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Board games - do you like?

Do you like board games

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November

There are three flowers in a vase...
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
8,061
Location
Australia
Sineya
Do you enjoy playing board games? Or are you with this guy?


The Sydney Morning Herald
Board games are terrible. Please don’t make me play them
By Kishor Napier-Raman
The pandemic is effectively over for most of us, and yet, the strange phenomenon of huddling indoors around a dining room table for “fun” still isn’t out.

Instead, according to a recent Washington Post, article, we are living through a “golden age” of board games. Unlike so many relics of painfully uncool millennial cringe, board games are here to stay – the industry is worth up to $13 billion globally and growing. The nerds have well and truly won.

Why can’t we bin the board games, keep the wine, and simply talk?

I bear no grudge toward the board game enjoyers. Some of my best friends have been swept up in this craze since it kicked off in earnest in the 2010s. That said, I must make this plea. For the love of god, never ask me to play a board game with you.

As someone who is a friend to many nerds, I’m unfortunately familiar with the phenomenon of the “board game night”.

For the fortunately uninitiated, they tend to go something like this:


Billed as a wholesome way to break the ice with new friends, or reconnect with old, the affair is usually suggested by The Guy Who is Good at Board Games. If, like me, you happen to be a relative rookie, this is bad news – make sure you bring another amateur to make you feel better about yourself.


The night is usually accompanied by a few cheeky Aldi wines, an Aldi cheeseboard, and if you’re lucky, mediocre pizza from somewhere like crust. Somebody brings ciders like it’s 2013 and no one drinks them.

The Guy Who is Good at Board Games then spends close to an hour explaining the rules. Perhaps you are slaying a mythical beast, making sushi, or cosplaying as colonisers in a foreign land.

Either way, the explanation is not nearly long enough, and as the game begins, you remain deeply confused by the arcane tasks required of you.

“It gets better!” the aficionados say, noticing your fumbling attempts to do anything.

“You just have to play a few times and figure out the strategy”.

When The Guy Who is Good at Board Games suggests you might watch a few YouTube videos of the game first, you realise, far too late, that your supposedly fun night came with homework.

By the time you start to figure out what you should be doing (a few hours in) the wine is finished, the brie eroded down to the rind, and The Guy Who is Good at Board Games has already won.


After evenings like this, I’ve often wondered why we can’t bin the board games, keep the wine, and simply ... talk. Must social gatherings be organised around activities designed to distract wayward children? Do “friends” really have nothing to say to each other?


For all its wholesomeness, the beloved board game night is antithetical to the thing that gives any social interaction a feeling of magic, the thing we missed most during the worst years of the pandemic – a sense of spontaneity.

The whole undergirding principle – that “fun” must be rigidly structured and regimented, that discussion between friends can only play out according to a rulebook, leaves no room for the serendipitous.

There’s a kind of weird hyper-capitalist puritan logic to the whole thing. Even our social downtime must involve competitive tasks. The simple pleasure of a glass of wine with friends must be accompanied by something more wholesome and virtuous, a “productive” use of one’s brain.

In a world where so much does follow a script, in a country as slavishly rule-obsessed as Australia, I want at least my social life to have a sense of freedom and chill to it. Getting my arse kicked by The Guy Who is Good at Board Games (who always takes things a bit too seriously) is anything but.

More troubling is the way board games, with their childish tasks, goofy visuals, and compulsive need for “rules,” sit as another example of a culture that encourages us to remain giant babies forever.


For reasons too complex and inscrutable for this brief rant, adulthood has become overwhelmed by a culture of infantilization. At some point in the last few years, grown men and women started being proud of doing and enjoying things once considered the domain of children.

Slowly, those childish interests began to become culturally dominant and commercially very lucrative. Consider the endless glut of superhero movies, and the once serious directors who’ve sold out to the Marvel coin.


Consider also: the dominance of pop music by grown-up teen stars, the rise of meal prep kits, the Wiggles winning the Hottest 100, adults buying colouring books, adults wearing things called “oodies”, adults talking about Harry Potter, adults watching Bluey, adults playing video games, quoting too much from The Simpsons, you name it I could rant forever.

Look closely, and you start to see the infantilization of adulthood everywhere. And in that context, the unstoppable rise of board games, from a niche, quirky pastime that evoked innocent childhood nostalgia, to a rapacious multibillion-dollar industry that holds grown adults in thrall, makes perfect capitalistic sense.

There is no shame in resisting this. No matter how many nerds accuse you of hating “fun”.
 

Taake

I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
Watcher
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Black Thorn
My foster sister has always been obsessed with board games and likes to force me to play them. The worst one is the one where you just learn about the forest and try to create an environment so you'll have the healthiest forest by the end of it. I've never been so bored in my life.

But I do enjoy some board games, I actually enjoy them more now than I used to. And during long summer evenings when I live with the relatives... it's a good way to spend time together. (As long as my sister doesn't get to pick the game)

So I'm of both minds. I can enjoy them (usually if there is wine involved) but generally, it is a last resort entertainment for me.
 

