The Next Evolution in the Golden Age of Board Games

I think this partnership is a great idea as it helps to support two local businesses instead of just one. I believe that it is great that local businesses can come together like this to help one another out as it helps to grow the sense of community. ~Randolph Chacon

Golden Age of Board Games

Knight Moves Board Game CafeIn one of my earlier articles, I mentioned that I totally agreed with the idea that “we are in the golden age of board games”.  We can say this because in the last couple of years, the amount and variety of board games released have increased, the amount of video/blog reviewers have tripled and also, the amount of board game kick starters have been on the rise…so, the question is what’s next? Where is this trend going and how is it evolving?  And the answer is: Board game cafés.

This idea just clicked in my mind after watching a few video blogs, one of them being Watch it Played in which they went to a board game café called The Board Room located in Halifax, Canada. In the video they showed the layout of the café as well as the game shop that the owner runs out of it.  When I saw this video I thought to myself could a person really run a business like this?  Would people actually be interested in going to a place that has board games that they could play?  The more I thought about it the more it made sense. I mean, if Starbucks could get away with selling 5 dollars cups of coffee and have people just hang around, why couldn’t a board game café work? After doing some research, I found out that there are very few board game cafés in the U.S. Luckily, I recently moved to Boston and learned about Knight Moves, a board game café opened not long ago in Brookline, and the first of its kind in Boston. As you could imagine, I was really excited to go because I wanted to have a firsthand experience of what it is like to spend time and play at a board game café!!

From the moment my party and I walked into the café we were greeted by the owner, Devon Trevelyan. He gave us a nice tour of his café. While I was looking around in awe, I saw people from different ages just hanging around having fun playing different games. I thought to myself “this is awesome!!” then, he brought us over to his huge collection of games and said “feel free to grab any one of these to play.” He then asked me if I had any questions on the rules, and I said with surprise “you know how to play all these games?” In turn he replied to me “Why yes, yes I do” with a huge smile across his face. At that moment I knew that he was passionate about gaming and wanted to share his passion with other people. I also realized that it is people like him that could help this next evolution of board games keep growing as they attract more and more people into board games. Devon is just starting in his business, and I know that if he could get this café off the ground, that more and more people would see what a great hobby board gaming could be.

So, my wife and I chose a game and sat to play. As the night was falling, we noticed that more and more people kept coming into the café and join in on some games. At one point, there were so many people that came in that they ran out of tables and people had to wait to play! Since that day, my wife and I have gone back several times to play and it is a delight seeing so many people (especially on weekends) at one place having wonderful moments of fun together. I think board games are successfully gaining more adepts but, I also have to give credit to Devon, as he is very friendly and he truly cares about his customers; he will solve/explain any question about the games that you could have.

board games at knight moves board game cafe

If you are wondering about pricing, well it depends on what you would like to do, for example, if you just want to go and hang out at the café, drink some coffee while working on your computer then, you don’t have to pay anything. If you are a casual gamer or if you would like to try a game only one night (or day) there is a small fee you need to pay but it is worth it, because you can play as many games as you want (and he has a great variety of games you could choose from). However, if you are a gamer and would like to hang out there more often, then you could check out the packages that involve a membership to the café and that entitles you to a cup of coffee as well as a discounted rate to play the games.  In addition, if you end up liking a game so much that you decide to buy it, Devon has worked a partnership with Eureka (a board game store located one block down from the café) for you to get a discount towards the purchase of the game. I think this partnership is a great idea as it helps to support two local businesses instead of just one. I believe that it is great that local businesses can come together like this to help one another out as it helps to grow the sense of community.

Overall, I feel that the price for everything in his café is great and you get such a great value out of it considering you can try out a bunch of games that you may be interested in without having to buy them and then return them; but most importantly is that you have a place where you can go with friends, eat, drink coffee, and meet new people to whom you share the same hobby: play board games, now that is PRICELESS!

[Knight Moves: Board Game Café]

If you live in Boston I highly suggest checking out this place which is located on 1402 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA.  You won’t be disappointed.  I hope that Devon’s café gets more and more popular to the point where he has to think about expanding it because his place is a great example of how someone with great passion for a hobby can introduce it to multiple people.

