News from the Bottom Shelf

This installment is a bit of a grab bag. There's some impressive photography work.  Award season is in full swing and we have some new game award recipients. There's also a new expansion announcement and some designer insight, both analog and digital. Even a look at games from the past. So follow along and let's dive into the news.

As a fan of photography, Board Game Geek user Amoena's photograph of Takenoko really caught my eye. Not only was she able to turn an impossibly cute game into an dark and moody scene, she details her setup on her blog. If you're a fan of macro photography and board games, this is good place to hang out.

Award season is in full swing. With the Origin Awards behind us and the prestigious German Spiel des Jahres award looming on the horizon, The Dice Tower Awards have been announced in the interim. The big winners this year were Freedom: The Underground Railroad with 4 awards and multiple nominations and Caverna taking home Game of the Year honors. There's some great games on the list, though I haven't had a chance to try Caverna yet. I'd put more of an effort in trying to acquire a copy if it didn't cost more than my two week food budget. Excuse me a moment while I research how long someone can go without eating.

Board game design and graphic design are two very different disciplines, but all too often both are undertaken by fledgling designers. Good graphic design can make or break a game. Unfortunately, good graphic design is also expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of free resources to take advantage of. has free, creative commons, vector icons available to use in your new design. And to better aid you in your icon use, Christina Major over on the League of Gamemakers has written an article on building clear iconography into your game. Hopefully, this helps you spend less time in Photoshop and more time making paper prototypes.

Matagot has announced an expansion for Egyptian battle game Kemet called Kemet: Ta-Seti. There are scant details available, but there appears to be some new mythological creatures to recruit and a new black pyramid, forcing players to choose 3 of the now 4 pyramids to erect in their cities. Release is tentatively planned for later this year with a slight possibility of being ready for this year's Essen Game Fair. I'm more of a Cyclades man myself, but I'm always game for a match of Kemet and this looks to make a great game even greater,

As a Southern California native, Disneyland was a big part of my childhood and is still my wife's favorite place to visit (to the dismay of my bank account). So with that in mind, it was great to look at Mouse Planet's break down of some classic Disneyland board games. They are actually replicas created for the 50th anniversary of the park and they've done a good job of recreating these vintage games. Sure, they aren't Spiel des Jahres winning games, but it's still a fun look at some board game and Disney history and I wouldn't mind some modern games taking  similar art style.


Eurogamer writer Christian Donlan has an article/interview with a couple of designers of strategy video game designers from Firaxis. Both designers are avid board gamers and they expound on how board game design informs video game design. I don't really have much to add so just do yourself a favor and check it out.


Splendor is current talk of the board game town. It's hot and everyone's loving it. It's even up for a this years Spiel des Jahres (and my choice to win it). And in my home it's quite the hit. Meeple Town has an interview with the man behind the cardboard, Marc André. After more than a few games of Splendor, it came as no surprise to find out the Marc was an economics major, but there's still quite a bit to gleam from the interview.

As always, be sure to point out any interesting bits I may have missed in the comments and be sure to head over the Mailbag and have your burning board game questions answered in the future.