With GenCon coming up this week I’ve been thinking a bit about why I play both board games and computer games. The obvious difference is of course with board games you’re sitting across the table from people you’re playing with, but that’s been changing in recent years. Solitaire gaming has been popular for a while and is starting to become more accepted. Some games include solo variants in the box, like the re-release of Merchants of Venus, but there are also lots of games with good player made variants on BoardGameGeek. The rise in popularity of cooperative board games has helped a lot with this as well.
So why play a board game by yourself? Why not just sit down at the computer? For one it means instead of gaming in my office, I’m sitting at the kitchen table. More importantly board gaming is a zen experience for me. Putting decks of cards together and getting things shuffled well. Setting up the board. Not just thinking about strategy during the game but keeping track of rules, trying to make sure I don’t make any mistakes. The experience tends to be quite a bit like reading as part of my brain usually starts making up a story about what’s happening in the game. I do that a bit in MMOs as well but I tend to get more vivid pictures from board games because there’s no other visual or auditory input.
Board games don’t have to be something you only get into if you have the time to dedicate to getting together with friends once or twice a month to play.
Day 10 of Blaugust