The Real Harm of Games

The Real Harm of Games
PAX East 2019

In the 80s, we were told Dungeons & Dragons would make us all satanists. In the 90s, first person shooters and Mortal Kombat were supposed to make us all murderers. Games have joined the long and storied history of books, music, movies, and television being primed to destroy us all. Thankfully, most of the fears around how games might harm us have proven false, misleading, or downright ridiculous. So what’s left? Lootboxes? What is the REAL harm of games? And what can we do about it?

Slides Here!

Rare Game Mechanics - MAGFest 2019

Rare Game Mechanics
MAGFest 2019

Some game mechanics are common. Drafting cards. Rolling dice. Choosing actions. Worker placement. They are used in many games for a variety of reasons. But what about the weird ones? Ever play a game with a Rondel? Experience the glory of a "Promise Cube?" Wait until we talk about what can only be described as "Bohnanza Hand!" Join the GeekNights crew for a deep exploration of the rarely used (sometimes for a reason) mechanics of tabletop games.

Nostalgia vs Game Design

Nostalgia vs Game Design
PAX South 2019

Everyone has the game that consumed their childhood. You grew up playing Quake 2 mods, Civ II, or Everquest late into the night. You got obsessed with Aerobiz on the SNES or DotA (the original one). You want to recreate that experience that was so core to your gaming life. But… can you? What was it ABOUT those games that made them so perfect. Was it the game, the context, or possibly even just you? From remakes to reboots to spiritual successors, some game mechanics are best left to history.

The 40 Games You Must Play

The 40 Games You Must Play
MAGFest 2019

These may not be the top 40 games ever designed, nor are they the top 40 influential or otherwise important games. If you aspire to really understand games, or if you have visions of designing your own, these are 40 games that, if you play them, will give you the widest possible perspective on what it means to make a good game (and what "good" even means).

Here as well is a short list of other talks we've given that we mentioned during MAGFest!

Learn and Win: Puerto Rico
Learn and Win: Carcassonne
Atari Game Design
Why Five Nights at Freddy's is Scary

Learn and WIN: Puerto Rico

Learn and WIN: Puerto Rico
PAX Unplugged 2018

We returned to PAX Unplugged to present Learn and WIN: Puerto Rico! Learn how to play one of board gaming’s all-time greats: Puerto Rico. Then, go deep with a tips and strategy session from Rym and Scott, hosts of the GeekNights podcast. Stick around to play a full game of Puerto Rico and see who can best put strategy into practice. We did this for Carcassonne last year!

Balance in Game Design

Balance in Game Design
PAX South 2018

Balancing games is deceptively difficult. Even worse, there are subtle reasons why even if a game is perfectly, mathematically, demonstrably balanced, players will likely have even LESS fun. From systems like Microsoft TrueSkill or ELO rankings to everyone complaining about how overpowered Hanzo is (he’s not), join GeekNights for an exploration of how and why (and sometimes why NOT) to balance games.

Presented by Rym and Scott at PAX South 2018

Learn and WIN: Carcassonne

PAX Unplugged 2017
Learn and WIN: Carcassonne

Go deep on the strategy of Carcassonne with a lecture from Rym and Scott, hosts of the GeekNights podcast. Then stick around for a special single-elimination Carcassonne tournament and put those tips to work.

We begin by teaching the full rules of Carcassonne, with visual aides and examples. We then dive deep into the strategy of Carcassonne, teaching players not just now to play, but how to WIN.

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