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One thing I often hear when I talk about board games, or card games, or role playing games is that people don't think that others play them any more.

Things I hear:

Board games are something you do with your kids, maybe, and they haven't changed much in 40/50 years.
Card games  are either  Poker, Black Jack and other casino card games. OR it's the super "misfit" game of Magic.
Role Playing Games?  You mean like Dungeons and Dragons, I thought those were only played on the computer or game console now.
Well, no, there's an entire world of gaming out there that isn't the tired old board games you find at Toys R Us and Walmart (actually though some of "our" games have made their way there), there are other card games besides gambling games and Magic,   role playing still happens where people site in the same room looking at each other actively using their imaginations, and hey some even outright act it out.

There is a sub culture that meets a few times every month, or even every week to play board, card, miniature, and other games.  There are even conventions where the primary focus is game playing.

These aren't people who live in their mom's basement and are generally losers or  MIT eggsheads (though we have them).  We've evolved.  We are successful engineers, bankers, teachers, construction workers and those in retail, gay, straight, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, atheists, conservatives, Republicans, liberal, Democratic, black, white, brown, single, coupled, married, etc. and often with children.  

Like us ,our games have evolved too.  From Monopoly, Life, Sorry and Risk (though we still often play them)  to Star Fleet Battles, Settlers of Catan, Thurn and Taxis, Endeavor, and Twlight Imperium.  

Haven't heard of the last five?  

Follow me over Lord Markos' Great Orange Glyph of Providential Knowledge, to learn more

Soooo I see you've activated the glyph.

You're either interested and want to find out more.  Or you are a gamer already (more for you later in the diary)


Board Games - They are pretty much the same as they've always been, except for some games you get your own board, or none at all. Played with dice or cards or tiles.

Wait!  How does this work?  A board game not having a board?

It does have a board, but not in the traditional sense.  The board is either created by tiles at the beginning of the game, lending to the randomness of the board and different choices every game.  Leading to different game play each game.

OR the tiles are pulled out during the game and laid down like a puzzle, creating the "board" as you go.

Card Games - There are two types.  
  • Collectible Card Games (CCG) - those are games like Magic, Yu-gi-oh, and Pokemon.  Everyone collects and builds their own decks to use when playing each other.
  • Standard/Regular - where you have one(the same) deck that everyone uses.  Example: Poker, Old Maid, Uno.

Minatures or Minis - Minis are games where the playing pieces are tiny (and not so tiny) sculptures.

They can be anything, historical, sci fiction, comic book, fantasy, modern warfare.

They can be played on a table without a map/board, with a hexmap (board or map has hexagonal "squares") a regular square movement map/board, and sometimes with a ruler/tape measure.

The results of combat is determined by die rolls and what type of damage recording system/rules the game has.

Miniature players can spend a lot of time painting and decorating their miniature.  It's a lot of fun, very relaxing and at some gaming conventions there are often workshops in mini painting.

Certain mini games are board games using cardbord "markers" or figures instead of the mini.

Role Playing Game (RPG) - you create a character using dice rolls and game rules, and then play that character with others in a "world" created out of the Game Master/Dungeon Master's imagination.  There are sci fiction, and fantasy RPGs.

Live Action Role Playing (LARP) - RPGs taken off the table and actually acted.  With people dressing as their character and physically acting out the game.  There are even soft weapons.  (

Live Action War Games (LAWG) - laser tag, air soft, paintball.

(Reinactors can fall in both LARP and LAWG categories)

Dice, Party and Misc - Games that either rely totally on dice for game play, are party games (like Cranium or Apples to Apples) or they are the games that don't fall in any way in these categories.

Style - it is an American Game or a German Game?

A German-style board game, also referred to as a Euro game or Euro-style game, is a class of tabletop games that generally have simple rules, short to medium playing times, indirect player interaction and abstract physical components. Such games emphasize strategy, downplay luck and conflict, lean towards economic rather than military themes, and usually keep all the players in the game until it ends. German-style games are sometimes contrasted with American-style games, which generally involve more luck, conflict, and drama.

German-style games are usually less abstract than chess, but more abstract than wargames and train games. Likewise, they generally require more thought and planning than party games, such as Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit, but less than classic strategy games, such as chess and Go.

German style games are responsible for bringing many women into the gaming subculture.

Game Types

There are two types of games.  The competitive game were there is one winner.  And the cooperative game where everyone works toward the same end, together.  While everyone wins in a cooperative game, if you don't finish your objective, everyone looses.

Game Genres

Yes, even games have genres.  There are historical games which involve a historical event (like the 1960 presidential election) are set in a particular time (Thurn and Taxis), or deal with a lot of events and paradoxes (Chrononauts)

There are games that deal with politics (Diplomacy), and  fantasy(Talisman), trains/railroad (Empire Builder), auto racing (Formula De), horse racing (Winner's Circle), puzzle games (Ubango), Zoos (Coloretto), war(Risk), Nuclear War (Supremacy), two player games (Twilight Struggle), and many others in genres I haven't names or that don't fit into a "genre."

