The Hard Six Problem in Gaming

Tennis is ruled by the Rule of Three and Five, which states that whenever you try to organize a game of tennis, you will inevitably have three or five people, ie the wrong number. American Doubles (2 vs 3) was invented to try and fix this problem but it’s one of those solutions that instead of solving anything just highlights how prevalent the problem is.

Whist, Bridge, 500 and other four-player card games have the same issue, and similar poor fixes. 3-handed and 5-handed 500 are terrible alternatives. Luckily, there are whole genres of 3 player games using a standard card deck (“solo” games, they are called), and alternatives for 5, too. Board games are much alike. If aliens found nothing of our culture but our board games (or their outside boxes) they would rapidly conclude we gathered in groups of 2-4 players. 2 CAN be problematic but whole genres and classic games exist for such times (the oldest games like draughts, chess, backgammon, go and mahjong are all 2 player). 5 too can be problematic but there are enough entries in that field to keep things going.

And by the time you get to 7, you engage the party game space. 7 is enough so team size difference no longer matters (4 vs 3 works much better than 2 vs 3), and is enough for their to be a good rabble of shouting. 3 people feels like a team, not a partnership. 7 is also enough to split into two games of 3 and 4 without feeling like two people have to play the less attractive 2 player game. 7 is enough for Arkham Horror to feel epic. 7 is enough so even though you probably don’t talk to the other people at the other end of the table, they have enough people to talk to on their own. 7 is a party game, 5 is a board game.

Which means whenever you get people together to play board games you will inevitably have six people. This is the rule of Hard Six.

I’ve spent the last few years gaming every two weeks and the number of times we have hit the Hard Six goes beyond the realms of statistical likelihood and into the suggestion of a cruel and malicious universe. I have moved between cities and states and countries and this issue follows me everywhere. I have, over the years, bought several games precisely because they go to six (and I hit 5 often enough to not buy most euros). Betrayal at House on the Hill, Seven Wonders and recently Colt Express, were all bought because they allow 6 easily without the game suffering, and they get played the most because they work like this. Shadowrift and Yggdrasil and Arabian Nights are also on my shelf not least because they allow six. We even play History of the World more than Clash of Cultures because the former allows 6. I’ve made my own rules adjustments and player materials for Dead of Winter to allow 6 (and for things like Suburbia to allow 5) and will always pick up the extra-player expansions for games that tap out at 4 or 5. I’m also the guy who will offer to “GM” the game for 5.

The Rule of Hard Six is not necessarily a flaw in game design; it is dealing with social and mechanical constraints that are difficult to work around. Human beings have limited abilities to communicate. We run out of social energy around about five other people. We can watch about four things before we run into multi-task issues. It’s difficult to build an engine that allows six players to interact, compete and share mechanical and social space in an equal and interesting way; soon enough somebody will get excluded, or lost in the shuffle, or it will turn into a race. And heck, we run into this limit in racing anyway – there’s a reason most track events only host 8 people – our brains just tap out at that point.

And maybe I’m the only person who runs into the Hard Six. I know many couples or buddies who run into the 2-player doldrums (and me and my gamer buddy do, and I need to marry someone who will fix this, ladies, call me) but I don’t see a lot of people complaining about the Hard Six. Maybe I am under a dark curse to always have five other players. Maybe I have too many friends. Maybe there’s a genre of gaming I don’t know about. Maybe all the Germans are laughing at me because they have 2.1 children or have the lovely couple next door over. Maybe personal devices will help by keeping the sixth person occupied. Maybe we need to get better at dealing with the still somewhat taboo idea of splitting the group up for two separate games. Maybe we should not have rooms with one big gaming table but two smaller tables, as with the old days of Bridge.

Let me know if you run into the Hard Six issue so I know I’m not alone, or what solutions you’ve found to deal with it. Or let me know I’m crazy. Or if you know anything about the dark curse.

Games I’ve Got My Eye On aka What I Want For Christmas

Since I’ve put my roleplaying on hiatus, I’ve been gorging my board game addiction as much as cash will allow which is totally not enough in a world full of such brilliant games. Here’s a few I’ve been looking at, for my reference purposes and others’, in no particular order.

