Monday, June 18, 2012

Good Thing #7: Board Games

I love to play boardgames. I loved them as a kid, but hadn't really played them for years, until my friend Mark introduced me to Eurogames a few years back. I've pretty much stopped playing video games since then, finding the face-to-face interaction of sitting at the table with the people you're playing with so much more enjoyable. They also offer a much better entertainment value than video games. For less than the price of a new video game, which pretty much offers entertainment value up until you beat the game and then becomes a shiny plastic circle inside a crappy plastic case, many boardgames offer fine craftsmanship that can feature wood, leather, metal and the usual cardboard, with playability that can last for years. 

If you haven't heard of Eurogames, well, basically they're boardgames from Europe. In the US there are really two types of board games. There are the ones we're all familiar, like Risk and Monopoly. You probably played them a few times when you were a kid, and then got bored with them. Then there are hardcore games that take hours to play. Only the serious gamers play those. But there's not much in between the two. 

Europe has a different attitude to board games. There, the designers of the games get cover credit on the game, and when they design something new, people get excited. The games cover a much broader range of skills and interests. Games like Settlers of Catan or Dominion can be played and enjoyed by the whole family (as opposed to a game like Monopoly where the whole family can play, but only the youngest kids actually enjoy it). One thing I find interesting about Eurogames is they're so fun to play that I usually don't care if I win or lose. It's just fun to play. Of course it's always nice to win!

Board games attract a different sort of crowd. I've been to a boardgame meetups where large numbers of board gamers gather to play. The atmosphere is far more along the lines of "Hey, come let me teach you how to play this really fun game!" instead of the competitive atmosphere one might expect from gamers. 

I'm really looking forward to the day when my daughter is old enough to start playing Settlers of Catan herself!

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