Category: How To

“How to” guides for playing/winning/strategizing in certain games.

The Art of the Teach – Dos and Don’ts of Teaching Board Games

Have you ever been teaching a board game and just realize everything you’ve just said is completely wrong, and now you need to backtrack and hope all your players aren’t confused for the next hour?

Alternatively, have you ever been learning a game from someone and just miss half of the rules because you don’t understand what they’re even talking about?

We’ve all been there! Learning and teaching games can be difficult, especially when you’re newer to the hobby. I would certainly say I’ve gotten better at teaching games over the years, though, of course, I’m still not perfect. Still, I wanted to put together a list of some of the best dos and don’ts I’ve found for teaching board games in all my time in the hobby. Of course, these tips are not the be-all and end-all, but they may help you out if you aren’t sure where to start. Let’s dive in!

Santorini: Simple Obsession

I’ll start by being honest – I am usually the first to turn my nose up at abstract games. They are usually, in my opinion, lacking in theme, which is a big deal for me, or exterior player interaction (because you’re so caught up in the strategy of it that you forget there is another person at the table), but maybe that one’s just me.

Santorini, however, throws that out the window and has given me an abstract game that’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and more. It is my current game obsession, and the more I play it ,the more I want to play it. Oh, you want to hear more? Allow me to explain.

How to Trim Down Your Collection


With a collection this big (and trust me, it seems only to expand) it’s useful to find ways to trim down the collection so that you don’t seem like some crazy, obsessed, board-game hoarding nut job (cue the “I’m fine…I can quit any time!” line). If you’re worried about being considered a nut job, I have a few helpful tips to assist you in trimming down your board game collection to only the absolute necessities (and maybe one or two guilty pleasures too).

1. Consider Similarities: I like deck-building games and worker-placement games the most out of any options, but I don’t need to own every single one I’ve ever played. Take a good, hard look at your collection and spend some time considering what the games have in common, and what each one offers individually. You can have multiple deck-builders; there’s theme, player count, and difficulty to factor in, amongst other things, so it makes sense to have more than one if that’s a mechanic you enjoy. But, if you find that you own a fair few games like that, and some are just a little too close to call, think about getting rid of one or two so that you don’t have to keep choosing between them. Just keep your favorites!

2. Think Before You Buy: This goes along with Tip #1, but also helps to encompass expansions. I love having the ability to expand on some of my favorite games, but not every game I play is in need of an expansion. Before you buy every add-on to Settlers of Catan or Smallworld, weigh how often you actually play the base game. If it comes to less than twice a month, you probably don’t need more add-ons to the same game. Save the money for something more useful.

3. Consider Your Audience: By this I, of course, mean, think about who you’re playing games with the most often. If you have a big family with a lot of different interests, stock up! Make sure there’s always something everyone will enjoy on the shelf! But, if you currently live with just one other person and you notice that some of your games are collecting dust while others are played weekly, maybe get rid of those that don’t see too much light. If the #1 person you play with isn’t interested, then there’s really no point in keeping it around… Why not donate it so someone else can enjoy? 🙂

4. Donate, Consign, Sell: Once again sliding gracefully into transitions (Gosh, I’m good at this), if you’ve found a handful or more of games you don’t want anymore, don’t just throw them out! You can donate them to a locate thrift shop or other organization so that others can enjoy it. You can also consign at a local board game shop so other hoarders…er, fans…can pick them up and you get some cash without any hassle! Or, you can sell gently used games through eBay, Craigslist, et cetera. All wonderful alternatives to just tossing games out, and awesome things to keep in mind when looking to trim down, so you don’t feel like they’re going to waste.

5. Play Through Them ALL: This isn’t a joke. If you have a hefty collection, it might be time to play through all of what you own again instead of just playing your go-to games. Sure, maybe you loved Ticket To Ride 3 years ago, but you haven’t played in a while, do you still like it? Once you’ve given everything a fresh run-through, you’ll be able to more easily determine what’s worth saving and what can become someone else’s obsession.

Overall, it’s fine to have a great big supply of games, but don’t keep things on the shelf “just because.” Keep your faves, keep a few party games and classics (like Monopoly and Codenames), but don’t hang on to every version of Clue you’ve ever seen, they’re not all that different. Keeping a slightly smaller collection will ensure you’re always playing something you love and not just playing something because it’s there.

Happy gaming folks!

How to Play Carcassonne, For Dummies

No, we aren’t actually going to the town in France (boom just gave you the definition of the game, and a quick geography lesson), we’re just learning how to play the game. This is one of the simplest games I have ever played, so it baffles me that it comes with 7 pages of instructions – that’s excessive if you ask me. But, if you really want me to hold your hand, I can walk you through the game one step at a time.

How to Win Red Dragon Inn

Look at that, I made a rhyme!
Red Dragon Inn is a game where adventurers (the playable characters in the game) stop at …go on guess… yupp, an Inn, have a few drinks together, and maybe gamble a bit. You want to keep up your strength, and keep down your drunkenness, all while weakening others and making them drink, a lot.
This is not only one of my favorite games, but also a game I tend to dominant at. No really, I’ve only lost this game twice, and I’ve played over forty times. Some would probably argue that it’s dumb luck and there’s no real strategy to winning this simple game, but I care to disagree. So here are a few tips I tend to follow which may help you win a few rounds of Red Dragon Inn too.

I like Eve the Illusionist; her magic
cards come in very handy.

1. Pick a Character you Like and Understand – I have to admit, I’m often guilty of picking my character based on who looks the coolest, but I learned in this game, that’s not the best choice. All of the playable characters have their own individual deck of cards, which means they all have abilities and powers specific to them. Some are better at cheating during gambling, some are so strong they make their opponents lose fortitude (what your strength is called in the game), and others have magic that allows them to avoid drinking.

So sure, choose someone you like to look at, (you’ll have to stare at their mug the whole game between your cards and your player mat) but also try out different characters until you find one or two whose  powers you like and can use expertly (like by combining cards and chaining their effects to wreck your opponent).

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