Collection development was one of my favorite parts when I was in the school and public libraries. It meant I got to buy stuff, though not just any stuff….. I had to know my stuff first. In addition, I had to make sure that the stuff I wanted to buy met my selection criteria, my libraries guidelines for buying stuff.
I have already shared my selection criteria for modern board games earlier but to recap:
- Find good games!
- Find ways in which they support the curriculum
- Look at how they fit into the timeframe of your school or gaming program
- Determine their “Return on Investment” based on the sum of 1-3
One of the toughest parts of building a game collection is finding good games. In libraries, when purchasing materials we have review journals to help. Even beyond that
to our own personal lives, we look to the advice and experience of others to help guide us in our purchasing decisions. From Amazon to your Aunt Agnes, feedback from experts and your peers is invaluable especially when you are unsure or unfamiliar with what you are looking to acquire.
I have already mentioned one source of information on modern board games in previous posts, Board Game Geek. A user-driven database of every board game know to man,
the Geek has: reviews, rules, variants and images to help you become familiar with and decide if a game is right for you. That being said, there is a “New Kid on the Block”, Spielbox. Actually, Spielbox is celebrating its 30th year in publication so it’s not that new. Originally a German publication released in Europe and only available as an import. This year they have begun publishing their magazine in English and it is a welcome addition to the other review magazine that we have available for library resources.
The magazine comes out seven times a year, a week or so after the German version is published and is a faithful rendition of the original. Full color, glossy pages highlight the beauty and splendor of the games within. Each magazine contains articles relating to the board game hobby, discussing upcoming releases, publishers, conventions, designers and more. They also often contain unique expansions for popular games as well as games designed specifically for the magazine. Most importantly though, they contain reviews. They have several writers, each adding to the reviews, highlighting if and why they differ if their opinion of a particular game. The reviews themselves are thoughtful and well written, examining multiple aspects of the game including: mechanics, theme and the overall game experience.
Similar to the trend of technology trickling down to us from the Asian market, a number of the games discussed in the magazine will not have been released in the US market yet. They are an insight into the hot and upcoming games that may be picked up and released by US publishers such as Rio Grande Games and Z-Man Games. One thing to note, part of what makes a gaming program successful is the experience we are able to provide with the program. Having the newest games, not available in the US can be a big bump on the “cool” factor. Because a large majority of these games are language independent, the import version can be picked up and played without much problem, I recommend Amazon.de with their 14 Euro flat rate shipping. Being a European release, they will often have multiple languages in their rules set or the rules are often posted on the game’s entry on Board Game Geek.
The magazine is available here at an annual subscription rate of 56 Euros for 7 issues. While this comes to a little over $10 an issue, it is a good invest in a unique resource that provides insight into the world of modern board games.