Until next time my friends go out, play more and new games and most importantly, have fun will ya!

Ten Euro-Games Every Board Gamer Should Own

euro board games

The other day I started to look through my gaming shelf to see what my wife and I should play.  While looking through, I realized that most of my collection was made up of euro-games.  This really got me thinking about why this was.  I then realized that by game mechanics, euro-games were way more fun to play.  Even though they don’t have as great of a theme as ameritrash games do.  I had a great thought that hey maybe I should put together a list of games that every board gamer should own in their collection. In this list I’m going to start out with the best gateway games and work my way to the meatier games, so here goes.

Ticket to Ride

euro board games

Here is a game that to me was one of the first games I played that got me back into board gaming.  What amazed me about this game was the fact that it takes longer to set up the game than it does to teach the game to someone new.  This game takes such simplistic rules and adds a dash of strategy to it and boom you have an amazing game.  Basically you are collecting colored cards to lay down trains around a map of the United States.  Your goal is to connect two points that are tickets that you have in your hand.  I have taught this game to many of my friends and every one of them love it.  If you want to introduce some of your friends that are not sure about board gaming or have a loved one that you want to introduce into your hobby this is a game for you.

Stone Age

euro board games

Now here is a game that is considered a worker placement game.  It’s simplistic in the way you play the game.  You are the chief of a camp of primitive people that has to survive.  There are several ways you do this.  You have to hunt for food, go out and pick up resources, feed your people, and build buildings for them to survive.  The game takes turns in where players take turns placing people from your tribe out to do certain actions.  As you perform these actions you either collect resources, food, etc.  At the end you get points for the different buildings you make, cards you collect, and left over resources you have.  This is another game that is great to play with friends as everyone sits there and sees where everyone is going to place their people.  Once someone places their people down you will always have some great reactions from everyone playing and for this reason this game made my list.

Galaxy Trucker 

euro board games

Every time I think about the many games of galaxy trucker that I have played a smile comes across my face.  From the craziness of building my ship to the amount of screams and profanities that have been yelled as you watch your ship get blown to bits they were all great times.  In galaxy trucker you play the part of a space trucker that is trying to make him or herself some money.  The problem is that you are broke to begin with so to build your ship you have to use leftover scraps.  The game starts out with you having a basic grid where you can put squares that represent ship parts.  In the center of the table are all these little cardboard squares flipped face side down.  Once you yell go players start to flip the parts over only using one hand.  You place your parts down on your ship board until someone finishes.  The faster you finish the better your starting position.  After everyone is finished then the real fun of the game begins.  You flip over cards from a deck that represent what is going to happen on your trip through space.  Everything from space pirates to planets, to asteroid fields.  As the cards get flipped and these events happen you just have to sit and cringe as you realize that you forgot to place a laser on the side where an asteroid is about to slam into your ship.  If you want to have some rip roaring fun with your friends this is a definite buy.

The Castles of Burgundy 

euro board games

Now this is a game that had made a bunch of top games lists for many people.  I decided to pick this up when I heard that it was a great game especially for two people.  I figured this would definitely be a game that would be good for my wife and I.  Sure enough it only took one play through before she was hooked on it.  In castles of burgundy you have a plot of land where you have to build your kingdom.  The way you build your kingdom is that there are tiles that are out on the main game board that you have to pick up to place them on your own game board.  You accomplish this by rolling two dice and that is how you determine what tiles you can pick up or place on your board.  What makes this game great is the fact that every time you play the game the tiles that come out to the main game board are random.  Also there are several personal game boards for you to choose from so you can change which home board you have.  With all these different variables this game definitely is great.

