Finding a New Board Game (Part 2) – Online Resources
As board games have grown as a hobby, it’s tricky at times to find a good board game that fits you. There are so many of them out there that it can be overwhelming and when you find some more “hobby” games and get introduced to them, you quickly find that places like Target and Wal-Mart don’t always have the best selection. Then, you go into a game store, and the selection is overwhelming as you look through eight different versions of Ticket to Ride, twenty of Munchkin, and so many other games that it’s hard to know which one to get.
One way that you can kind of cut through the clutter that’s in the industry is by using online sources and resources to help determine that games look interesting. I have a number that I use, and I want to talk about some of them there.
Board Game Geek (BGG)
The biggest one that you should know about is BGG. Board Game Geek is basically an IMDb for board games. You can look games up, see the designer, game play time, ratings of the game, player count, how difficult the game is, and more. You can also keep track of your collection and rate games that you’ve played, all of it for free. There are a few nice things with this that help you be able to figure out what board game you might like. First, you can ask for recommendations in the forums. If you do this, ask a specific question and still do research on the games, someone will always recommend Scythe or their favorite game, even if you’re asking for something like Exploding Kittens. But most people will be very helpful with recommendations. Also, each game has recommendations itself, so something like Wingspan, as I mentioned last time, recommends Welcome To… I’d spend some time checking out your favorite (highest rated) and your most played games to see where there’s overlap in recommendations and those would work well for you. BGG does more than that as well, but that’s how you can use it to help narrow down your next purchase.
The Dice Tower
The Dice Tower is one of the biggest reviewing sites/YouTube channels out there. Tom Vasel and Zee Garcia are the main two personalities currently with Mike DeLisio and Roy Cannaday also putting up some content but being more involved in production. The Dice Tower does a few different things that are useful for finding board games that you might like. First and foremost is reviews, they do a lot of them. Now, reviews, I think, can be hard to get a good feel for a game from simply because it’s one persons opinion, and everyone mileage on a game might vary, but both Tom and Zee do a good job with their reviews breaking down what they like and don’t like, and generally you can see what the underlying game is and how it works, even if you don’t agree with their opinion. They also do live shows, board game news shows, top 10 lists, and more, that can be informative. If you like adventure games, they did a top 10 list for that, so you might be able to find more adventure games that you’d like. All of these are useful, but more generally informative versus specifically digging deeply into a game. Finally, there are playthroughs of games, and I highly recommend these. Though they are learning a game most of the time, so they might not seem the most enthusiastic about it, it really gives a good idea of what the game is.
GloryHoundd and Dr. GloryHogg are two YouTubers who are on a much smaller scale than The Dice Tower, but they put out a lot of useful content as well. Especially now during Covid-19, they have put out a lot of videos of playthroughs of games so it gives you a very good idea of how they work. But they also have a weekly show where they look at various Kickstarter games, generally four per week and talk about them live with their audience. If you get a good in depth breakdown of a Kickstarter, they do a really good job of it, and they do a good job selling some games to you via their interest in them, or helping point out issues. Now, with that said, they also don’t slam any Kickstarter just point out the issues that they see, and if a game isn’t for them, there are some that they talk about that they aren’t, it’s generally because of their gaming group or style versus something very bad about the game.
Man vs Meeple
Another YouTube channel, this one is a group of four main hosts who do board game reviews, Kickstarter previews, actual plays, and more content. They are very much in the same line of content as The Dice Tower, just doing it on a smaller basis. They do a great job with their Kickstarter previews and just the depth that they go into them. Definitely worth checking out with finding another voice in the gaming industry that is talking about a lot of games. Tantrum House, The Broken Meeple and Roll for Crit.
This channel is a bit more specific, as the name would imply. One of the bigger trends in board gaming has been solo gaming as of late, and not just because it becomes more of necessity with Covid-19. Adam Smith, the sole person who runs the channel, does a lot of game play, set-up, and Kickstarter preview videos. If you are a solo gamer, there are a number of channels you can check out with it, but I really appreciate what Adam does, because he goes into a lot of detail. You’ll get a very good idea of what the game is like and how it’s going to play and if it’ll be right for you. Definitely someone to see if their tastes mesh with yours if you’re a solo gamer.
Watch It Played
Now, I am keeping Watch It Played a channel by Rodney Smith, now working Pair of Dice Paradise and Chaz Marler, but Rodney does his content a bit differently. Mainly, Rodney does rules videos. So while you won’t get an opinion on the game or often anymore a playthrough of a game you do get precisely how a game is played. Through this you can often tell if a game is going to work well for you or not, or at least see if the mechanics make sense compared to what you normally play. I highly recommend it for learning how to play a game, I think in some ways, for finding a game, you need to be pretty familiar with games to get an idea if it’ll be your type of game or not by just watching a rules overview.
Now, those are just some of the resources that I use. There are others like No Pun Included, Shut Up and Sit Down that are out there and many many more that you can checkout and find out good information. I will say, with reviewers, be careful, find someone who has similar taste to yourself. I personally don’t put much weight in No Pun Included’s reviews because we have vastly different gaming tastes and I don’t get the information that I need on my style of game from them. Sure, it can be interesting to see a dissenting opinion but there are a lot of people who put a lot of stock in it. So know the types of games that the reviewer likes and understand that a review is an opinion piece and find the one that matches up with you, it might be No Pun Included, it might be Tantrum House, it might be The Dice Tower or someone I haven’t even mentioned, but find what works for you.
Do you have a favorite YouTuber or website for board game information?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!