spielbox October 2010

spielbox 5/2010 cover This month's issue has no article on the roots of a game and no portrait of a game designer or publisher. It confirms the recent trends: the magazine has too many reviews and too few historical and 'backstage' articles for my taste.

The spielbox reviews are just one reviewer's opinions, while BoardGameGeek provides many reviews on the same game: one gets a diversity of opinions that spielbox simply can't compete with. Also, BGG doesn't have space constraints: many reviews are considerably longer, and hence more detailed and in depth, than the 1 to 3 page reviews in spielbox. Last but not least, I often don't quite understand the game descriptions in spielbox; maybe my German is not good enough, or the limited space forces the reviewers into terse descriptions, but I certainly don't have a such a problem with the many great BGG reviewers.

I would therefore like spielbox to provide me the overview, the 'backstage' and the historical perspective on games, their designers and the industry, that the many scattered forums of BGG can't. BGG is full of nice trees, but spielbox could show us the forest. Alas, most readers said in the last spielbox survey they wanted more reviews. The editor in chief then commented on the survey, remarking that the reviewers of spielbox have decades of professional experience and insight that most BGG users haven't. Now, in this issue's editorial, titled  'Our ordeals with the scoring', he justifies how more and more spielbox collaborators don't provide a numeric score (from 0 to 10) on the game they try out, because with so many more games to review, it's hard to play each one often enough to give it a fair score. Also, with more games on the market for the spielbox reviewers to cover, it becomes harder for a game to get more than one score (the one from the review's author). I rest my case on spielbox vs BGG.

So, it will be bye-bye from me to spielbox in 2011. I shall miss the non-review articles, but the scant pages (and getting fewer...) dedicated to them are not worth  €46 a year.

Well, back to this issue. The contents is as follows, with underlined games getting high scoring reviews.

  • News:
    • the re-edition of the 1980s Magier trilogy by the Rüttinger brothers
    • the Children's Game of the Year Award goes for the second time to Manfred Ludwig and for the third time to Haba
    • Charles S. Roberts, the first to publish a wargame, dies at 80
    • issue 50 of the German Culture Committee newsletter includes articles on games
  • Long reviewsChocolatl, Drachenherz, Saustall, Mystery Express, Don Quixote, The Club, Na so was, Level X, Recicle, Age of Industry, Innovation, Stronghold
  • Short reviews: Valdora extra, Martinique, Langfinger, Schweinebande, Krysis, Der Heidelbär
  • Children’s games: Mäusezocken, Würfel-Memo, Erzähl doch mal..., Inspektor Hase, Shaun das Shaf - Echt Shaf!
  • Reports:
    • Origins 2010 and how it differs from Spiel in Essen
    • Game designer meeting in Göttingen: the harsh reality of getting your games published
  • Edition spielbox: Balneator, a race game for 2 players by Andreas Rhode
  • History:
    • several relatively recent abstract games: Dvonn, Diam, Gygès, Ponte del Diavolo, etc.
    • an overview of several Carcassonne expansions (part 1)
    • for collectors: the games of Wolfgang Grosskopf, a teacher in the former German Democratic Republic
  • Variants: for Revolution

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