Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 57:13 — 52.8MB)
As board games are becoming increasingly popular with adults, we ask: What's the relationship between a board game's mechanics and its narrative? Does the "message" of a board game matter?
Mark is joined by game designer Tommy Maranges, educator Michelle Parrinello-Cason, and ex-philosopher Al Baker to talk about re-skinning games, designing player experiences, play styles, game complexity, and more.
Some of the games we mention include Puerto Rico, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Sorry, Munchkin, Sushi Go, Welcome To…, Codenames, Pandemic, Occam Horror, Terra Mystica, chess, Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Photosynthesis, Spirit Island, Escape from the Dark Castle, and Wingspan.
- Get 20% off your first box of cool guy stuff from Bespoke Post at boxofawesome.com. (code pretty).
- Book a top-rated doctor by getting the Zocdoc ad at Zocdoc.com/PMP.
- Get 15% off your next gift at uncommongoods.com/PMP.
- Get a loan to lower your monthly payments at Upstart.com/PRETTY.
Some articles that fed our discussion included:
- "The Board Games That Ask You to Reenact Colonialism" by Luke Winkie
- "Board Games Are Getting Really, Really Popular" by Darron Cummings
- "8 Historical Board Games, from Diverse Designers, That Show Great Promise" by Charlie Hall
- "How a Board Game About Birds Became a Surprise Blockbuster" by Dan Kois
- "How Classic Board Games Are Bringing Families Closer During the Pandemic" by Drew Weisholtz
- "Keep Your Game Night Rolling (At A Safe Distance) With These 3 Online Services" by Petra Mayer
The two games Tommy created that we bring up are Secret Hitler and Inhuman Conditions.
This episode includes bonus discussion you can access by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop, or now you can sign up directly via Apple Podcasts for a subscription for ad-free and bonus material for three of Mark's podcasts together on the Mark Lintertainment Podcasts Channel.
This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.
Peter Hardy says
It’s great to hear a philosophical discussion of theming and the message of games! I recently wrote a little blog series on the philosophy of board game design, focusing instead on mechanics and how they shape players’ experiences: https://vibrantbliss.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/philosophy-of-tabletop-game-design-play/