The Settlers of Catan 

euro board games

This is another great gateway game for people as it is very simple to learn yet it is full of great strategy.  In settlers of catan you play a new civilization that has come to inhabit the island of catan.  Your goal in the game is to achieve 10 victory points before everyone else.  You accomplish this by creating roads, towns and cities. You get the components for these by rolling dice and the numbered squares that match the result of the die produce goods.  You trade in the required cards to create what you need.  The only catch to the dice is that if a seven is rolled the thief is activated by the person that rolled it and gets to move him.  The player moves the thief to a numbered square and from that moment until someone else rolls a seven the square he is on does not produce any goods. Also if there are any players along the boarder of where the theif is the player that moved him can take a card from that other player.  It is a great game to play and even though it may be a gateway game it is still a really fun game to play.


euro board games

Now we start to get into the meatier games on the list.  Tzolk’in is a game that came out this past year but has definitely taken the board gaming community by storm.  The game has a unique layout in that it has 6 gears that interconnect with one another.  What is really neat about this game is that when you turn the central big gear it rotates the other gears around the board.  This game is an advanced worker placement game where you place a worker on the lowest spot on the gear and as turns go by the reward that you get when you pick up the player gets greater and greater.  The trick to the game is that on your turn you either have to place or pick up a worker so you have to really plan out your moves so that you are not stuck pulling a worker before you intend to.  The game also does an awesome job in making it where you can’t just go through one spot on the board to score points.  It is definitely a game that everyone should play at least once and that is all it is going to take before you own it.

Power Grid 

euro board games

Now this was the first Euro-game that I played and fell in love with them.  In Power Grid you are trying to build an empire of power plants to power some cities.  The thing that makes power grid great is the fact that the winning condition for the game is not who builds the biggest empire but who can power the most cities at the end of the game.  The thing is that to power your plants you need to have fuel to power them.  The game does this by creating a real like economy for the fuel you have to buy.  Got a coal power plant? That’s great all you have to do is buy coal but wait, coal is going to cost me 7 electro per coal where if I had an oil burning plant it will only cost me 2 electro per barrel.  The game really does a great job in having you think about what power plants you want to buy based on how the market for supplies is.  Oh did I forget to mention that to buy a power plant you have to bid on one and hope that no one else out bids you??  It’s a great game that was one of the games that got me hooked on euros.


euro board games

Another game produced by the same game developer that brought us the castles of burgundy is Trajan.  The game is great in how he made a few changes to how castles plays and adds a whole bunch of new things.  In Trajan you are trying to score the most points over a few rounds.  The trick to the game and what makes it so great is the fact that to perform actions in this game you have a player board that has your actions.  But to perform the action you have to move these colored wooden pieces so that the last one you place lands on the action you want to perform.  It is a really interesting mechanic to the game and it really makes you think about what you really want to do as the more of these wooden pieces you move the faster the game ends.  It’s a really tight euro that really makes you think about what you want to do and how fast you want to do it.

Lords of Waterdeep 

euro board games

Now here is a game that I felt was on the fence whether or not it was a euro game or an ameri trash game.  I felt that it was more of a euro game as at its core it is a worker placement game with a dungeons and dragons theme to it.  In lords of waterdeep you are trying to score as many victory points by completing quests.  You complete quests by collecting the right amount of colored cubes to complete it.  The twist to the game is that at the beginning of the game you are assigned a lord of waterdeep card that gives you bonus victory points at the end of the five rounds based on the types of quests that you completed.  It’s a very well made game that gives tons of fun when played.  I loved the fact that the dungeons and dragons theme to this game is very well done and gives the game a really great feel to it.


euro board games

And finally on my list of games comes a great euro cooperative game named pandemic.  In pandemic the players play as different parts of the CDC trying to prevent four viruses from growing into epidemics to the point where it becomes a pandemic.  In the game players get colored cards that they have to collect to create a cure to the diseases.  This game is a really tough game to beat and will definitely give everyone that plays it a great challenge.  Even though it is a great challenge you will find that you and your friends will constantly want to replay it.  The game has several losing conditions to it including if there are more than 8 outbreaks you lose, if you run out of disease cubes to place out you lose, and if you run out of cards that the players draw from you lose.  There is only one win condition for the game and that is that you have to research the cure for all four diseases.  I have played this game several times and have had no problems beating the game on the easiest difficulty as long as we have had the right combination of role cards.  I have not had good success with the medium difficulty and I have yet to try the hardest difficulty.  It is a game that is non-forgiving but it is so much fun to play.

