Designer Gaming

The Christmas party was not however the only interesting thing I did during my trip to New York. Because for the first time in a long time, The Red StringTM gang were able to gather in one place. So I visited Simi and her boyfriend Mike at their apartment in Brooklyn.

Now Mike is a pretty interesting guy. He’s a techie like me, and so he owns all sorts of cool and fun gadgets. I got to mess with his RC helicopter and his kaossilator but what we spent most of the night doing, was playing designer games. For those of you who don’t know, Designer games are a pretty recent crop of games that started to gain popularity in 1995. They generally have simple rules, deep strategy, and a very high replay value – often allowing multiple game configurations with the same game pieces.

Funny enough, the only reason I know all that about Designer games is because about a year ago, I conceptualised one such game myself. Most of my information comes from the research I had to do then.

I visited Simi & Mike twice during my stay in NYC. On the first visit, there were 5 of us, and we played a game called Seven Dragons (amongst other things). Explaining its game dynamics or that of any of the games we played that visit or the next will take way too much time and so I’m not going to do that. What I will do, is say that these games were much more interesting than any board game I’d played prior. Better than Monopoly, better than Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, Life… and most of the other traditional board games I’ve played.

The sheer depth of strategy involved in these games is what makes them as fun as they are. Often leading players to create elaborate schemes to defeat their opponents. In doing so, players become more engaged and involved in the gameplay.

Amongst the other memorable games played during the visits were Dominion, Yikerz, Anomia, and Taboo. Of these, Anomia & Taboo are not designer games. But I strongly suggest you check them all out, as each was interesting in its own way.

Damola Mabogunje

Software Engineer by day, Blogger, Poet and Author, by night, I spend my days writing everything from the convex comma, to highly complex code.

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