There’s something special about board games. With the sheer amount of digital media and AAA titles available, why are so many people drawn to good ol’ analog games?
The hobby games industry has seen tremendous growth over the last ten or so years. ICv2 states that in the sales of hobby games in US and Canada topped $1.44 billion in 2016.
I mean sure, I can personally attest to the amount of time I spent playing Monopoly (unfortunately), Clue(do) and Chess as a child, but that was because I didn’t really have anything better to do.
Now more than ever, there’s something easier than getting together and setting up a board game, so why do so many people make this choice, and why—if you haven’t already—should you hop on this bandwagon too.
Board games have been around for millenia, and some of those are still played even today. Some offer players life lessons like Snakes/Shoots and Ladders—or more contemporarily—The Game of Life and Monopoly, while others are abstract and strategic like Go and Chess.
In contrast, today we can easily find games like Love Letter and Machi Koro that are relatively simple, and rewarding. I think what’s most important though is that they are by far the most sociable of all the entertainment available to us.
Cards Against Humanity is an excellent ice breaker (especially if everyone is a little drunk). It offers players’ insight into each other’s senses of humour that you just can’t get otherwise. Similarly, bluffing games like The Resistance: Avalon or One Night Ultimate Werewolf are great to pass a bit of time by testing how well you know each other and seeing how much you can get away.
Games like these are about the players and less about the game itself, and that something you just can’t always get with the classics. Elan Lee on of the minds behind the viral game Exploding Kittens says:
“Exploding Kittens wasn’t designed to be entertaining—it’s designed to make the people you’re playing with entertaining.”
Of course, if you want even more freedom you can always try Tabletop Role Playing Games…
In some cases, the only barrier to start playing is learning the handful of rules of playing the game.
There really is something for everyone, though. For more structure, there are heavy strategic games that can last for eight hours (Twilight Imperium) full of negotiation and politicking.
If you can’t trust your friends there are games where you work together towards a common goal. There are games that are about telling a story. There are games that are just so damn cute it somehow adds to the fun. There are games that are a combination of any or all of these things.
There’s something fun out there for everyone.
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What's one of my fav games to introduce to new players that's also the most likely to make me hungry? 🍣🍱🍙🍘🍱🍣 Sushi Go Party (2-8 players/20 mins) is a card drafting game that is so quick and easy to pick up I'd recommend it to anyone as a gateway game. Turns take place simultaneously (no pesky turn order here) with each player picking a card from their hand, playing it face down in front of them before passing the rest hand along clockwise. You'll then all flip your played cards and repeat the process. You'll do this until all cards are passed and played at which played scoring occurs. The game takes place over 3 rounds, scoring points and returning the cards you picked to the deck for each one. There is one exception to this, dessert cards are kept between rounds as we know you this is best saved (and scored) for last. The aim of the game is to score as many points as possible with different sushi combos. 🍣🍱🍙🍘🍱🍣 This expanded version has a menu of 20+ dishes allowing you to change the in play cards/decks from game to game, a must if you plan on playing this a lot and trust me, you will. If you want the simplest version pick up the original one deck Sushi Go! @gamewright
Maybe that’s the crux of it. Contemporary board games allow you and friends/family/acquaintances/strangers/pets to get together and have fun with each other. It’s not about putting our screens down (sometimes they can make games more fun!), but it’s about socialising, and actively engaging with each other… disputes and all! With the general direction that digital entertainment is going, Netflix, MMOs, the gradual death of couch co-op and what have you, it’s so easy to get stuck isolated at home.
While there are some alternatives, it seems like a good idea to have a choice few board games on your shelf for when you want to get together but don’t what to commit to the cost (physical, emotional, financial…) of hitting the town. For some good wholesome (or not-so-wholesome, title depending) fun, give board games a shot.
This is supposedly the ‘Golden Age’ of board games after all, so if you’re struggling for a pick, try one of our guides or bundles to get you started.