The 40 Games You Must Play
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).
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
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
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.
The Rage of the Quitter
PAX West 2017
The table gets flipped. The healer sits down in spawn and plays Rick Astley over the voice chat. The tournament ends in chaos. Friendships die. Why does the quitter rage so? This panel will explore the inglorious exits of gaming. Presented live at PAX West 2017 in the Hippogriff Theatre.
Play (Dirty) to Win: PAX East 2017
Ostensibly, you play games to win. (Assuming we're talking about competitive games: you're not playing to "win" Dungeons & Dragons… are you?) But are really? Shouldn't you be winning a lot more often? Maybe you should try that cheap strategy you've heard about. Punch below the belt. Memorize the deck. Read the FAQ. What's the line between playing to win and cheating? Is "playing dirty" even really a thing? Come for the degenerate strategies, stay for the soul-crushing revelations on winning.
Presented by GeekNights at PAX East 2017.
Quitting: MAGFest 2017
Ragequit isn't the only form of quitting. People stop playing games for a huge range of reasons. They get bored, they get frustrated, they get distracted, they sometimes literally just forget. It seems simple, but it isn't. Quitting is an option that's there whether the game designer wants it or not, an instrinsic mechanic of all games, and it's a far deeper topic than you might expect.
Presented by GeekNights at Magfest 2017 as part of the MAGES track.