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?
Your host Mark Linsenmayer 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.
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 by choosing a paid subscription through Apple Podcasts. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.
Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts.
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