Games

This part of the web site is mainly about the board games I have developed or am developing. But, besides my own games, I also make available here published games I have reproduced or expansions I have created.

What follows is about my slow discovery of board games. You might wonder who could possibly be interested in that. But then, I don't really care. I mainly wrote it for my own amusement. You are welcome to ignore it!

When I was a boy (so long ago that I don't care to enter into details), I learned Checkers, Nine Men's Morris, Dominoes, Chess, and Monopoly. I also knew how to play traditional Italian card games like Scopa, Briscola, and Rubamazzo (Steal-pile), but didn't have many friends to play with. My parents, my older sister, and a cousin often played the three-deck Italian version of Canasta. I still remember that the cards only had red and black dots instead of the usual Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs (FYI, the men with sombreros were the jokers):

Italian Canasta Playing Cards

And the three decks, published by Modiano, came in a lovely wooden box covered with red fabric:

Modiano Canasta Box

Later, when I entered university, some friends introduced me to Stratego, Diplomacy, and Go, but I couldn't really get interested in those games. Just about when I completed my studies in Physics, Dungeons & Dragons made Role-Playing Games (RPGs) popular, but war games and RPGs were not for me either.

Towards the end of the 1970s, my girlfriend showed me Halma and we played a few times. Now, concerning Halma, it seems that both Board Game Geek (BGG) and Wikipedia got it wrong: they state that the game was invented by the American surgeon George Howard Monks in 1983/4. This seems to be confirmed by his U.S. patent application for Halma dated 1988. But how could it be that my girlfriend had a copy of the game from when she was a child? BGG lists a version of Halma published in 1920 and Hasbro makes available a PDF showing that Halma had already been copyrighted in 1938. But I am digressing...

It was only in 2012 that I discovered BGG and modern board games. During the past six years (from 2012-11-24 to 2018-12-14) I have played 261 different board and card games and have built up a library of 62 games. This is actually quite modest, considering that there are gamers who own thousands of games. To be honest, as much as I like BGG, I'm not actually a game geek. One of the possible meaning of geek according to dictionary.com, is: "a person who has excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity". I don't know what "excessive" means in this context, but I know that geeks like a lot to talk about games, events, and who's who in the field. It was the same in writing circles: many/most people talked all the time about who wrote what, who attended what event, who won what award, and who shook hands with whom.

I like to play games, but am not interested in trivia and gossip. You could say that I am a nerd rather than a geek. In fact, I don't understand that most people collect and play many games but do not try to develop new ones. As soon as I discovered the modern board games, I started developing my own games. I underestimated the effort and the knowledge that developing new games involved, but I think I am now close to realising something viable.

Another thing I like to do (besides playing and developing games) is reproducing existing games or create expansions for them. For example, I duplicated Streetcar, a lovely 1995 out-of-print game, and made several custom tiles for Carcassonne.

I don't like playing:

I positively loath (despite their success) games that focus on social interactions between the players (e.g., Codenames, Trivial Pursuit, and Balderdash). Card games that involve reading a lot of text are in general not my favourite either, perhaps because without repeated plays to familiarise with the cards and considering my not-so-stellar memory, I usually end-up playing them almost at random.

A game I love is Luxor. In fact, at the moment, it is the only game that gets from me a BGG rating of 10 out of 10. I had given a 9 to the 2000 edition of Carcassonne, but I increased it to 9.5 for the 2014 edition because it introduced the Abbot, which I find very useful.

Currently, the games to which I have given a rating of 9 are (without considering their different editions): Sanssouci, Ticket to Ride Europe, and Unfair (which, for some months, was my favourite game).

You can contact me at email address or send a BGG message to BloodyMe.