The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

Letters - December, 2000

Anthony Kam: A past issue posted a new game rules and asked for readers' opinions. Here are my 2 cents worth, humbly submitted. There are tons of new games rules floating around on the web, and for me personally, an unpublished, rules-only new game is not going to be tried unless I have some other reasons to believe it would be better than all the others floating on the web. Some possible reasons could be: the designer was well known, the game was a little known regional game with long history and local fan base, the game has some highly unusual feature that happens to pique my interest, etc.

GGA - Speaking personally I haven't seen that many rules for new games on the net floating around although I must admit that I haven't really looked either. Some of this is for exactly the reasons Anthony mentions. There are already plenty of commercial games available and they have theoretically gone through a "weeding out" process on the path to publication. Time to play all these games then becomes the real cost and I (and others I assume) are less likely to try a "free" game. This may be a shame though as there are bound to be wonderful public domain games that deserve to be played. One such game was taught to me by Didier Renard at Essen this year. It's called "Werewolf" (or something similar) and while I didn't get a chance to play it, those that did were having a great time of it. The rules are such that it couldn't really be marketed in its present form which may partially explain why I'd never heard of it.

Perhaps readers could write in and let us know their favorite public domain games?

Nick Sauer: Wait a minute! Ray doesn't get off that easily. You have the nerve to write about the game Future [Spielus Obscurus] and then not say anything about how accurate the predictions were? Given that the game was published in 1966 and extrapolated 20 years into the future, it would be nice to know how accurate their vision of 1986 was. I would be especially curious what they thought was most likely given that each card had a base percent chance of success. So, enlighten and entertain us Ray.

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