Well guys there you have it I hope that this list has given you guys something to think about and that you will actually try some of these out for yourselves.  I have had a blast introducing these games to my wife and seen the reaction that she has had while playing them, and she is not a gamer.  If you guys have any questions feel free to drop a comment below.  I hope that you guys can do the same and until next time remember go out and play some games will ya.

Why everyone should have some eurogames in their tabletop collection

euro board games

The other day I sat and looked at my tabletop collection to see how many of them were Ameri-trash and how many were Euro games and it turns out that I have more of the latter.  Now, some of you may be asking what is the difference between them?  Well, as some of you might remember, in my last article I went on to talk about how there are games that are all about how the game plays (game mechanics) but they don’t have too strong of a theme.  These types of games are called “Euro games” and European developers, mainly Germany, make them reason for which they are sometimes called “German-style board game”.  Some of the games that belong to this category are Power grid, Castles of Burgundy, Agricola, Alhambra and Ticket to Ride.

euro board games

Power grid is an example of a great Euro game that has won several European game awards and even though it was originally published in 2004 it still sells really well and has had many expansions as well as games developed in the genre.  When you look at power grid the theme itself is nothing crazy, you’re an owner of a power company that needs to buy power plants, buy resources to power those plants as well as build said plants in cities across the U.S. or Europe.  When you look at the game it looks bland and you would think that you would not have a good time playing it.  How wrong you would be once you actually play the game. The mechanics are superb, the global economy that the game creates is amazing and after you are done playing it you want to reset the board and play again.  That is what makes a game a great game in my opinion.

euro board games

Now to go and describe Ameri-trash games they are usually games that have an outstanding theme to them but their game mechanics fall a bit behind their euro brethren, not to mention that they involve more of luck instead of strategy. Some of the games that fall in this category are:  Arkham Horror, Stracraft: the board game, Clue, Monopoly and Super Dungeon Explore.

euro board games

One of the best Ameri-trash games I have ever played is called Arkham horror.  This is a phenomenally themed tabletop game set in the Cthulu mythos.  The game does an excellent job in making you feel like you are a paranormal investigator in the roaring 1920’s trying to stop this great evil from destroying the earth.  When you sit down and look at this marvelous game set up on a dining room table you are intimidated into thinking this game is way too complicated for me to play.  When you look through the rulebook it makes the game seem like it is more complex than it actually is.  Trust me!! I read through the book multiple times before looking up a video online on how to play the game.  Once I saw how easy it actually was to play I sat down and gave it a whirl.  Let me tell you the game blew my mind away with how awesome the theme was but when you actually looked at how the game played, especially when compared to a euro game, it didn’t quite stack up to it.  Now I’m not saying that people should not try out Ameri-trash games but if I really had a choice between the two I would definitely pick up a Euro game before I grab an Ameri-trash game.

euro board games

When you look at both these game types it goes without saying that some people when they look for their games they want to get a great experience out of it.  Heck for me as long as I have fun by the end of the game I will try anything.  Now, there are people out there wishing that there is a game that takes the best of both worlds and puts them together.  Well I’m here to tell you that there was once such game.  The game in question is called Twilight Imperium.  It was a game that when it was developed they took the great game mechanics from a euro game and paired it up with the great theme of an Ameri-trash game.  The result was a huge success that sold extremely well and still to this day has had expansions come out for it.  The only thing that I have heard from people who have played it complain about is the fact that you need like eight hours to actually play an entire game of it.  For me that is way too much time to sink in one sitting and, I would love to give that game a try in small chunks.  The only problem I would have is where I could leave the game sitting because I have two cats who would love to jump up on the table and play with the new cat toys.

euro board games

All things said this is the reason why I feel like people should have more euro games in their collection.  For me they have been a great addition to my shelf that my wife and I find ourselves picking up and playing multiple times over and really enjoy playing them.  In my next article I hope to come up with a list of my personal ten euro games that everyone should have in their collection and why I feel that way about them.  Until them guys remember to grab some friends together and play some games.