Everything By Vlaada Chvatil: Vlaada is a Czech game designer who seems to make unstoppable awesome, and I want everything he’s made. Space Alert, the real time shouty panic card game is top of the list (or its dice-rolling cousin, ESCAPE! Temple Run, if I can’t get Space Alert). Galaxy Trucker also sounds good, with the same wacky comedy of Space Alert where you build a space ship badly then watch it fall apart. There’s also Bunny Bunny Moose Moose which is a party/family game where you have to be a bunny or a moose, depending on cards flipped up. Imagine Simon Says but much more insane. His new hotness genius is Tash-Kalar which is a game about card-management where you play little monsters to build up points to bring out big kahuna monsters but the condition to play cards is based on the arrangement of pieces on a chess-like board. Imagine chess but if you force your opponent to play a bishop next to a knight and boom, you get a second queen. Mad genius.

Collaborative Story Fun: A mouthful but an Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on Cursed Island is an intriguing collaborative game, alas only for four players and with a set-up that makes Arkham Horror look simple. Eight scenarios with different goals but each combining different ways of hunting monsters, exploring a randomly tiled island, building tools and to build settlements and random events throwing it all off kilter, and never enough resources or time to do everything. Like Arkham Horror with Pandemic’s pace. Speaking of the great AH, I’m keen to try it’s very close new cousin Eldritch Horror where Corey Konieczwa applies the same brain that turned Space Hulk into Death Angel and reduces AH down to its bare essentials while still having basically the same mechanic: travel the world, have encounters, gather clues before the gates open. Most of all though I want to pick up Legends of Andor, the winner of the Kennerspiel deh Jahres this year despite being for children and collaborative. All the stress of Arkham Horror but with fantasy heroes exploring the land like Mage Knight! Pseudo-RPGs also lead me to Mice and Mystics a game of miniature heroes fighting cats and cockroaches – basically another Descent or zombie hunter but with a much more distinctive setting.

The Weird and Wonderful: When the Germans do mundanity, it’s REALLY mundane – the thrill of the 18th century post office or pumping electricity around Dusseldorf. But mundane can be pulse-pounding awesome, like Pandemic, or Fire Team Rescue, or Police Precinct or City Council which sounds excellent: pressure from special interests, skim off the top before financial constraints kick in, ponder whether to burn down the zoo to make room for a hospital? I love this trend in games and hope it continues cos I dig real-world stuff. Keeping on weird though there’s the logical games of a kind of Robo-Rally Redux in Twin Tin Bots – program robots to pick up crystals but you can’t change your programming as much as you’d like! Or, work together to give as much information as possible without breaking the rules (like bidding in Bridge) to lay down cards in a perfect pattern with the amazing (not to mention short, sweet, elegant and cheap) Hanabi.

The Euro Reliables, Turned Up to Eleven: What do you get if you combine the hex control of Settlers with the worker placement choices of Village and the random VP goals of Stone Age and the race choices of Cosmic Encounter and the player psychology of Chaos in the Old World? Something like Terra Mystica, which has so many widgets, yet apparently comes together smoothly, in that the choices aren’t difficult to understand, just deep to choose between. Or have the same kind of myriad of choices but with title exploration and resource limitations like you’ve rammed Terra Mystica back into Robinson Crusoe and created Archipelago. And since I can never get people over to game as much as I want, I’m super curious to try the solo genius of Friday. While not euro in truth but in style, I hear good things about AEG’s set of four linked games in the same setting, particularly the uber-simple five minutes to play 12-cards-only Love Letter.

Everything is Better Licensed: There are not one but two Firefly games coming out (and that doesn’t even include the RPG). Legendary, the Marvel Deckbuilder could use the expansion (well, my buddy who owns it could). And they’ve just made a collaborative demon-fighting game based on Journey to the West.

So just a few, you know.

So let’s talk about the 2013 Spiel Des Jahres nominees….

For those who aren’t in the know, the Spiel des Jahres are the Oscars of board gaming, only with a lot more credibility and less dresses. In Germany, winning is a big deal, because it really is a nod to being something above and beyond just a good game, to being a great game – and that can really drive up sales. Previous winners have been games which have changed how the industry and the hobby have functioned, like Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan. Recent winners include game-changing designs like Dominion and the genius of Seven Wonders.

