Board Games

New and improved Tic-Tac-Toe

by on Jul.10, 2013, under Articles, Board Games, Design & Development, Entertainment, Gaming

I was seriously into Tic-Tac-Toe when I was a kid.. until I solved it. Then I stumbled upon Math With Bad Drawing’s new Ultimate Tic Tac Toe.

Ultimate Tic Tac Toe


The full discussion of rules and strategy can be found here, but here are the quicky rules:

  1. Each turn, you mark one of the small squares.
  2. When you get three in a row on a small board, you’ve won that board.
  3. To win the game, you need to win three small boards in a row.
  4. You don’t get to pick which of the nine boards to play on. That’s determined by your opponent’s previous move. Whichever square they pick, that’s the board you must play in next. And whichever square you pick will determine which board he plays on next. If you are sent to a board that’s already been won, you may go wherever you like.
  5.  If the small board is a tie choose one, treat it as empty, neither player can use it to win.
    1. A variant is to have the small tile treat as a win for both people.

That last rule is obviously the most important and the most interesting!

In addition multiple people have created online versions of this game since the original post went up! Check out the original post for the list!


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Video: Made for Play: Board Games & Modern Industry

by on Jul.30, 2012, under Articles, Board Games, Design & Development, Gaming, Videos, Visual Media

Ever been interested in how modern euro-board games get made? Watch the video below.

Made for Play: Board Games & Modern Industry from The Spiel on Vimeo.

I remember when I was a kid I watched a video about how toys are made. It had a narrative where a toy rewound time in order to find out how it was made. Basically showed off an entire Japanese toy manufacturing company. This video reminds me of that, without the silly narrative. The inside of a factory has always been neat and interesting to me.

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Trailer: Magic the Gathering: Dark Ascension

by on Jan.20, 2012, under Art, Board Games, Entertainment, Gaming, Trailers, Visual Media

The trailer for the newest expansion to Magic the Gathering. Dark Ascension is the 2nd set in the “Innistrad” block, three different cards sets that take place on the same world called Innistrad. It is a horror themed set full of vampires and werewolves and spirits and such. Watch the trailer, if you would.


So the first set introduced the idea that this world once had an angelic guardian that protected humanity from the monsters but now she had disappeared. This trailer, however, puts a really neat spin on the entire idea. A vampire was the one who put the angel into power. He setup an entire system of checks and balances in order to preserve humanity and therefore, vampire kind. And now that the angel has gone missing, it’ll be a vampire who goes to find her, and possibly save her. I just find that idea so really cool.

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10 Rules of Game Design

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Articles, Board Games, Design & Development, Gaming

For those aspiring game designers out there. Here are two articles written by Mark Rosewater. He is the lead/head/senior designer for one of the biggest and longest running card games ever, Magic the Gathering. He wrote two articles summing up the 10 rules, or guidelines if you prefer, for designing any kind of game.

Ten Things Every Game Needs, Part 1


Ten Things Every Game Needs, Part 2

I am particularly a fan of rules 1, 2, and 8.


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Making Magic: The Walking Dead

by on Nov.24, 2011, under Board Games, Design & Development, Entertainment, Gaming, Writing

Making Magic: The Walking Dead by Mark Rosewater [Daily MTG]

This is an article on the Magic the Gathering website. Their theme of the week when this article was posted was “Undead Week” celebrating the horror theme of the latest Magic expansion. I’m sharing this article because of how Mark managed to turn an article about various mechanics that were “killed off” and then “brought back” into a narrative in the style of a horror story, and an entertaining one at that.


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Comic: Dork Tower: How Far Gaming Has Come

by on Nov.09, 2011, under Board Games, Comic Links, Comics, Culture, Entertainment, Gaming, Roleplaying Games

Dork Tower: 2011-10-31: #1000

Read the first comic, then read the comic below it. I remember reading the second comic for the first time as a kid in a gaming store and thinking how glad I was to be growing up after the whole “roleplaying is evil!” phooey. It is kinda amazing now to think about how I can walk into a Barnes & Noble store and find gaming books, magic cards, and eurostyle board games.

