And Now For Something Completely…Unexpected

posted by on 29th January 2012, at 7:01am

Being a gaming writer, I’ve written about topics related to video gaming so far. For this article, I want to bring you back to your childhood days…when you did not have all the nice and fancy electronic equipment you have now. I’m almost certain that anyone reading this article has at one time or another played a board game. From chess and checkers to Settlers of Catan and Monopoly, there are thousands of board games out there just as fun and enjoyable as any video game in the market today. Perhaps you are skeptical, but I believe that I can convince you to reconsider board games as a viable option for your entertainment needs.


Board games come in many unique forms. Each one is different from the rest in some way. Some games have multiple versions and expansions while others are standalone. Some have many pieces while some have only a few. Regardless what they look like or what it takes to play them, the main object of board games is always to have fun. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s the point of most board games. Otherwise, no one would play them and it would be a dead industry. And yet, many board games cost more than the average video game nowadays. People must still buy them, I guess.


These games of old are not only meant to be fun, but also more challenging than most video games are today. With a video game, you can always find a tutorial or walkthrough to guide you. Most the time, a video on Youtube for Monopoly won’t tell you the best way to win the game. Monopoly, while simple to understand, never comes at he same way every time. But that is one of the beauties of board games. There’s not always a specific way to win the game, but multiple ways. In order to be good at board gaming, you must master each and every tactic, know every trick in the book, and know when to compromise or when to stand your ground. And on top of that, you are dealing with real people, not just an AI which isn’t always perfect and typically predictable. It’s not like CoD where you can just pull the trigger and spray away. To win, you must be more cunning and understand the game better than your opponent.


This leads me to another facet of board gaming (the physical kind, not online) which is that you are playing people sitting right next to you or across the table. Not only that, but typically you are playing against people you know…or at least think you know. Board games are much more fun than video games simply because you are in close proximity to your opponents and can see them. What difference does that make? It makes a world of difference to winning or losing a board game. Emotions are much more apparent and noticeable when you can see someone. The only way you can tell if someone is emotional in an online match is if they use a microphone. Otherwise, you can only guess what someone’s feelings are and how to play off that. With a board game, you can see emotions immediately and change your play to best benefit from someone’s emotions in the heat of the moment. It’s not just about strategy, but being able to understand your opponent, his strengths and weaknesses, and his likes and dislikes. Knowing these things can get you that much closer to victory if properly understood and acted upon.


The challenge and the people factor should be enough to convince you that any board game is much more fun than video gaming any day. But in case that isn’t enough for you, consider the wide variety of board games. Unlike videogames which typically fall into a few major genres and categories, board games have a myriad of different objectives, rules, purposes, and possibilities. Monopoly is no Settlers of Catan and Clue is no Game of Life. Each game has a different way of being played, with different ways of winning, and different ways of interacting with other people involved in the game. While certainly no first-person-shooter or action oriented game, which many video games aim for, board games are unique and provide a much more special way of having fun than just playing a video game.


One final thing to consider is the true randomness and luck of a board game. Video games tend to focus more on skill and repetitive playing. A board game simply adds luck to the equation as part of play. Perhaps you are close to losing the game, but with the role of a dice, things can turn around quickly and drastically. If you draw the right card, you can gain a huge advantage over opponents and use that to keep the advantage in your favor. A computer can mimic randomness and luck, but in real life it’s much more powerful and shocking to see in action. Even the most knowledgeable board gamer can be defeated by a first time player simply because of luck. This is much less likely to happen in a video game.


I hope that I have convinced you guys that board games, while old and archaic, still hold a place in today’s modern gaming scene. They provide a challenge which some video games simply lack. They involve real people, which adds to the challenge, but also makes the game more fun and personal rather than removed and mechanical. They also come in much more various forms of play than the average video games on a store shelf. And the randomness and luck factor mean that not even the most skilled player is guaranteed to win the game. Simply put, board games provide a much more unique style of play which video games cannot match. Even in our highly technologically based society, board games still have a place in your living room or at a friend’s house. Perhaps it might be worth it to take a break from video games and play a board game again if you haven’t played in a while. You might just be surprised at how much fun and entertainment you and the other players will have from playing a game not on a television or computer screen.

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