The 40 Games You Must Play
PAX West 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).
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?
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.
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!
The 40 Tabletop Games you Must Play
Presented at PAX East 2018 on Sunday morning in the Arachnid Theatre!
These may not be the top 40 board games ever designed, nor is it the top 40 influential or otherwise important games. If you aspire to really understand tabletop, or if you have visions of designing your own games, these are the 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). Join the GeekNights crew for an exploration of the boundaries of tabletop gaming. There are some gems in there.
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.