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Elder Sign: New Lovecraftian Board Game

by on Jul.18, 2011, under Announcements, Board Games, Gaming

Fantasy Flight Games, the publishers of the rather famous board game Arkham Horror and one of my newest favorite games Mansions of Mandess, is coming out with a new Lovecraft inspired board game: Elder Sign.

Fantasy Flight calls this a fast paced cooperative dice game. Similar to Arkham Horror, you control a single investigator but this time you’re investigating a museum looking for clues and eldritch knowledge that will keep a random elder god from awakening. The write-up explains that both strategic and random elements make up the game, which is good as pure dice games are rarely interesting enough. Created by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, both designers on the Arkham Horror board game, I suspect this one will effectively be a shorten version of Arkham Horror, for when you don’t have a few hours to tramps around Arkham but still have an itch to take out an Elder God.

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New Arkham Horror Expansion

by on Jul.04, 2011, under Board Games, Entertainment, Gaming

Fantasy Flight Games is releasing another expansion for the board game Arkham Horror. Titled Miskatonic Horror Expansion, this expansion is a full-sized box expansion but unlike prior full box expansions, this one does not contain a new area to travel to or new investigators to control.

Instead this expansion seems to be focused on updated and expanding prior expansions including Dunwhich, Curse of the Dark Pharaoh, Kingsport, Lurker at the Threshold, and more. It includes one new rules variant called the Institution as well as helpful player reference sheets, which a game the size of Arkham Horror really needs. I’m personally looking forward to this expansion.

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Dallas Games Marathon and Gamer Guilds

by on Apr.22, 2011, under Articles, Board Games, Gaming, Roleplaying Games

I recently attended the Dallas Games Marathon this past weekend. The marathon runs from Friday to Sunday, although I only attended Saturday. It takes place monthly in Dallas at a storefront location that looks like it was converted from a dance studio.

The day I attended was fun. Although I only knew one person there, I met several very nice people and played several different games. Towards the end of the day I participated in a Thunderstone tournament in which I placed fifth. My one issue was that in lacking anyone I knew, I didn’t have a good manner in which to go find food and not being from the area, I didn’t want to simply wander around. Luckily I had brought some snacks for myself, and there were some treats for sale cheaply at registration.

The game selection at DGM is more than adequate with their own library plus the boxes of games actual attendees bring. The space is enough to run many board games. I kept likening the entire thing to attending a scaled down board game geek con.

Overall it made me wonder why such a thing hasn’t popped up in other cities prior. A group forming to rent out a commercial space for the use of gaming on a regular basis. I’m sure it is somewhat expensive depending on the rental prices but it seems like forming a gaming guild and renting a space for local games to come and play, for a modest fee that helps cover cost, would be an incredibly useful service. A once a month marathon or so, and then space that could be rented out for groups who want a non-living room space to do stuff in on a regular basis. I wonder how feasible of an idea this is somewhere other than in Dallas.

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ConDFW Blogging

by on Feb.17, 2011, under Articles, Board Games, Conventions, Gaming, Writing

Hi All.

So for the second time since I started this blog, I’ll be attending a convention. Unlike the prior convention I attended, I will be attempting to make a bit of a show of on this blog. That is, daily updates of what I’ve done around the con, what I’ve seen, etc.


I will be attending ConDFW X this year. ConDFW is a literary-focused science fiction convention, in it’s tenth year, put on by the Texas Speculative Fiction Association (TSFA) held in the Crown Plaza Suites in Dallas, TX.

According to the badges I’ve collected, ConDFW has had the distinction of being the only con to have me attend it for every year that it has existed. To put it a less pretentious way, I’ve attended every ConDFW that has ever been put on. I find that kind of neat.

ConDFW focuses on science fiction and fantasy literature, inviting authors from all over to give lecture panels, hold book readings, and do book signings. Every year they have a select set of guests who are the Guests of Honor. This years Guests of Honor are:

(continue reading…)

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