Discussing Catan on NPR

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that the pandemic — which is causing many more people to stay at home much more often — has led to increased sales of board games and jigsaw puzzles. In this report from NPR, reporter Rob Schmitz looks specifically at the modern classic Catan (aka Settlers of Catan).

Rob talked to me for the story and some of my comments are included. When he asked about the impact Catan has had on boardgaming, I gushed (if my recollection is correct) even a little more than is included in the final report.

It’s difficult to overestimate, in my view, the influence Catan has had on the design of modern board games. You can’t draw a straight line from every game back to Catan, of course, but that’s also part of its influence. It broke the mold, and was wildly successful doing so. That helped inspire other designers and publishers to take more risks, to be more creative.

We’re all treated to a much richer selection of tabletop games today because of Catan.

You can listen to Rob’s story below, or on NPR’s website (where a transcript is also available).

How to Host a Game Night – New Book in October

My next book — HOW TO HOST A GAME NIGHT — is available for pre-order!

It’s no secret that I love board games, and writing HOW TO HOST A GAME NIGHT was an absolute blast. It’s packed with practical advice, incredible and funny stories about gaming, and reviews of some of the games I love best.

I wrote a piece for The Opinionated Gamers that talks a bit more about why I love this project so much.

Published by Tiller Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, HOW TO HOST A GAME NIGHT is scheduled to release on Oct. 27, 2020. Go ahead and order a copy from your favorite bookstore today!

Continue reading “How to Host a Game Night – New Book in October”

Betrayal Legacy is the Greatest Game Ever Published (No Spoilers)

Betrayal Legacy is the greatest game ever published. You’re free to disagree, of course, but you would be wrong. And please note that I’m not limiting the discussion to board games. Card games, video games, lawn games, whatever games – Betrayal Legacy is the greatest of them all.

I recognize the fact that (though on some deep level I do not understand why) not everyone will enjoy Betrayal Legacy. Not everyone enjoys Citizen Kane, Don Quixote and Daredevil, either. That doesn’t mean they’re not the greatest film, novel and comic book series of all time.

No other game has so perfectly combined luck and strategy, theme and mechanics, agency and narrative. From the first time the components are spread out on the table, players take themselves on a wild ride through the history of one very haunted house. Generations of families will return to this place decade after decade, century after century, and they will discover mostly terrible things.

Read my complete review of Betrayal Legacy at The Opinionated Gamers.

17 Games You Can Play Right Now!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of board games. A few of my current favorites are Ticket to Ride (especially the Pennsylvania map), Betrayal at House on the Hill (can’t wait for the upcoming Betrayal Legacy), Pandemic (and its offspring), and Downforce (a wonderful auto racing game).

But there are times when you find yourself stuck somewhere without any games. No cards. No dice. Not even a coin to flip.

That’s why I put together the ebook 17 Games You Can Play Right Now!.

As long as you have a pencil and paper, you can play any of these 17 great public domain games, including laugh-out-loud party games, deep-thinking strategy games, clever word games, and more. I rewrote the rules from top to bottom to ensure clarity and consistency. (That was the goal, anyway. You can decide if I succeeded.) Here’s the full list of games:

  • Bulls & Cows (2 players)
  • Capture (2 to 4 players)
  • Categories (3 to 12 players)
  • Celebrities (4 to 12 players)
  • Charades (4 to 12 players)
  • Dots (2 players)
  • Geography (2 to 8 players)
  • Ghost (2 to 6 players)
  • Gomoku (2 players)
  • Hangman (2 players)
  • Labyrinth (3 to 6 players)
  • Paper Soccer (2 players)
  • Paper Telephone (6 to 10 players)
  • Poker Squares (2 to 8 players)
  • Salvo (2 players)
  • S.O.S. (2 players)
  • Word Squares (2 to 8 players)

17 Games You Can Play Right Now! is available as an ebook for Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook, Kobo and other e-readers.

And right now, it’s just 99 cents!

The Throes of Crime, Government & Board Games

Pandemic LegacyMy buddy Christopher Irvin recently asked me a bunch of questions about THE THROES OF CRIME, government, board games, and much more.

Read the full interview here.

(Spoiler alert: My current favorite board game is pictured to the right.)

You can also check out Chris’s books: SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE, BURN CARDS, and FEDERALES.

Cardboard Crimes at The Sirens of Suspense

Ca$h ’n Gun$In addition to writing crime fiction, I play board games. A lot of board games.

Most of us are familiar with Clue (first published in 1949), but crime-themed games have come a long way over the past seven decades.

The Sirens of Suspense invited me to write about some of my favorite crime-themed games, and I jumped at the opportunity.

Take a look at my list and let me know what you think!