Even though I have a shelf full of games, I still find it a strange phenomenon; board games? In the 21st century? We can catch Pokémon running around the real world, dive into Virtual Reality, or play games with people thousands of miles away. When we have so much technology at our fingertips, the idea of choosing to spend time gathering around a table, punching out cardboard, reading manuals, moving pieces on the board… it all feels a little outdated.
And yet, I often find the games I play with just dice or cards more immersive than ones on my PS4.
Why Do Board Games Persist?
Board games, miniatures games, pen and pencil RPGs; these markets don’t just manage to squeeze by. If you told a 10 year old me that Dungeons and Dragons would be hip and trending one day, I’d have laughed at you. Yet here we are, with Matthew Mercer hosting streaming events to make a living. The board game industry is getting so large that over 600 games were released in one day during GenCon 2018, and counterfeiting board games is a lucrative thing to do.
One of the answers is very simple, I think: the joy of interaction. Trust me, I love my intense single-player stories and the ability to play as a team online, but there’s nothing that takes the place of shouting around a table. When it comes to beating a tough co-operative game like Spirit Island, it feels amazing to slap high-fives with friends after a tough game. When you are playing a competitive game like Cryptid, it’s fantastic to get their reactions to your moves in real time.
There’s also a certain enjoyment that isn’t always available digitally. While our screens can capture amazing experiences, allowing us to see sights that would be impossible otherwise, there’s something special about manually altering the world around you. When you play a game like Terraforming Mars, and watch a blank board become full of representations of life. When you play a game like Blood Rage, and you get to grin as you move the largest Viking horde into their next big fight with friends.
There are 101 reasons why board games are amazing, and we are looking to explore as many of those reasons as we can.
Taking A Moment For Old Fashioned Fun
The last time we dedicated a month to board games was back in 2015, before we started our own website. With that in mind, and with PAX Unplugged at the end of this November, we thought this was a perfect time to really hunker down and enjoy stepping away from our screens for a while. Don’t worry: if you like our content on video games, we’ll still be covering some of the big releases and news this month. We’ll just be focusing a little more on one side rather than the other.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to in the next few months? Maybe the brand new Pandemic game? Are you a fan of heavier Euro style games? Perhaps it’s the newest Dungeons and Dragons sourcebook coming out that is more your speed. Whatever it is, we’d love to know what tabletop games catch your attention. Hopefully, the next few dozen articles we release will capture some of that interest as well.