Theme, Repeated

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There Will Be Games

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It's no secret that I'm sick to death of board games being stuck in a thematic rut. I'm barely excited any more to play any game that has anything to do with controlling a fantasy hero that stabs monsters and gets a +1 sword. I've got my favorite games that do that already, and it's a huge disappointment that there's few designers out there, at least published ones, who are willing to do something different and explore some new themes for a change. I don't know whether it's a fear of taking risks or just the simple fact that most designers are inspired solely by other board games, but either way I challenge anyone working in designing or publishing today to bring us games about _new_ subject matter.

I'm almost at the point where any game that has anything to do whatsoever with Medieval Europe, building a castle/palace/villa/town/colony, or any given land of antiquity is almost on my "will not play" list. I've done all of that stuff a million times. I'm bored with it.

But there are games like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and GAME Z that have new themes. GAME Z has a theme that no board game that I know of has ever touched, and BSG's theme isn't spaceships and robots at all- it reaches for something more than that. Fantasy, science fiction, and other genre themes are still fine but seriously, it's time to start looking at what can be done beyond sticking orcs or spaceships in a game and calling that "theme".

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There Will Be Games

Michael BarnesFollow Michael Barnes Follow Michael Barnes Message Michael Barnes


Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of and as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

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