Also, if you don’t know, we’re currently in a gaming golden age, so in 2011 the SdJ expanded from one category to three: kids games, general, and the Kennerspiel, which is like the board game geek’s games, the connoisseur’s game. That way they can include games that are brilliant in the general category, even though they might not bust your brain with their brilliant strategy of cube assembly. That said, Seven Wonders won the Kennerspiel in 2011, though some might call it quite light (the gorgeous describing fun of Dixit won the general). Both of those were highly deserved and I own both. 2012 it went to Village and Quirkle, respectively. Quirkle was noteworthy because again, like Dixit it was very family friendly – easy to teach, quick to play and full of symbol matching that was good for kids and brains.

Because they now have three categories, the jury can only nominate three games for each. The jury also recommends some games they think were of a high standard, because again: GOLDEN AGE, and because three is hard to get to. It’s a hell of a thing to get on that list. So let’s talk about them.

On the Kennerspiel list, we have some usual suspects: Brugge and The Palaces of Carara are both games about history, and about trade, and Brugge is an action-chosing game not unlike Puerto Rico and Race For the Galaxy, but with personalities and genius card matching. Carara has an insane spinny-thing in the middle but it is also familiar territory in that it is about balancing how much you benefit others to get what you need yourself, and multiple paths to victory in buying and selling. These games are probably great but I’m less interested in them then the third name on the list: The Legend of Andor. It’s important for two reasons: one, it’s co-operative, and two, it’s about telling a story.

From the blurb it seems not unlike Runescape or Descent, telling the tale of brave adventurers heading on a quest, but without a GM to foil them – instead they face a combination of the usual collaborative board game randomness and resource juggling, but also a story deck that builds a narrative. Exactly how that’s achieved I have yet to see but it’s interesting as hell. More and more storytelling games are coming out (look at Mice and Mystics, for example, which is effectively an RPG) and here is one not just on the SdJ list but on the KENNERSPIEL Des Jahres. A storytelling game that ranks with Settlers and Seven Wonders in elegance and design AND strategy? That’s amazing. It’s also, perhaps an indication of a trend: as the golden age grows, more and more of us are playing, and less and less of us like competition – and love stories.

Am I seeing what I want to see? Well, then consider this: two of the three general games are also collaborative. Quixx is a fast-paced dice game where you have to sort of get yahtzee, but all together, and other people can help you when it’s your turn. And Hanabi is a mind-bending card game where you can see everyone’s cards but your own, and you have to try and give limited clues to your friends so you all play your cards in the right order and on the right piles. Again, nothing against Augustus, the third entry, which is like super bingo: pulling random things out of a bag to match sets on cards, but you have to choose which cards to finish and which to abandon – it’s just not collaborative, so doesn’t prove my thesis.

I also want to mention La Boca, a game where two people work together to assemble blocks to fit the prescribed pattern – but they sit opposite each other and can only see their side of the object they are creating. It’s on the Recommended list from the judges, and like Hanabi is a game about communication: those who do it better, win more. And about teamwork, even if each team competes with others. I think this is a really interesting trend that looks at what we can use games to do – to not just teach maths or problem solving, but how to actually be better human beings, and celebrate those things.

Of course, this is just this year. Next year, it could be all cut-throat backstabbing Werewolf clones. But it’s definitely worthy of note that this year, half the games on the list are collaborative, and one of them is about telling a story. That has my attention. Oh yes.

Not all of these games are out in English yet, but you can read all about them on Board Game Geek. I also accept review copies.

Some Small World Ideas

Finally catching up to the Small World craze, here are my Race and Power ideas for critique:

Golems 9

When in Decline, other players may conquer regions your Golems occupy as if they were empty. This still counts as a battle for Orcs, Skeletons etc

This models Golems “shutting down” or breaking when they can’t work any more.  Close to the Power “Vanishing” from SW: Underground.

Priests 6 (15 in tray)

For every region your Priests hold at the start of their turn, you may take an extra Priest from the tray.

It’s like the Skeleton ability but you have to take and hold.  Maybe should be just 5 to start – but it does make you a target.

Unicorns 6

At the end of every other players’ turn while your Unicorns are active, they gain one additional coin if they did not attack or use their Race or Special Effect on your Unicorns.

Unicorns giving you a boon for being peaceful – to them.  A reverse of Peace-Loving.

