And so it begins, with a monument to Atete, the goddess of fertility. The people gather and they pray. They settle down and make their homes here. They learn to create and to craft. People talk and word spreads. More people come. Down river another monument to a different god is constructed. More people, more craftsmen. Trade between the peoples becomes a way of life and prosperity comes along with it. These are the humble beginnings of a civilization. This is the birth of The Great Zimbabwe.
Physics, mathematics, chemistry, and philosophy. Great minds throughout history have formed our understanding of how the world works and how we fit within it. There is an inherent curiosity in humankind that drives us forward. It leads to scientific breakthroughs and new ways of thinking. Genius comes in many forms and has been displayed in many people, but perhaps none is more well known than one. This is Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science.
Can you be a film critic if you've never seen Citizen Kane? Can you be a music critic if you've never listened to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band? Can you be a board game critic if you've never played Age of Steam? I'm not sure. Am I critic? I just run a silly website and make videos of about board games. If that's all it takes then I have a confession to make; I've never seen Citizen Kane... or listened to Sgt. Pepper... or played Age of Steam. (Yes, the rock I live under is very comfortable).
Where are you right now? What are you doing? I suggest you sit down, I have some amazing news. It's quite extraordinary actually. You know how you're always lamenting the lack of train games? Oh... you think there's too many train games? Well, how do you feel about trams? They're really quite different if you think about it. There's no steam or coal and instead of rails, you're laying down Tramways!
What do you get when a first time design team (husband and wife, no less) start their own board game company, design a game, and handle the logistics of manufacturing and promotion? Just one of the very best board games in existence. Three Kingdoms Redux is a shining example of what's possible in the modern age of board gaming. The barrier to entry is at an all time low. If you have an idea along with the drive and ambition to create your own board game you can actually make it happen. Online collaboration and crowdfunding have reduced the need for publishers as gatekeepers. On the whole, I think it's a good development but it has also meant a lot of half-baked games being released. So how does Three Kingdoms Redux avoid the pitfalls that are so common with independent publishers and put together one of the best board games I've ever played?
The Han dynasty has fallen and China is in disarray. Three major powers have arisen from the ashes of the past to vie for control of the land. Feudal lords are keen to seize the moment. Take control of the Wei, Wu or Shu and unite the nation under one banner. It will take a keen leader and savvy commander to come out on top in Three Kingdoms Redux.
The Bottom Shelf has been missing in action. It's not what I wanted. I started it as in exercise in web design, product photography, and video production while exploring a subject I enjoy. It was fun and having kind comments along the way was gratifying. My goal was always quality over quantity, but when your quantity is zero, what am I really accomplishing? The fact of the matter is I've had a rough year. I won't rehash all the details, but if you're interested you can read a little about it here. It all came to head when my mother passed away earlier this year. Aside from my wife, my mother was the most important person in my life. I was and still am devastated.
My first dabble into tabletop gaming was in 6th grade when I stumbled upon a deck of cards laying on the front counter of a KB Toy store while my mom was Christmas shopping for my brothers. It was an oddity. What was a deck of cards doing in a toy store? Magic: The Gathering? Was a deck of card tricks? I'd never heard of it. I didn't have any friends that played it so I don't know what compelled me to spend my $10 twelve year old fortune on that deck, but I did. Aside from the actual cards, the box contained a small pamphlet explaining how to play. And thus began my rocky relationship with games that have simple rules but cards that complicate them.