There is something I’m very happy to admit: I’m a gamer, a board gamer. Once a fortnight I meet about ten other people and play board games. We always have a collection of new games and classics. Some I might have played before, most of them are new to me.
And I really enjoy it!
I’m not the first (and hopefully won’t be the last) to discover board games as a great way to spend time with (new) people. It gets me thinking in a strategic way, drawing if I have, and, on the odd occasion, disguising my intentions.
I’ve never been a video gamer. In fact, I’ve never played a video game unless solitaire counts as one. I’ve always liked board games though.
I guess it’s the physical interaction with other people and the board that attracts me. I can see faces, judge developments, and physically move around. It also gets me to leave my comfort zone every once in a while.
Like real life, board games give me the opportunity to test my abilities when it comes to strategy. I face new challenges in every game – I might be a gardener trying to grow plants in one game and fighting sharks and sea monsters in the next.
It’s the variety that fascinates me.
Board gaming for every age and genre
There are groups who are very serious about gaming. Then there are fantasy gamers. And there are those games that go on for days.
I’m not part of any of these but rather I play for fun and the social interaction, for about three hours.
The great thing about board games though is the variety. If you are serious about learning and mastering one particular game (like chess), there are groups for you. If you like fantasy games, there is a group. And if you like the social aspect of gaming, join that group.
Even for families and kids, there is plenty to choose from.
I won’t even try to talk about the breadth of games that are around. Part of the reason I’m in a games group is to discover new games because there are just too many.
Board game geek is a platform which can be helpful to get started to find games.
Are you interested?
Although I’m by no means an expert when it comes to games, there are some I can recommend. Just to give you an idea of what there is in the world of board games, check these out:
7 Wonders is a stable in our group and it’s played often. The goal is to gather resources, build an army, and develop commercial routes. All this is done in collaboration or in competition with other city owners around the table.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a fun game where you get to build a castle for … a mad king. You compete with other players for rooms and you end up with a more or less complicated structure. It’s a quick game to pick up and fun to play.
One of my favourites is Camel up – a camel racing game. In this game, it’s all about biting on the winning camel. The game is fast and can take up to eight people.
My introduction to the games group was One Time Ultimate Werewolf, an interactive party game where each player could be the bad guy and you have to find out who it is. It’s simple, quick, and just plain fun to get to know people.
One of my favourites for a quick game is also Flip Hue. It’s a very nicely designed card game which can take anything between one and 30 minutes.
And then there are the classics: (Settlers of) Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride. All of these now come in special editions and expansions. And they also have kids’ versions now.
But gaming is not just for some imaginary fun. Land rush is a game completely free online which focuses on the real-life challenges of farmers in the global south. It gets you to experience (for a few hours) what it’s like to lose your crop to flooding or what it means when a market opens up close to you. It’s not just a game but an educational tool.
Where to go
To play board games there are basically two ways: find a group to join or play at home. Meetup is great for finding local games groups. If nothing is available and you don’t want to start your own, have friends over and get a game out. It’s a great way to spend time and learn something about each other.
Are you a board gamer? What are your favourite games?