Centaurs 7

Place the two Charge tokens in any two regions adjacent to regions your Centaurs occupy. Centaurs may charge through that region and attack the next, thus reaching regions they are not adjacent to. At the end of the turn, return the Charge tokens to your hand.

I’ve seen this on the net as Frogmen who can use this constantly, but that seems too powerful, especially since it duplicates the ability of the river-leaping Lizardmen and makes the Quarrelling power way too awesome.

Nimble 5

You may conquer any Swamp and Forest Regions with one less Race token than usual. A minimum of one token is still required.

A simple twist on Mounted, with the other two areas. Haven’t seen this one on the net but seems quite obvious!

Gangs Of 5

When you conquer a region, you require one less Race token for each Region adjacent to the target beyond the first that you occupy. For example if you target a region and you occupy three adjacent regions, you require two fewer tokens. A minimum of one token is still required.

This one IS on the net a lot, called Surrounding, Tactical, Flanking or Overrunning.

Defiant 5

At the end of any players’ turn in which your active Race had tokens returned to your hand, you may Redeploy these tokens as if in your Redeployment phase. You may only place tokens in regions you still own. You may never conquer new regions, gain new tokens fron the tray or use Race or Special powers during this step. If you own no regions at the end of the turn, skip this step.

I’d like there’d to be some way to retreat not into your hand, so you can do the Priestesses trick every turn, in a sense – bottle up on something you really value to stop losing it or block another player from taking it. This may be too weak.

Tax 3

At the end of your turn, gain one coin from each player who controls an active race that you did not attack this turn. Races in Decline never pay tax.

Like Thieving (from SW: Underworld) but you don’t have to be adjacent – but like Peace-Loving you can’t attack. Basically it is a variable Peace-Loving, which gives you +3 if you attack nobody. I also love the idea of having Tax Ogres, say.

Occupy Catan

I’m often writing about how games can be political. Like the CRPG about being a refugee, or the game about moving people to Auschwitz. Now we’ve got Catan: Oil Springs, which brings environmental degredation to the wonderful world of sheep for wood. (Note: link leads to PDF download of rules).

Preachy? Maybe. But you CAN still win as long as the entire island isn’t polluted. If anything, the game suggests that environmental destruction is totally an acceptable risk.

And that’s what games can and should be for. As Stephen Fry said, history is about imagination, not facts, about putting yourself in another time, place and position, in your heart and mind.  Games do that better than anything, by simply entangling your win condition with non-abstract goals. And politics is all about how the other half lives, and how we balance their needs with ours, and how we communicate across those lines.

The question isn’t can games be political. It’s why haven’t we noticed they’ve ALWAYS been political. Indeed, the first version of Monopoly was designed to be broken, to teach kids monopolies end up hurting more than they help. That’s WHY the gameplay sucks so much. Most people missed the point, of course, but I think the same could be said of say, Das Kapital.

Steve, putting the Revolution in the Dance Dance

 

Fragments from AusCon…

“Oh my god my life is a mess”
– freelance Voodoo priestess and ship’s cook, Eloise Laplace, on being in love with her mother’s ex-lovers’ brother, in Smallville (of course)

In reverse order:

Ran Smallville again. We barely had time to get one roll for everyone in because we were doing chargen for SEVEN! people. Madness. But gorgeous madness that everyone enjoyed heartily, I think. The hat-pulls were “Napoleonic Wars” and “1950’s B-Movie SF”, which led to an awesome alt-history where the Wars had gone into detente while Dutch, French and English scientist united to explore a common enemy – a deadly alien force from beneath the sea. More on that later. First pull was “Unruly Teens” and “Venice” which I loved – imagine mixing The Outsiders with The Libertine! – but people didn’t get a strong enough hook from Venice, and fair enough. Full Hat List below.

Ran Three Hours to Midnight, with four amazing minds and passionate hearts and created something new and wonderful currently called Hunter’s Dawn. The final version after three hours is complete and playable, if sketchy, not to mention clever and unique. It also hints at a much more developed and ten times more awesome second edition, which we intend to have prepped to demo at next year’s AusCon! Woot! We also, I think, all learnt a lot about design, as you always do in these things. Thanks to Natan, Bonnie, Gareth and Sam – I’ll be in touch soon, and my blog readers (all two of you) will know more soon too.

