How to Host a Game Night – Book Cover Reveal

I’ve played board games since childhood, and as an adult I dove into hobby headfirst in 1999 after being introduced to modern games like Settlers of Catan. Board games are central to many of my favorite memories, like…

The time a group of us played the entire campaign of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 over a single weekend.

The time my wife and I introduced one of my older sisters to Saboteur and saw just how suspicious and conniving she can be.

The time I was the last player remaining in Ra and had a 50-50 shot of pulling the one tile that would give me the win… and lost.

The many times (far too many to count) that I nearly passed out from laughing so hard playing Time’s Up.

The time a good friend told me his house burned down and my first question was whether his game table survived the fire.

Most of all, I cherish the many incredible lifelong friendships built at the game table.

Needless to say, I love game nights. (And game days, game weekends, game weeks… if the word “game” is followed by a timeframe, I’m all in. Especially once the gathering restrictions related to COVID-19 are lifted!)

In fact, I love game nights so much that I’m writing a book for Tiller Press called How to Host a Game Night, and I’m thrilled to reveal the cover here at The Opinionated Gamers:

The book is scheduled to be released this fall, and right now I’m smack dab in the middle of writing it. How to Host a Game Night will be full of practical advice and a lot of stories based on my game-night experiences — and the experiences of gamers like you.

In fact, I would love to hear from you!

What are your favorite game night memories? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen at a game night? What are your go-to games for new players?

Please take a few minutes to share your stories by filling out this form. (Even if you don’t host a regular game night, there are plenty of questions you can answer!)

How to Host a Game Night is my love letter to game nights and I can’t wait for it to be available. In the meantime, here’s to many more great memories at the game table!


How to Host a Game Night will be available in trade paperback and ebook. It can be pre-ordered via the Tiller Press website. Connect with Erik Arneson on Twitter at @ErikBoardGames.

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Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 16

Over the next few months, instead of going with my Three Games articles, I am going to take a look at my collection and try to discuss why certain titles survived the great purge of 2019. During this process I may take a look at some games that didn’t survive, but only as a measuring stick for what did survive. Since I am silly, like a lot of gamers, I use Ikea Kallax shelves to display the games that we own. This makes it pretty easy to break things down cube by cube, so that’s what we’re going to do, twenty-four cubes, plus a top shelf for games that don’t fit in the cubes, over the course of a few months. I hope you enjoy!

If you are a BoardGameGeek user, you can also follow along on the Geeklist I created.

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Gaming in the Era of Social Distancing

Well, unless you’ve be living under a rock for the past few months, you’re aware of the new normal in the world of Covid-19…  Everyone is asked to stay at home when possible, schools are essentially closed for in-person learning, groups of 100 or more are illegal in my state.  I have already had two gaming conventions be canceled on me in March and April…  

I have been shown some articles which show that the Covid-19 virus might be able to live on boardgame materials for awhile.  Which begs the question – should my game group still meet regularly to play games? I was thinking about what my other options might be…  What games could be played over email/webcam/etc?

Over the years, I’ve played a few games PBEM (play by email) and a few PBM (play by mail). I have also dabbled in some gaming via the computer on Brettspielwelt and Yucata.de.  

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Dale Yu: Review of Miyabi

Miyabi

  • Designer: Michael Kiesling
  • Publisher: HABA
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Times played: 5, with review copy provided by HABA USA

In Miyabi, players vie to make the most elegant Japanese garden.  Each player starts with an empty garden board, which has a 6×6 grid on it.  They also get six wooden lanterns in their color to mark off the different columns of their board.  In the center of the table is placed a scoring board which also keeps track of the four to six rounds of the game.

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Posted in Essen 2019, Reviews | 4 Comments

Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 15

Over the next few months, instead of going with my Three Games articles, I am going to take a look at my collection and try to discuss why certain titles survived the great purge of 2019. During this process I may take a look at some games that didn’t survive, but only as a measuring stick for what did survive. Since I am silly, like a lot of gamers, I use Ikea Kallax shelves to display the games that we own. This makes it pretty easy to break things down cube by cube, so that’s what we’re going to do, twenty-four cubes, plus a top shelf for games that don’t fit in the cubes, over the course of a few months. I hope you enjoy!

If you are a BoardGameGeek user, you can also follow along on the Geeklist I created.

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2020 American Tabletop Award Winners

Wow, that was quicker than I had thought. I had thought there would be more build up and a bit of drama, but the award winners have already been announced.

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Brandon Kempf – Surviving the Purge 14

Over the next few months, instead of going with my Three Games articles, I am going to take a look at my collection and try to discuss why certain titles survived the great purge of 2019. During this process I may take a look at some games that didn’t survive, but only as a measuring stick for what did survive. Since I am silly, like a lot of gamers, I use Ikea Kallax shelves to display the games that we own. This makes it pretty easy to break things down cube by cube, so that’s what we’re going to do, twenty-four cubes, plus a top shelf for games that don’t fit in the cubes, over the course of a few months. I hope you enjoy!

If you are a BoardGameGeek user, you can also follow along on the Geeklist I created.

Sooooooo, this is the almost embarrassing shelf. I have a bit of an obsession with Modern Art and we’ll talk about that later, but I just wanted to be up front, I own too much Modern Art and plus I have two more copies ordered. Yeah, I know, I have a problem. 

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Dale Yu: First Impressions of Contact

Contact

  • Designer: Steffen Benndorf
  • Publisher: NSV
  • Players: 2-5
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Played with review copy provided by NSV

Contact is a game that is not necessarily in my comfort zone.  I’m always skeptical of games with “limited communication” – sometimes I find the restriction too artificial, and it ends up frustrating me.   To balance that out, I generally like Benndorf games, so this one was worth trying no matter what. Which side will win out here?

In Contact, you follow a signal while knowing neither exactly where it comes from, nor who sends it out. This signal wants to lead you to a certain planet, but instead of space coordinates, you receive only a strange sequence of flight instructions for your spaceship. Can you identify the right target planet from this signal? And what will you find when you get there?

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Super-Skill Pinball 4-Cade: First Impressions

  • Designers: Geoff Englestein
  • Publishers: WizKids
  • Players: 1-4
  • Time: 20-40 minutes
  • Times Played: 5 (with a promo copy published online by WizKids) 

I’ve played a decent amount of pinball in my day. (Seriously, I’m 55 years old… I can remember the first time I saw a Pong game and those heady early days when arcades were mostly pinball machines with a couple of Pong machines and the consoles with Breakout and Night Driver were the hot new thing.) I was never terribly good at it – but I enjoyed it immensely.

I’ve also played a decent amount of board games.

OK, I give. I’ve played a ridiculous number of board games. (According to the Geek, I’ve rated almost 3200 different games – which is likely to have missed a few over the years.) But I never thought those two interests would coincide.

Until now… and Geoff Englestein’s latest interesting take on game design, Super-Skill Pinball 4-Cade. 

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Dale Yu: Review of The Longing (PC Game on Steam)

The Longing

So, I haven’t played many computer games since college (you know, back when I had some killer 16-bit games on my 386 gaming tower)… But, over the past few months, I have started to get back into the realm of computer games.  While the focus of the Opinionated Gamers will always be physical board games, from time to time we may still write about books, computer games, puzzles or whatever else catches our fancy. Last month, I reviewed Luna the Shadow Dust, and this game comes from the same publishing house.

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