There are many titles and many games.  It's not unheard of for a gamer to have 300 games.  I think we are close to 100.

These games and more will be introduced by members of DKF2F Gamers.

Where to Learn Games and Whom to Play With?

One of the purposes of DK Face to Face Gamers is to teach or at least allow you to become familiar with a game.  Those diaries will be posted Thursdays at 6pm ET.

Finding a gaming group is also a way to learn games.  By-in-large gamers what to teach others to play their games.  This increases the chances to play with others.  
Generally a person in a gaming group will suggest a game and ask if others know how to play it.  If not than that player will teach the game.

Game Stores. You can find gaming groups by going to your local gaming store.    These are a niche specialty store and often smaller communities, that don't have a university or college don't have one.  Aside from a place to by games, gaming stores usually have a bulletin board for those looking for a group, or groups looking for more people.

If there aren't any game stores in your area, look on-line for gaming groups in your state.  They can sometimes point you to a gaming group in your area.

Gaming Conventions.  I mentioned them before.  Most states have at least ONE yearly gaming convention.  While there are people there solely to play tournament games, there are also people there learning and teaching games.  Gaming conventions are the primary way word gets out about a game.

There are also people "play testing" the game they designed at conventions.  Looking for the weaknesses in their design, so they can fiddle with it and make it better.

Conventions can be overwhelming and a bit intimidating.  At first go there with a friend or friends and if possible ask one of the convention workers to help point you in the right direction.

Youtube - wonderful invention for learning games.  Just type in the name of the game you'd like to learn, or have a refresher course.

But where do you get the name of games.  Why here on DKF2F, at conventions, gaming stores and two  wonderful websites

Boardgame Geek  
Dice Tower.
Tom Vassel and his cohorts give reviews of games (and gaming conventions) in podcasts
 (here's episode 0 telling you all about what they do/and introduction) and on youtube.  
Tom's one of the stars in our subculture.


Where do I find these games?

A majority you will NOT find at Toys R Us or Walmart.  You'll either find them at a game store or on-line.  

Game stores can be few and far between, so many gamers look to see if there is a game store where they are traveling. (which is why I listed two in the NE Kossack meet -up for September).

Gaming stores are really a niche market and many of us try to always give them our business, even if the cost may be a little higher, than purchasing on the web (unless it is to an actual brick and mortar game store).  These are the 'Mom and Pop" stores we always talk about on DK.

Isn't face to face gaming a giant waste of time?

No, it actually provides many benefits.  It is a social activity, so you are interacting with people, different types of people who have their own way of thinking and doing things.  

Using strategy in gaming especially different genres and playing types of games keeps  minds fit and nimble. You're pitting yourself, your brain, against another in an none lethal, none threatening way.

For kids it helps them learn good sportsmanship, and as they get older and maybe become the "moody teenager" it's becomes a less threatening conduit for parent:teen interaction.  

It increases self confidence and self esteem and is also fun, and a release.  And in this complex world, we need releases.

"The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play."
-Capt. James T. Kirk
What to expect from DailyKos Face to Face Gamers

Hopefully gamers, newbies, will post their game day, convention or just a game experience for us all to read and enjoy like quarkstomper did in Corrupting the Youth: Gaming with my Daughter.  

Those type of diaries, please post at any time. Just kosmail the group so that we know there's one out there.  Also please post kosmail to the group if there is a gaming diary in the queue.  

Thursdays at 6pm  a diary about a (one) game will be posted.  Explaining the game, how to play it (use videos on youtube too).  

For either type of diary, if you know of gaming conventions please put that in your diary, along with a link.  

For example, the Council of Five Nations XXXV - gaming convention, which will be in Schenectady, New York, October 5-7, 2012.  It will host the largest Star Fleet Battles tournament in the world. (forgive the bragging but my husband is a "rated ace" in the game - more on that in a later diary) .

So I will post more on this convention in the next few weeks.

IF you attend the big, national conventions, GenCon, Origins, WBC (World Boardgaming Championship) - please post, (with pics)

Someday, yes, I'd like to see a DK contingent at some of the gaming conventions.

Subculture stuff


What are "Rules Lawyers?"

In games there are some times disputes.  Some people (like a friend of mine) will argue a fine point about a rule to allow the issue to be turned in his favor.  For other issues something in the game play and rules was not make clear by the designer.  Still others, a situation comes up that the designer and play testing here-to-fore never found.  A decision must be made so that the game can move forward.

Rules Lawyers are those who know all the rules of a game, and many games, have gained respect in the community and known for their fairness.  They are called upon to make decisions in rule disputes, movement disputes, card placement disputes, ect..  That decision is usually final.  

Rules Lawyers are not available in RPGs or LARPS.  One simple rule will help you in those games: The GM/DM is God.


DorkTower | Order of the Stick



3:54 PM PT: PLEASE don't forget to "follow" the DK Face to Face Gaming group.

And send me kosmail if you'd like to write some diaries for the group.

Originally posted to DKos Face to Face Gamers on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM PDT.

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