I entered “GM of Legend” and got handed three random words and about an hour to prepare (plus eat lunch) for a game of a bunch of people. The words were sphinx, caravan and adultery. As usual, speed forced me to fall back on my strengths and I wrote a little freeform/LARP/thing (ie pregen characters where everyone has secrets and conflicting goals). The characters were all royal sphinxes of the Great Sphinx Empire, and King Felix had heard rumours his wife was disloyal, so had sent all the eligible royal males away on a trade mission. The caravan had just returned from Greece – and shenanigans were about to break out. More on that later. I came second (DOH!) to the awesome John Reid but was told by one player he gave me full marks in every category, so that was nice. Keen to hear more about the other games, as John ran Dread, and other GMs ran Pathfinder and something else, and I’d love to hear what kind of D&D or Dread game emerged from those words!

And first off I did some seminars about being a GM and learning from TV. The former was well attended, and one person came back to hear it when we repeated it again later, so I think people are really keen to know about GMing stuff. The latter only reached two guys but I learnt a lot from expanding on my ideas. Please, if you heard a seminar from me, send me feedback because I love doing them and want to tailor them to what you want to hear. The final seminar was with my regular colleagues Timothy and Nathan, who are always intelligent, illuminating and excellent. We talked about how to finish and how to publish, and Nathan gave some excellent info on POD and Lulu (apparently, Lulu is the SHIZNIT). Timothy also made an excellent point about how e-readers may totally revolutionise the way RPGs are written because they can do maths for you as you read…

I also played a bunch of board games to find out how they worked, although very few reached completion. A Touch of Evil seems awesome, Hey That’s My Fish is cute but has too much set up, Torres BROKE MY MIND and may be too clever for its own good but boy is it clever, Ad Astra is like Settlers only it blows, and Small World is just as neat as advertised. Future sales will be based on these samples, perchance…

Wish there’d been more time for play and more people to play with, but we got chucked out right on five and numbers were a little low in general – but it’s a good sign that there was too much cool stuff to fit in (didn’t even get to fight zombies or walk them or whatever one does with them)…I think AusCons may run the distance and bring more awesome in the future!

All games are customizable

 

You know, in all the hype of Risk being customizable, I forgot that ALL games are customizable.

Now, I know there are some people who think games (and indeed books) are beautiful perfect museum objects. You should look away now. I read books with a pen in my hand, because annotation adds to meaning and clarity. Why should games be any different? Don’t like a rule? Change it. Add an in-joke. Make a cultural reference more localized. Doodle on the corner. It shouldn’t have to be 1001 Blank White Cards (which is one of my favourite games, by the by) to make us get the pen out.

And I say this because we need all the encouragement we can get, it seems. Case in point: this weekend we are gearing up for our local convention and tournament of the awesomely ridiculous and ridiculously awesome CCG, Shadowfist. One of the tournaments uses a draft, but since the game requires basic cards (like lands in magic) and most “lands” in the game have super-powers, we have “pods” of basic sets of lands ready to go, which are assumed to all have blanked rules text to keep things fair. After a very long conversation about whether we should print out blanked templates to stick onto the lands to make up permanent pod cards or just ignore the text, we finally, finally realised that we live in a world with photoshop, cheap ink and excellent printers. Not to mention scissors and glue.

Since they have no rules, there was no issue of design or fairness, and because the game is about battling for control of Feng Shui energy by claiming or defending sites, the obvious conclusion was to make our local tournament be about local conquest. Which is to say, we made up a whole set of cards based on local Brisbane landmarks. The con blog has three done so far. The whole deck is going to look awesome and make the tournament feel unique.

And it struck me that this needs to be done EVERYWHERE. Why play Monopoly and land on Park Place/Mayfair when you could land on Dave’s House? Why win $50 in a Beauty Contest when you could win $50 Fighting a Giant Wombat? Sure, biro looks cheap but GIMP is free, and we live in a world of glue and scissors.

Forget the sacred. It’s stopping us from making games more awesome, more fun and more about US. This weekend, I want you all to drag out your Monopoly set and rename all the properties. I dare you. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU.

Then post your new board on the web. And the best thing is, yours won’t look like anyone else’s, ever. You’ll have a unique board game that you helped design (if only graphically), and you didn’t even have to play Risk to get it. And that’s awesome.