Why I agree that we are in the golden age of boardgaming


In this day and age it is hard to ignore a great phenomenon that is sweeping across the land and that has evolved from a lonely hobby to a widespread craze, yes my friends, I am talking about board games!! Now, I have considered myself a gamer in all rights because I love to play videogames but, when I think about it I really wasn’t. You see, in my world the only games that existed were videogames; granted I enjoy to throw down a game of monopoly with my friends time to time but that was it, to me, board games were only monopoly, clue, life and dragon and dungeons but what I didn’t know that there was a whole other world out there with board games for me to discover.  Everything started approximately six months ago and it was as follows:

Mr. C: Do you like to game?

Me: What do you mean? Like what type of videogames?

Mr C: No, I mean board games.

Me:  (Chuckles) Oh yeah!! I like to play monopoly and those games.

Mr. C: No, no those types of board games. Haven’t you heard about Dominion, Agricola, Puerto Rico, Is a Small world…. (And he kept naming games)


 What he showed me that day was some of the most amazing games that I had ever seen and played.   It opened my eyes to a new world that I never knew existed. That night I went online and started to look up what I could about these games that I was newly introduced to.  What I found blew me away.  I found tons of blogs and websites with reviews and tons of info about all these different games.

One of my favorite blogs that have a phenomenal game reviews is Shut up and Sit down. This blog is written by a group of British guys. A few days ago, one of them wrote an article about how in these days we are living “the golden age of board games” and it was a great read by all means.  In this article he goes on to talk about how many games have come out a few years back compared to the number of ones that were coming out now.  When you actually look at the numbers it’s astonishing.  The actual number of games that have come out has nearly tripled.  Now you may ask why would that be and I looked into that same question.  In the past two years, the number of people that have actually bought and played board games have increased at about the same rate at which the number of games have come out.  It’s simple math if demand goes up for a product companies are going to jump on the bandwagon to get some of that money.


There are some great games that have amazing themes to them and they are extremely fun to play. For example, zombicide and super dungeon explore are some that come to mind. To be honest, I thought that North America was where all the big games were coming from but boy how wrong I was!  As it turns out the biggest place where games come out is actually from Germany.  Every year all the major board game companies debut their games at Essen, the largest board gaming convention on the planet.  And yes before you ask that is on my bucket list to go see before I die hehe.

Now when talking about games you have two groups to talk about, euro games and what they call ameritrash.  Euro games are games that will implement some of the best mechanics known to board gaming with very little theme to the actual game.  When playing a euro game you will sit there and look at the game and say wow this game really has no story or theme to it but wow what a great game.  Now when it comes to what they call ameritrash games these are games that have an amazing theme but can definitely use some mechanics to help it along.  When you play one of these games you will love the story or the theme but will with the game played a little bit better.  Now to give you guys some examples of eurogames would b e games like the castles of burgundy.  Castles puts you in the role of a duke that has a bit of land and has to build his land through tiles that you pick up dependant on two dice that you roll.  It is an amazing game based on the mechanics but when you see the actual game and theme you think this can’t possibly be fun.

super dungeon explore

Now when it comes to American based games you have to think about games like starcraft the board game.  Yes, there is a board game based on the starcraft video game.  The game itself looks amazing, has some of the best components however, the actual game play of it is a bit dry when compared to the euro games.

Now to get back on track as to why I agree that this is the golden age of board gaming.  We are in a time when more and more people are actually spending money on board games, and in turn companies are making more and better games.  When you look at it this way, you can go out and spend 60 bucks on a night out with some friend and only get a few hours of entertainment out of it.  You also can spend that same 60 bucks and get yourself a great board game and invite your friends over and have hundreds of hours of great times with them.  Let me tell you, I am not the only one that has looked at this and thought man I would rather get together with my friends and sit and have a great time where we can always think back and say man we had such a great time that night.  Because of this very reason companies that would never have a chance to make a game can throw it up on kickstarter and get their game printed.

I, for one, am a videogamer that has slowly but surely been transformed more and more into a boardgamer and I am proud to be one.  I hope that one day you can give them a chance to try some out.  One piece of advice I can give fellow gamers is that if you are not sure if you would like board gaming or not, I would find a local game shop and check to see if they have gaming nights and swing by and give them a shot.  Although, I have to warn you as once you get bitten by the bug you might never go back.