One of my oldest and best friends is, like me, a very keen player of board games. In fact, if one was being unkind one could say he was obsessed, but then, he has an obsessive kind of personality, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s only through obsession that we achieve excellence after all.
In this case, excellence is also achieved through a lot of hard work, and universalhead, as he is known in the gaming community, has finally put together in one place the full arsenal of game-playing aids he has created over the years.
The need for these game aids became apparent in recent years when universalhead would regularly add new games to his already massive collection and invite me over to play them. Faced with the prospect of absorbing three new rule sets in one night, I rebelled and suggested that, if I were to be the guinea pig, I needed some sort of summary in advance, otherwise we’d spent most of the night referring to rulebooks rather than playing.
Since then, universalhead has produced hundreds of these excellent summaries, demonstrating his hitherto unknown prowess as a technical writer and becoming something of a celebrity on boardgamegeek in the process. As he’s a graphic designer they are all finished beautifully and, well to be frank, if the games designers knew what they were doing they’d invite him to produce them for their games and include them in the box.
Universalhead has now brought all of these wonderful things together in one place: The Esoteric Order of Gamers. This website is an Aladdin’s Cave for anyone who plays what I call ‘serious’ boardgames, being the type other than Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble with which we’re all familiar (okay, Scrabble is probably an exception). At the EOG site you will find rules summaries and quick reference sheets for hundreds of board games, old and new, with more being added all the time.
Universalhead is also adding first-class videos on his YouTube channel how to paint miniatures, and plans for his foamcore box inserts, which he has created to keep all the pieces in order and figures un-damaged for just about all of his games. He started with one of the most ambitious, Merchant of Venus, which is up there with some old-school hex-based World War 2 games like Drang Nach Osten for the number of pieces.
I’m now halfway through making my own version, and apart from a slight measurement issue which universalhead has now fixed, the instructions are superb: easy to follow and effective, especially for someone with a Dexterity score of 3 like me.
So, if you’re gamer, visit the The Esoteric Order of Gamers and delve into the wealth of gaming treasures. Just don’t rub that dusty old lantern lying in the corner over there…
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