Most popular strategy board games

Catchup Game Strategy Basics

(Nick Bentley Games)

Today I’m indulging myself with strategy notes for a game I designed, called Catchup. I’m an abstract game designer and Catchup is my best, or at least it’s been received more warmly than my other games, both by abstract purists and, unexpectedly, by non-game-enthusiasts. When I design games I do it mostly for myself so it’s a surprise when other people like them. Anyhoo…

There’s still much I don’t understand, so while these notes help you against players who have what now passes for experience, and to trounce noobs, they won’t make you an expert.

Key Strategy Concepts

First are two tips for beginners. Beginners almost always do two things wrong:

  1. They think the center of the board is more important than it is.
  2. They take the lead too soon.

So the first bit of advice if you’re a new player: don’t try too hard to take the center and don’t rush to take the lead. It’s not uncommon for each player to have 10 or more stones on the board before either takes the lead.

The winning player’s stones usually end up in one of 4 possible kinds of patterns, or as a hybrid of 2 of them (see below). knowing them makes you instantly better. On each turn, try to see which of the patterns are most achievable for you, and which are most achievable for your opponent. This will guide both your offensive and defensive choices. Here are the 4 patterns:

The Fork

This pattern is one of the most common in hex-board connection games: a chain of stones dividing the board into three segments, profoundly limiting your opponent’s ability to create a large group.This is how experienced players shellack newbies. It only happens when the losing player is terrible or makes a dumb mistake, as it’s easy to prevent.

The Knife

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They're more like battle tank

by quiltmama

Than dungeon dragons.
They're basically board games, but with more strategy than, say, Pictionary or Taboo. They've got all sorts of different premises from making money by selling modern art ("Modern Art"), Bean farming ("Bohnanza" - definitely one we need to get if we can't find our copy!), developing land in the middle ages ("Carcassonne"), creating camel trains in north africa ("Through the Desert"), beheading nobles in the French Revolution ("Guillotine"), or building a railroad across the United States ("Trans America").
There's a real variety out there, let me tell you. You can check out this url: to find out about the games I listed above. You can follow the link on the front page to the "Spiel des Jahres 2004" (Games of the Year) to get the names of some of the best...

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