Board Games for the Bored

Games… the bringer of fun and banisher of boredom.

Being an only child, I’ve relied on the trusty TV and video games to fill up the time.

Most recently I’ve become more and more fond of the board game variety over video games.

I find board games encourage a lot more person to person interaction whether it is a competitive or cooperative game.

It is definitely different playing board games face-to-face with a room of people and chatting with them, when compared to the online gaming done with headset mics. There’s still a huge disconnect that video games need to bridge to truly connect people.

There’s definitely more effort involved in getting together and setting up the board games to play versus turning on the console and playing, I still think the overall pros outweigh the cons in terms of interaction and the ‘togetherness’ feeling.

Some board games that may be labeled as strongly thematic and very complex (I’m looking at you Arkham Horror), but most board games can be played well to a certain degree without too much ‘grinding’ and ‘farming’ as seen nowadays in most multiplayer video game varieties. Even some of the ‘simple’ and ‘easy to get into’ board games have huge depth and strategy even if the initiation into the game took only 5 minutes (such as the deck building game Dominion)

I’d like to share the story of how my love of board games was renewed and revived.

Like many of my friends, the only board games I was introduced to when I was younger were the canonic Monopoly, Battleship and Risk. Like most, the games were the only board games I knew and were ‘fun’ to a certain extent (like when you’re setting up and have gone one round through Monopoly), but it quickly drew out in time and boredom settled in.

This was one of the reasons I become quite the video gamer, it was so much easier to get into with no set up time, but the thing I missed and it lacked was the interaction with people. I know, I know there will be people saying “but Jay look at all the crazy good multiplayer games like Call of Duty (COD) 1, 2,3, 4, modern warfare….black ops, black ops 2…”.

See the trend?

Most of the “good” multiplayer console games are First Person Shooters (FPS) and I have to admit I’m not too good at them, and it really seems to be the type of game that if you don’t wait in line to pick it up on the day of release and play immediately then you’d be far behind in all the Perks and new weapons and just get owned like no tomorrow. So if you ain’t in the club, you’re going to have to pay hard (in the form of grinding experience) to join it. For me, this is a slow and painful process.

Not to say my love of video games has diminished, but I find I am more of a single player game type. **

Back to the board games…so it started when I was in Victoria and was hanging out with my good bud Jon. He had gotten the Arkham Horror board game for his girlfriend and I was intrigued with the board game that wasn’t Monopoly. So we set up the huge board and played for many hours (not quite sure how long, but an average Arkham game is about 1 to 2 hours, but would run longer since I was learning the rules). After that night I was hooked.

The Horror!

The game is steeped in the Cthulhu mythos theme taken from the H.P. Lovecraft stories, where players act as investigators trying to figure out all the strange and horrible happenings in the town of Arkham (not to be confused with Arkham City or Asylum in Batman, though there is an Arkham Asylum in the board game as well). In the game, the investigators need to fight back the waves of monster pouring out of the portals and find enough clues to permanently seal 6 portals before the Great Old One (GOO), like Cthulhu awakens to destroy the world.

It’s a cooperative game that really punishes the investigators and more likely than not the group will lose. Not to sound like a masochist, but it is fun whether you win or lose the game. I think that the game is made in such a way that it really engrosses you into the theme and the battles are tense and there is a feeling that you as a human player are fragile and can easily die.

Suffice it to say that after that initial dip into the realm of other games, I looked into getting a copy of Arkham Horror for myself and have introduced it to a lot of my friends and many times we have played and many times we have died and lost the game, but still the stories of the battles and the close calls are still echoed from time to time.

I have now started to try many other games such as Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, Dominion and the list can go on and I can say I am now a great fan of the ‘age, old board game.’ I definitely plan to introduce and review the games I have in future blogs. Until then there are many online video reviews I’ve referred to such as The Dice Tower and sites like boardgamegeeks.com.

Picture taken sneakily by Tessa Tham

Playing Forbidden Island, a current favourite of my church group. A simple, yet intense game that has gotten many replays (and I got it for about $12 USD)

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4 thoughts on “Board Games for the Bored

  1. Yes! Finally an Arkham horror homage blog! Well…mostly! Playing that in Vic was awesome. I think those were the best boardgame sessions I ever had for non-D&D.
    Kudos!

  2. Jason, I don’t get it! I want to play though. Good post. If it’s a cooperative game, I would totally get into it. I’m not competitive quite long enough for most board games. I guess I better get a group of board gamers together now 🙂 Challenge accepted.

    • haha awesome! 🙂 Definitely need to get some games going on over here! Let me know when you’ll be over, maybe we can catch up with Jon (heard he’s here on the mainland) and get a game going!

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