The Daily Worker Placement

Monday, May 20, 2024

Game Themes we Love: An Amuse-Bouche of an Article

by | published Tuesday, September 20, 2022

When you go to a convention or your friendly local game shop, is there a kind of game that makes your eyes light up? Polyomino pieces or birds or a very beige farm? A theme or a mechanic or even a box shape that reels you in shamelessly? That isn’t quite “shut up and take my money” but on the way there? What is it that makes you say, “Ooooooh!”

David W says he will always stop in his tracks for “games that tell stories using integrated mechanics, theme, emergent gameplay.” You might remember his article about The Initiative a while back. He’s particularly drawn to designers Alexander Pfister, Amabel Holland, Jeremy White, and John Butterfield. Games that involve time travel, geopolitics, and 4X games are particularly attractive.

Taylor G will always gravitate towards train games (you’ll meet her in an upcoming article about, yes, train games). She particularly loves them if they’ve got an auction element. She will dive right in to abstract games with interesting shapes and colors (read: minimalist design or no theme at all), but also really enjoys anthropomorphized-but-not-serious animals. Food games, plant games, maybe a little space games? (Not as much as friend of the blog Annie E who was drawn to all the star- and constellation-games at GenCon this year like a moth to the proverbial flame.)

Alice C will 100% of the time stop for games that involve feelings or are about processing death. Not RPGs so much, but On the other end of the spectrum, she’s always got her head on a swivel for games about trees or forests as well as games that have stacking as part of the mechanism. Games about trees with feelings where you stack things? She’ll take two.

Bailey D is a sucker for Knizia reprints like 2003’s Amun-Re or 2023’s Zoo Vadis, a reprint of 1991’s Quo Vadis (which, in pulling up a link, has made contributor Alice C suddenly drooling for 1990s games of all kinds). She also says theme itself isn’t the selling point, it’s the mechanisms. “The closest there is to theme over mechanics or designer is…an old-school euro where I can COMPLETELY ignore the theme.” Very on-brand, Bailey.

What is it that draws your eye every time when you’re at the FLGS? What do you click on immediately if not sooner when you see an article on BGG or your favorite board gaming blog? Share your answers with us below!


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