Writing about boardgames

Even though it's a youngster compared to other forms of entertainment and art, videogames have a rich vein of writings about them. From the superficial to the indepth. Some of my favourite writings are the indepth ones. They look not at if the game is any good, but they look at the impact of a game, the theme, how the author feels while playing them. Great examples of the sort of writing I like is the really indepth writing of Brendan Keogh in his amazing analysis of Spec Ops:The Line in his book Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops:The Line , or the e-magazine Five out of Ten. These writings are not reviews, although I do tend to like the more mature reviews of the kind done in Edge and Games TM magazines.

Then there is another branch of writing about videogames where the author breaks down a game and analyses its design. Which is also interesting to read, especially when they look at a classic game I have fond memories of.

Now boardgames have been around a lot longer than videogames, however I would argue that the current “golden age” has been around a lot less longer than videogames. Which brings me to the current crop of writing about boardgames. In my opinion the writing about boardgames is not as mature as the writing about videogames. There is often the lamenting about videogame writing that where are the equivalent writers that compare to popular writers in the film world. But I feel that writing about videogames is getting there. However I haven't really come across this in boardgames, and feel there is still a long way to go.

Maybe I haven't come across the right blogs yet or authors. If you know of any then please let me know in the comments below. I'd love to be proved wrong. But most of the stuff I have seen are just reviews, that follow a particular formula, introduce game, explain rules/game play, comment on components, likes/dislikes. Not too dissimilar to a videogame review. I think the area of boardgame writing is due disrupting and moving on to include the sort of indepth writing I enjoy.

Will you find that sort of writing here? Maybe. I don't feel I'm upto the task. I'm not as wide read, I can't quote philosophers and apply them. Heck I'm not that deep or self aware as has been pointed out to me over the years. I'm just a simple flawed guy. I will try, just don't expect me to be successful. Possibly I'll get there, but hopefully the journey will be entertaining anyway.

In the meantime I hope others see this call to arms and accept the challenge.



4 thoughts on “Writing about boardgames

  1. Darren, the writing that got me into board games a few years back was that of Rab Florence who writes a feature calledCardboard Children for Rock, Paper, Shotgun. His writing style is brilliant and he introduced to me to many of my favourite games. The opening column featuring Dungeon Quest is still one of my favourite pieces of board game writing. The other site I follow for board games stuff is Shut Up & Sit Down. Their web shows in particular are great but they also publish some good writing.

    1. Nick, thanks for reading the post and taking the time to leave a comment. And a big thank you for those two recommendations. I have seen the odd episode of Shut up & Sit Down I have enjoyed the videos I’ve seen.

  2. You’re most welcome! I should also say that it’s worth having a look to see what the online community is like around your games of interest. For example, I really like Lord of the Rings LCG from Fantasy Flight. There is a really vibrant community of blogs and podcasts (such as Hall of Beorn and Tales from the Cards) focused on the game, covering everything from deckbuilding through commentary on the games’ evolution and on to play reports. It wouldn’t surprise me if other games didn’t attract the same sort of community.

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