING ME SPEND MONEY.” Today, SU&SD amends for its capitalist crimes.

We talk a lot on this site about how we want board games to be “for everyone”, but to an awful lot of people the games we recommend are prohibitively expensive. That said, putting together an amazing board game collection can be cheap. Below, we’ve assembled a list of the very best games that could collectively cost you less than ten bucks, depending on your situation.

This isn’t some unsatisfying sampler platter. What lurks below is a moveable feast of some of the greatest games ever made. Were you to gather all of these games, I’d prefer your collection to ones I’ve seen costing $1000.

If you approve of this feature, please do share it far and wide! It represents a lot of work for both Team SU&SD and our donors, who we bothered about cheap games we might have missed (special thanks to subscribers Amanda and Jeff, who were especially great).

Let’s get started.

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