Game Art & Design History of Board Games
What is a Board Game? • A game in which counters or pieces are moved across a board. • Board game can represent almost any subject. • Board games can be designed to reach almost any age or ability level. • Board games can be strategic, territorial, racing, alignment or other type of genre. • Some board games have no inherent theme (checkers), while others have a definite subject or narrative (Clue).
History • Board games have been played in almost all cultures and civilizations throughout history. • Some early historic board games pre-date literacy skill development. • “Boards” may have been drawn in dirt or carved into stone.
Board Game Timeline • 3500 BC Senet found under pre-dynastic Egyptian burials. • 3000 BC Ancient Backgammon set at the Burnt city of Iran. • 2560 BC The Royal Game of Ur found in Ur tombs. • 1400 BC Board games etched in the roof of the Mortuary temple of Seti I include Mancala and Nine Men’s Morris. • 500 BC Earliest mention of Pachisi written in a Indian epic. • 200 AD A stone Go board found in a tomb in China. • 1930 Monopoly enters our culture. • 1957 Risk is released. • 1980 German style board games develop as a genre.
German Style Board Games(sometimes called modern games, German games, Euro-games or designer games) • Began about 1980. • Simple rules • Short to medium playing times • High level of player interaction • Attractive physical components • Emphasize strategy • Downplay luck and conflict • Lean toward economic rather than militaristic themes • Keeps all players in the game to the end • German style board games contrast to American style board games which focus on luck, conflict and drama.
Carcassonne • Tile-based German board game. • Named after the medieval fortified town of Carcassonne in southern France famed for its city walls. • Has spawned many spin offs and variations, even some PC and console versions. • The game has wooden follower pieces called “meeples” and have become a symbol of European board gaming.
Carcassonne Gameplay Carcassonne is a medieval landscape built by the players as the game progresses. The game starts with a single terrain tile face up and 71 others shuffled face down for the players to draw from. On each turn a player draws a new terrain tile and places it adjacent to tiles that are already face up. The new tile must be placed in a way that extends features on the tiles it abuts: roads must connect to roads, fields to fields, and cities to cities. After placing the new tile, the placing player may opt to station a follower piece on that tile. The follower can only be placed on the just-placed tile, and must be placed in a specific feature. A follower claims ownership of one terrain feature—road, field, city, or cloister—and may not be placed on a feature already claimed by another player's follower. However, it is possible for terrain features to become shared after the further placement of tiles. For example, two field tiles which each have a follower can become connected into a single field by another terrain tile. The game ends when the last tile has been placed. At that time all features (including fields) score points for the players with the most followers in them. The player with the most points wins the game.
Carcassonne Scoring During the turn, cities, cloisters, and roads (but not fields) are scored when they are completed—cities and roads when there is no unfinished edge from which to expand, cloisters when surrounded by eight tiles. At the end of the game, when there are no tiles remaining, all incomplete features, are scored. Points are awarded to the players with the most followers in a feature. If there is a tie for the most followers in any given feature, all of the tied players are awarded the full number of points. In general (see table) points are awarded for the number of tiles covered by a feature; cloisters score for neighboring tiles as well; fields score based on the number of abutting completed cities. Once a feature is scored, all of the followers in that feature are returned to their owners.
Carcassonne • Carcassonne is an excellent “gateway” game used to introduce new players to other board games. • The rules are simple, no one is eliminated and play is fast. • Typical game lasts 45 minutes. • There is a substantial luck component to the game. • Good tactics can improve your chances of winning.
Carcassonne Variations • "Carcassonne — Inns and Cathedrals" • "Carcassonne — Traders and Builders" • "Carcassonne — The Princess and the Dragon" • "Carcassonne — The Tower" • "Carcassonne — Abbey and Mayor" • "Carcassonne — The Catapult" • "Carcassonne – The Wheel of Fate" Carcassonne for the Xbox 360
Board Game Categories • One way to categorize board games is to distinguish those based primarily upon luck from those that involve significant strategy. • Chess is deterministic, relying on strategy. • Children’s games tend to be luck-based such as Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders. • Most board games require luck and strategy. • A player may be hampered by a few poor rolls of the dice in Risk or Monopoly, but over many games a player with a superior strategy will win more often. • Another important factor in a game is diplomacy, where players making deals with each other. • Two-player games do not usually have diplomacy. • An example of diplomacy is The Settlers of Catan, for example where you convince people to trade with you rather than with other players. • Luck is introduced to a game by a number of methods such as dice, a deck of cards, randomly picked letters, spinners, and timers. • Trivia games have a great deal of randomness based on the questions a person gets.
Common Terms • Game board (or simply board)—the (usually quadrilateral) surface on which one plays a board game; the namesake of the board game, gameboards are a necessary and sufficient condition of the genre. Most games use a standardized and unchanging board (chess, Go, and backgammon all have such a board), but many games use a modular board whose component tiles or cards can assume varying layouts from one session to another, or even as the game is played. • Game piece (or counter or token or bit or mover)—a player's representative on the game board. Each player may control one or more game pieces. In some games that involve commanding multiple game pieces, such as chess, certain pieces have unique designations and capabilities within the parameters of the game; in others, such as Go, all pieces controlled by a player have the same essential capabilities. In some modern board games, such as Clue, there are other pieces that are not a player's representative, i.e. weapons. In some games, pieces may not represent or belong to a particular player. • Jump—to bypass one or more game pieces and/or spaces. Depending on the context, jumping may also involve capturing or conquering an opponent's game piece. • Space (or square)—a physical unit of progress on a gameboard delimited by a distinct border. Alternately, a unique, atomic position on the board on which a game piece may be located while in play (in Go, for example, the pieces are placed on intersections of lines on the grid, not in the areas bounded by the grid lines as is seen in chess). • Hex In hexagon-based board games, this is the common term for a standard space on the board. This is most often used in wargaming, though some abstract strategy games such as Abalone use hexagonal layouts. • Capture A method in which one removes another players game piece from the board, for example: in checkers if you Jump another players piece, that piece is Captured.
Types of Board Games • Abstract strategy games like chess, checkers, German-style board games, or Eurogame, like The Settlers of Catan or Puerto Rico • Race games like parchisi or backgammon • Roll-and-move games, like Monopoly or Life • Trivia games, like Trivial Pursuit • Wargames, ranging from Risk to Advanced Squad Leader • Word games, like Scrabble