Shelf Statistics, #1

Board gamers are a funny folk. They love statistics. Many track all the games they own and play, sometimes to the level of detail that they write down if Gina played with the green pieces this time. I’m not quite as obsessed, but I do love statistics, too. And infographics. So, without further ado, here are some from my collection.

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SDHistCon 2021: Spring Deployment!

I’ve always (well, at least since 2018) dreamed of going to the San Diego Historical Games Convention (SDHistCon). Now as it happens, San Diego is about 10,000 kilometers away from where I live, so just casually stepping by was never an option. As current events dictate it, the con was transformed into an online one last November – and that opened up opportunities for me. I missed the first online SDHistCon in November, though – I’d found out it was happening, and just hours later when I wanted to buy my ticket, they were all sold out already. So, I was ever more excited when I got the badge for the May 21-23 one!

Many thanks to Harold Buchanan and his team of enthusiastic volunteers for making this happen! It was great to chat with fellow gamers, some of whom I’d known from Twitter, see designers showcase their old and new designs, and play a game. As there is a substantial time difference between where I live and San Diego, I missed a few cool things that happened too late for an early-to-bed person like me, but there were so many amazing things I could do! …like the following:

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Clio’s Board Games Ranked #20 on the Top 100 Board Game Blogs by Feedspot!

My purpose in blogging is to indulge myself. I love board gaming, I’m deeply interested in history, and here I get to explore both of them in the most interesting ways. So when I started out, blogging was mostly a solitary experiment for me. And then other people came along, and with them a form of appreciation I’d never imagined.

No matter if you’ve commented on my blog, interacted with me on Twitter, or reached out in any other way – it’s amazing, and it keeps me going to know that every once in a while a post of mine got someone fascinated with a new historical topic or game.

Now, almost four years into the creation of this blog, I’ve gotten another form of appreciation: Feedspot has included it in their list of the Top 100 Board Game Blogs and ranked it a whopping #20!

Thanks to Feedspot for selecting Clio’s Board Games! And to everyone else, have a look at the list. There are some pretty great blogs on there, and I found out about at least one new blog that I follow now.

Sophie Scholl and the German Anti-Nazi Resistance

Living until one’s 100th birthday is not given to everyone. Under different circumstances, a woman from southwest Germany named Sophie Scholl, born May 9, 1921, would have seen hers these days. Yet she did not even live to see her 22nd – having been executed for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets on February 22, 1943. This post traces the various forms of German resistance to Nazi rule – socialist, Christian, conservative and military, as well as the non-conformists like Sophie Scholl. Finally, it looks at what remains from the German resistance – in public memory and board games.

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Board Game Geek War Game Top 60, #10-1

We’ve made it! We’ve reached the very top. These are the games the Board Game Geek users deemed the best war games out there (at least they did so in August last year, when I took the snapshot of the top 60 that has been the basis for this series). You know the drill from the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth part – I give a few thoughts on each of the games, and then you add yours in the comments. Let’s go straight at it!

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Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford (Prime Minister Ratings, #1)

300 years ago, Robert Walpole was made First Lord of the Treasury for the second time. Not a particularly impressive event – if Walpole had not retained that office for 21 years and turned himself into the leading British politician of his time. Thereafter, the office of First Lord of the Treasury customarily was given to the monarch’s representative to parliament – the Prime Minister, as the holder became known. As times changed, so did the office: Today, the prime minister is much more responsible to parliament than to the monarch. Yet the office, unofficial at first, has endured these 300 years and been held by dozens of very different men and women. And thus, this post about Walpole will kick off a new irregular series on the blog – Prime Minister Ratings! I’ll assess Walpole (and, in the future, other prime ministers (or even leaders from other places)) by a very general rating system – and I’ll introduce one board game in which the prime minister or the problems they faced feature – this time, Imperial Struggle (Ananda Gupta/Jason Matthews, GMT Games).

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Venice in History and Board Games

One of the most storied cities of the world celebrates its 1600th birthday this year: As legend has it, Venice was founded when three Roman officials established a trade post on the lagoon off Italy’s Adriatic shore on March 25, 421. Since then, Venice has been a refuge, a great power, and a tourist destination. Venice continues to be an inspiration due to its special topography of islands and canals, the enterprising spirits and artisanal skills of its population, and the heights of subtlety and sophistication which its diplomacy, politics, arts, and culture reached. Correspondingly, the city is a frequent subject of board games: 64 are listed in BoardGameGeek’s “family” of Venice games – many more than are set in, say, Milan (13), Florence (25), or even Rome (also 25). This post will take you on a journey through the history and board games of Venice.

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Board Game Geek War Game Top 60: #20-11

Welcome back to the fifth part of the series on the top 60 games in BoardGameGeek’s war game list! It’s the second-highest rung of the ladder, and there are truly some excellent games in here. Maybe even better than the top 10? You know the drill from the first, second, third, and fourth part – I give a few thoughts on each of the games, and then you add yours in the comments. Without further ado, here are games #20-11 of the list.

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Glasnost and Perestroika

35 years ago, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was about to commence its XXVIIth party congress. Party congresses were rare events, held regularly only every five years. They thus marked an important occasion for the Soviet leadership to talk about past successes and lay out future plans. The XXVIIth party congress was the first one headed by the new general secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev. He set out an ambitious reform agenda. For the next years, the Soviet Union – and the world – would talk about glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). This post is going to cover three questions: What did those terms mean? Which consequences did the policies that Gorbachev set in motion have? And, a question that is especially important to board gamers, who are used to assess events and policies by their strategic value: Were those policies beneficial?

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Playing Nazis? Ethics, Historical Accuracy, and Personal Comfort in Games with Loaded Topics

Earlier this year, I’ve written a post about my most anticipated games to be released this year. Among them was Weimar: The Fight for Democracy (Matthias Cramer, Compass Games), which deals with the interwar Weimar Republic that was toppled by the Nazis. My fellow blogger Dave (check out his blog!) had asked me a year ago how I felt about the Nazis being a playable side in such a game – as this one does not feature them as such, but The Weimar Republic: Political Struggle in Germany, 1919—1933 (Gunnar Holmbäck, GMT Games) does. I’ve been coming back to that question, as it touches on some important matters: Most importantly, one of ethics, which will form the main part of this post. However, there are also questions of historical accuracy, and of personal comfort, with which we will deal in turn. While this post is focused on the two Weimar games, it’ll also take the wider matter into account.

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