The Spoiler-Free Legacy Mailbag (with Hot Takes)

Written by Alex Harkey

I can’t think of a better way to start off the new year than to answer a few mailbag questions from our wonderful readers.

If you’re only going to write one mailbag every four years, maybe we need to appoint a new Mailbag Postmaster General.
  • Brian G. (St Paul, MN)
Where have you been and when are you going to write again? If an angry crowd of your readers somewhere I’ll be happy to mail them my torch and pitchfork in solidarity.
  • Aaron T. (Modesto, CA)
If I were a betting man and I had to choose who would finish writing something next between George R.R. Martin, James Joyce, and you, I would bet on the late, great James Joyce. I’d also bet on GRRM in a foot race.
  • Sammy R. (Kansas City, MO)
What are the odds that you publish your game before Jame’s Cameron starts releasing his Avatar sequels? Remember those? We hear a one sentence update about them every 2 or 3 years.
  • Eric J. (Greensboro, NC)

Games Precipice: Hmmm… the mailbag seems to be exactly where we left it.


2016 Year in Review Mailbag – The Return of the Mailbag

Written by Alex Harkey

As the clock struck midnight and we transition into an exciting new year of board games, there is something unsettling abound. True, I’m still writing 2016 on every document, but no, that isn’t it…
“I’d like to collect on a debt on behalf of your readers. You’re overdue for a mailbag.”
As I’m still trying to settle on a New Year’s Resolution, I take a moment to catch up on some email…
“If you’re looking for something to do over the holidays, maybe you could get around to publishing some of those emails.”
-Alex’s To-Do List
Out of no where, a crowd suddenly forms; torches and pitchforks in hand. The chant begins:
“Mailbag, Mailbag, Mailbag”

2015 Year in Review Mailbag – Influencers & Collaborators

Written by Alex Harkey

fireworksWe’re wrapping up year two at Games Precipice and we’re as thankful as ever for the support, feedback and readership growth we’ve received this year. We recently launched an ambitious series of topics titled Game Structures which incorporate some of the foundational decisions we’ve observed in game design. We’re currently in the middle of our topic dedicated to the wide world of Worker Placement games.

As we look forward to 2016 I wanted to highlight some of our influences and pass along a few things I’ve learned over the last two years. Many thanks to everyone who has helped us reach this point, now we want to get to your comments and questions…

The Comments:

I’ve enjoyed reading Games Precipice almost from the very beginning. I appreciate the effort you guys put into what you do. But sometimes you couldn’t be more wrong. [Previous Mailbag – The Best Year in Game Design] This is one of those times. In what alternate timeline was 2007 better than 2012?
– Nick

2015 Mid-Summer Mailbag

Written by Alex Harkey

Mid-Summer Mailbag

We’ve been comparatively quiet this year at Games Precipice but we’ve been as busy as ever. We recently wrapped up our second series of topics by diving into Twilight Struggle, Bohnanza and Concordia/Lewis & Clark.

In February, Matt and I contributed to Game Nite Magazine with an article about Variation in games; randomness, hidden information, replay value and the differences between internal and external variation. You can read the full article and the entirety of issue #2 here.

In March, we managed to get our logo in place and in the past month we’ve launched a Patreon campaign to further our efforts this year as we’ve been structuring a host of new topics we plan to cover in the months to come.

The emails thankfully haven’t stopped coming so let’s get to it:

The Comments:

I enjoyed your Lewis & Clark commentary [design analysis of Lewis & Clark]. It isn’t the only game where a player can paddle in circles at the beginning of the game and run aground before the finish line. I thought you might enjoy this.
– Ethan

View post on

Games Precipice: I’m only slightly upset that I didn’t make this connection while writing the article but I’m so glad I got to see this, especially considering Mario Kart is a favorite pastime and one of the best examples we used while talking about catch-up mechanics, rubber-banding and positional balance. Lewis & Clark really does give that same vibe of “getting Mario Karted” in a self-inflicted I-can’t-believe-I-hit-my-own-banana-peel kinda way.


2014 Year in Review Mailbag – Trial & Error

Written by Alex Harkey

This year we’ve had a lot of fun writing about game design, exchanging ideas with designers and conversing with the board game design community. We’ve been thrilled with the response we’ve received over the past year and we’ve received plenty of great comments, criticism and questions. As part of our year in review we thought it would be fun to look back at some of our favorite interactions.

Games Precipice: Evaluated by a jury of our peers.

We were hoping for a lot of feedback and criticism in 2014. Game designers are by nature our own greatest critics. It turns out that when you write a game design blog you find out game designers are everyone’s greatest critics. Fortunately a few of our readers have a great sense of humor and engaged us in some valuable discussion. 2014 was a year of trial and error for us and so I present to you our favorite responses this year:

The Comments:

I love the examples! I’ve been reading your blog over the past month and I enjoy reading about these games the most. I’ve noticed you tend to use several favorites as examples. What would you say is your favorite game and why is it Power Grid?
– Rob

Games Precipice: We had several readers who noticed Power Grid was our go-to example. One of the challenges in our writing is citing attributes in popular games alongside games that demonstrate really strong examples of an idea. Power Grid seems to be a little of each.

To be fair I’ve only mentioned Power Grid in 17% of relevant articles. On the other hand Matt has mentioned Power Grid an astounding nine times over the past year. In fact in articles posted on a Sunday after 4PM, Matt has an astounding 1.89 PGMPTW (Power Grid mentions per thousand words) which ranked #1 among bloggers over the month of August. Gamermetrics would be proud.