Reviewing board games that shed a tear.

About Me

Where it all began: the Gamer in me

I was very fortunate to experience part of my childhood without computers or the internet. Jigsaw puzzles and board games were a staple at home and with friends. The most memorable board game from my childhood was Goosebumps: Terror in the Graveyard. My imagination fueled the occasional boring day-to-day when parents were still slaving away at their 9-to-5s. 

We got our first eMachines computer when I was 10, and I was exposed to all of those Sierra games that took 14 floppy disks to run. Adventure games and learning games, I loved them all. And then in comes AOL -- and I still remember to this day that crazy whirlwind of dial-up sound from the modem -- blowing my mind. I'm introduced to roleplaying forums at age 11 and cutesy virtual Neopets that sucked my time with mini-games at the local library.

The gaming industry decided that they could revive handheld games, so the arrival of Game Boy Color made holiday shopping easy for parents at the time. Pokemon was my game of choice, along with Donkey Kong and other classics that got a splash of color in their revival. After that, Game Boy Advance which was pretty much just the Game Boy Color except flipped horizontally with a slightly larger screen, and then the DS which brought with it Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. No objections here.

But going back to desktop, I discovered the text-based MUD (multi-user dungeon) known as Valheru, which was pretty much a D&D universe since you had to fill in the picture of the world using only your imagination and the text in front of you. I got my first taste of running scripts in the emulator to do crazy dungeon runs as well.

College kid's first modern boardgame

Valentine's Day: chocolates, roses, sweet gushy cards. Right? No.

I got Settlers of Catan for Valentine's Day. And it was AWESOME.

It was my first introduction to modern board games and I never looked back after that. My friends and I grew a standard collection from there, of Pandemic, Skull... others that I can't quite remember since it was around 10 years ago. We had played Magic: The Gathering before, which was already a new exciting mechanic to me compared to the "traditional" board games.

A couple years after I graduated I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for work in 2012 and found that there was a very healthy mix of folks who spent a good chunk of their weekends gaming. I discovered Betrayal at House on the Hill, 7 Wonders, Lords of Waterdeep, Smash Up, and Munchkin (among others).

Which brings me to...

Adult woman's first eurogame

I originally thought, "Wow, these modern board games have so many choices compared to traditional games! This is so incredible!", until I played my first euro in 2016.

And cried inside.

I can't quite remember if my first eurogame was Terraforming Mars or Roads & Boats, but what I do remember is being stumped on my first turn after having the game explained to me. Roads & Boats is the clearest in my memory so I'll go ahead and talk about my experience briefly from here.

I saw all the options in front of me, knew where they all led to, but absolutely couldn't see the clear path to victory. I knew how to get points, I knew the victory conditions. But I couldn't reverse engineer any part of it.

It excited me.

The world was my oyster! Anything I did was not a luck of the draw, or a roll of the dice. It was my call, my consequences and my rewards. The control, the power of choice was both terrifying and exhilarating. I couldn't get enough. I lost BADLY, but still couldn't get enough.

Which brings us here.

Everyone in the gaming world has their thing. Some like theme, others like mechanics, and still others hunt for hybrids.

This blog is focused on eurogames (or, German-style) games, that bank big on economics, restricted game time, asymmetrical starts or victory conditions, generally no risk of player elimination, mostly indirect player conflict and end game scoring. A 2018 post in the Atlantic describes the phenomenon, in my opinion, very well.

Specifically, I'm in search of games that make you shed a tear on your first turn. And so, The Tabletop Crier was born.

     Definition of crier

one that cries:an officer who proclaims the orders of a court
b town crier

"Crier." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2018.

Definition of cry


1to utter loudly shout 
  • He cried "Wait!" but it was too late.

2archaic begbeseech

3to proclaim publicly advertise 
  • cry their wares

1to call loudly shout 
  • She cried out for help.

2to shed tears often noisily weepsob 
  • The child began to cry after she dropped her ice-cream cone.

3to utter a characteristic sound or call 
  • heard the seagulls crying

4to require or suggest strongly a remedy or disposition (see disposition 2b)
  • … there are a hundred things which cry out for planning …
  •  —Roger Burlingame"

"Cry." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2018.

This is a labor of love and fun. I hope you gain some enjoyment, or at minimum some knowledge from what I write here, and that you too will have a library full of games that make you want to utter loudly, proclaim publicly and shed tears noisily from the rooftops (like me).

Later Vader,

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