Spanky

Illeist
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
24,713
Black Thorn
you just learn about the forest and try to create an environment so you'll have the healthiest forest by the end of it.
That sounds dumb. Spanky prefers the traditional board games like Monopoly and that one where where you can trade in your children for more cash.
 

Taake

I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
Watcher
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Black Thorn
That sounds dumb. Spanky prefers the traditional board games like Monopoly and that one where where you can trade in your children for more cash.
Oh, and not make sure your pine trees have enough nutrients? Or that your moss will survive the next round? What an odd duck you are.
 

TriBel

Scooby
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
3,591
Location
Manchester
Middle son is a board game fanatic. He has hundreds - and they're not cheap. Some are kickstarter investments, which means he gets the full kit and caboodle (extension packs etc.) for less than the retail price of the base game. He's lucky in as much as he a) lives with his twin (less of a fanatic but will play) b) has game nerd friends and c) has several game cafes within walking distance. I play VERY occasionally (usually when they're here for Xmas) but tend to lose track of the rules after "roll the dice to see who goes first...".

@Taake - I found one called Copenhagen in a charity shop. Great condition and complete. It was £2.60 (£50 on Amazon). Easy to follow rules - it's a Card x Tetris game and you get to "design" Copenhagen's waterfront (mermaids but no pine trees (except the ones that died to make the very substantial box and playing pieces). It's fun - this is it:


Yeah...well...maybe the rules aren't as simple as I thought. According to this, I've been playing it wrong! 😄
 
Taake
Taake
I like the Tetris of it, that makes it look quite fun!

nightshade

Your grandfather is a cat
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
12,951
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England
Black Thorn
Yeah...well...maybe the rules aren't as simple as I thought. According to this, I've been playing it wrong!
I think that's the downside to board games, the different rules people play by
 

Spanky

Illeist
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
24,713
Black Thorn
I think that's the downside to board games, the different rules people play by
There is only one "rules" and that is what comes with the game. You can't make up your own rules for the game all willy-nilly. Hate people that make their own rules. No. Those aren't the rules. The rules are the rules. If you don't want to play by the rules then don't play the game.
 

Taake

I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
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Black Thorn
I don't really understand his point that board games infantilizes you. Like fine, if I play a board game with my nieces, it's not going to be sophisticated. But like Trivial Pursuit or other really advanced games aren't infantilizing. It is hardly the case that its turning people into "giant babies forever" at least, just because it encourages them to follow rules. What a weird argument.

Board games are a great way to spend an evening with friends. You've got to cater for numbers and experience but it's good fun.

Side note, the author sounds unbearable and I'm surprised he's still getting invites to anything.

"In a world where so much does follow a script... I want at least my social life to have a sense of freedom and chill to it. Getting my arse kicked by The Guy Who is Good at Board Games (who always takes things a bit too seriously) is anyhting but."


I don't know what you mean, he sounds delightful ;) Not at all like he's a really sore loser who actually is that one that takes things a bit too seriously.
Also, he seems to have a real issue with The Guy Who is Good at Board Games...
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2020
Messages
508
Age
49
and c) has several game cafes within walking distance
I used to go to a couple of pubs which had a collection of board games, but in the great British tradition they all had missing pieces so no-one actually played them
Like @Plasma I would enjoy playing board games more often (especially if there was wine involved) but friends are less keen so I don’t think nearby games cafes would help. Assuming that you have to go to the cafe with like minded friends rather than turning up on your own to play strangers as per those city center parks where you can turn up and play chess.
Although that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Some people get very competitive about board games

No. Those aren't the rules. The rules are the rules. If you don't want to play by the rules then don't play the game
An evening out spent strictly following rules all night. Sounds like fun ;)
 
TriBel
TriBel
Are you near Manchester? They live near The Village. I think they go to one in the Northern Quarter
Bop
Bop
I love chess!

Bop

Scooby
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
3,396
Age
22
Sineya
I think boards games are really fun but there's an unevolved part of myself that is such a sore loser when it comes to board games. I can't help it- for some reason I just sometimes get too invested in the game so losing actually hurts me even if it's a game based on luck 😭

I don't think I make it too obvious on the outside that I'm a sore loser but sometimes I do warn my friends that it's an unreasonable reaction I have sometimes with board games.
 
Dogs of Winter
Dogs of Winter
I hate losing at board games! There's been so many times it starts off as a bit of fun and ends up getting ultra tense and competitive
T
thrasherpix
Do you rip arms out of their sockets like Chewbacca? Or at least, would you if had Slayer strength?

IndianaSolo221

Potential
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
167
I like board games. I used to bond with my aunts and uncles over board game family nights, and I used to ask for board games for Christmas. Nowadays, we don't really have the time to play, so the board games are stuck in the top of all our closets.
 

Fuffy Baith

2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member
Joined
Mar 14, 2014
Messages
4,556
Age
35
Location
CA
Sineya
I like the idea of board games, but I don't really play them. I hate Monopoly. The last board game I played was Catan, and I that's an okay game. I like playing Yahtzee. I used to play a lot of Clue as a kid, and Sorry. When I have kids I'm hoping to have a family game night, but we'll see how that works out. lol
 
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