It’s a Game You Build Yourself

In yet another attempt to make Risk actually likeable, Hasbro has actually done something interesting. The new version of Risk is customizable, and changes over time. You not only get to name cities, determine faction abilities (by choosing from stickers and applying the stickers to the faction) and high value territories at the start, but as wins and losses accrue you open sealed bags in the box set for new rules and cards – with new rules being stuck down in appropriate sections in the rulebook.

There’s also nice thematics here: the world in question is an empty alternate earth, waiting to be named, and if you blow up a city enough, it stops being fortified, and so forth. In the end, your game reflects past plays with your group, which is fun. It’s still Risk, but it’s a good idea and I hope we’ll see more ideas building on this. Full rules (minus sealed rules) here.

Origins and Spiel de Jahres

Well Origins was last weekend so it’s time to find out the winners and the losers.

Ogre Cave has the full list, some highlights: Dresden takes out best RPG, over and above the popular (DC Adventures) and the truly interesting (Fiasco, Dragon Age) and also picks up best supplement for its GM book. Clearly, I have misunderestimated this Dresden Files rpg.  Castle Ravenloft got best board game so clearly the rpg-board game hybrid is getting a lot of attention these days. Best card game goes to the rebranding of Chrononauts, because Looney Labs always sells well!

I was on the jury determining the short list for Best Family or Party Game and I’m disappointed that Zombie Dice won. I guess its because Origins is more for non-families, and also, gamers will vote for anything with zombies in it. Hamlet’s Hit Points – also dissed. Origins, you are a crazy mixed-up bitch.

Meanwhile, the Germermans know games and the Spiel de Jahres (game of the year) is always worth sitting up and staring at with gibbering intensity. This year it went to the family-friendly and brightly coloured Qwirkle – you have my attention, pretty coloured shapes! They also finally added a Best Game For Gamer Nerds category – the Kennerspiel de Jahres, or Connoisseurs’ Game of the Year, which went to 7 Wonders.  Wonders has been on my “must save up and buy” list all year, this tips it over the line.

Interestingly though, while Qwirkle looks all family friendly and you might suspect is of more general appeal, it’s actually a strategy game, whereas most of the BoardGameGeek crowd have dismissed 7 Wonders as being mostly about luck. One wonders if the Kennerspiel is not so much for connoisseurs, but for Eurogeeks who would be outraged that the American-made non-historical Qwirkle won the day?

Not to be bitchy, but surely the game of the year is going to be a game for connoisseurs already? Or are we still dividing the world into Regular People and Gamers? Wasn’t the whole point of Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride to get rid of that divide?

Food for thought. Or possibly games for thought.

2011 Diana Jones Nominees

It’s not up on the DJ website yet but the nominees are:

* Catacombs, a board-game by Ryan Amos, Marc Kelsey and Aron West, published by Sands of Time Games
* The Dresden Files RPG by the Dresden Files RPG Team, published by Evil Hat Productions
* Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, a board-game by Mario Porpora, Pietro Righi Riva, Luca Francesco Rossi and Nicolò Tedeschi, published by Cranio Creations
* Fiasco, an RPG by Jason Morningstar, published by Bully Pulpit Games
* Freemarket, an RPG by Luke Crane and Jared A. Sorensen, published by Sorencrane MRCZ

 

Freemarket is no surprise; it’s not just a clever marrying of roleplaying principles and post-scarcity principles (since the two overlap) but it sells as a box full of wacky cards and chips, trying to smash apart what people think of as RPGs, and without drowning in thousands of bits like other games.

Fiasco is also no surprise. It’s a lovely working of the random-plot-generator idea from the 80s (made cool again in games like In A Wicked Age), combined with a theatre-sports like mechanic of offers and acceptances. And by cleverly branding itself as the game of “shit hits the fan” films, it’s carved a totally separate media niche – and so successfully I’ve seen it being advertised in mainstream catalogues. Smallville was the indie game that looked like a regular RPG, but Fiasco is the indie game that looks like a board game.

Dresden Files over Smallville? That one I don’t get. But I’ve never been a fan of FATE, it’s just another generic system with a fun tagging mechanic. And nothing I see in the Dresden RPG makes it feel very noir. Smallville is arguably a show with a much greater and deeper fan base too.

I know nothing of the other two board games. So I’m off to Board Game Geek (winner of last year’s DJ) to find out more.