Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Board and Card Games on YouTube

Later in the course, as students begin to develop their final projects, they will be required to do some research to see if other people have developed games that resemble the one they're developing. They can do much of this research online, and I strongly recommend that they actually purchase at least one game with similarities to their own. I will be saying more about this in future posts, but I thought I'd mention an interesting resource that I've been exploring a bit myself, which is, of all things, YouTube.

YouTube actually turns out to be a great resource for learning about games, because you can find people playing the games that interest you or describing and showing the game play, so that you can practically learn as much about how that game works as you would if you had played the game yourself -- and certainly much more than you can learn from a brief description at BoardGameGeek.

I was especially impressed by the series of video board game reviews posted by Prof. Scott Nicholson titled "Board Games with Scott." He makes a fun and interesting presentation and packs a lot of information in a relatively short time. I came across his stuff searching for videos of boardgames with a football theme (mentioned in my last post), and I liked very much his detailed 15-minute review of Pizza Box Football (where you get to hear Scott play his sax). In the future, I think I will make his lecture Board Games 101 (32 minutes) required viewing for the course, especially because it does a great job of covering fun party games, which are not a part of my own expertise. He also talks about a wide range of interesting and unfamiliar games (including the poker-based game "Havoc," which sounds like a lot of fun). I'm not sure I agree with his categories--especially what he calls "Family Games," since his examples involve a lot of death and destruction (he seems to like war games). His videos would be worthwhile viewing for anyone still searching for an interesting game for game day.

Besides occasional game reviews posted by fans, you will also find some high-quality commercial videos for games on the market, such as Card Football (4 minutes), which clearly explains the poker-based mechanics of this game, which is sure to be popular with college students who might like both football and poker. You can even find an occasional series of videos explaining games in detail, such as Magic, The Gathering (also parts 2, 3, 4, etc.) which is discussed in our text as having founded an entirely new type of game involving card collecting.

So if you want to learn more about games, YouTube can be a great resource -- though, obviously, it is hit or miss, since only current games with fan support are likely to be represented there.


Scott said...

Thanks for pointing folks my way! (I actually personally don't care much for conflict-based war games, but I realize that many do, so I try and present a balance of games; I prefer planning and economic games). Since YouTube only allows 10 minute videos, I've published most of my videos at

I should go back and revisit that intro video, as it was made about 2 years ago. Since that time, I've started the Library Game Lab of Syracuse where I'm doing research about how libraries are running gaming programs and supporting gaming. You can learn more about that at .

Michael Goeller said...

Thanks Scott. I think you should teach a class like mine -- it would be very popular, and you are obviously very much an expert in the subject!

Scott said...

Heh, actually I'm teaching a graduate-level Gaming in Libraries class in May at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. It's going to focus on things like
- the match between games and libraries
- how gaming changes when you offer it as a service
- selecting games for different types of people
- assessing gaming programs

This is my primary research area now, and it's been nice to be able to bring in 30 years of gaming history.

If you want to see a talk I gave on the topic at a symposium, there's a video at

Game Design (01:355:375:01)