“What do you do for fun?”
“Well, I like to play board games”.
“You mean like Monopoly?”
The above is an exchange that countless hobby gamers have likely been a part of before. To most people, Monopoly is the quintessential board game; everyone everywhere has played it. It’s ubiquitous, a part of the mainstream consciousness, the representative for board games everywhere.
Yet, of all the examples of board games that would do a good job to represent the hobby, Monopoly is far from the first choice. In fact, it’s close to the last game I would choose to explain what it is that I do in my spare time. With limited decision and involvement stretched over a painfully long play time, Monopoly represents a lot of things that can go wrong with board games, and perhaps stain people’s perceptions of them for a lifetime. If they are turned off of board games because of experiences with the so called “flagship” of the genre, how could I blame them?
My task is to provide honest board game reviews and suggestions for not just gamers, but for all the people of the world, to help steer people away from the idea of Monopoly being the definitive board game. By sorting the good from the bad, I hope to help the board game industry in any way shape or form, hopefully by guiding people to games that they love, and perhaps even assisting in the games that will bring joy to others. Board games deserve a chance to shine; I believe that there is a game out there for everyone, and I would like to help them find it.
But why, you may ask, do I do what I do?
Recently, I came upon a chance to introduce some new games to people who had never played them before, at least not beyond Mastermind, Monopoly and Upwords. Looking through my collection of games, as well as some which I had been meaning to purchase, I settled upon some games that I thought would be good introductory level ones. Those games were, in order of introduction: Dixit, Concept, King of Tokyo, Get Bit and Telestrations. With some slight nervousness in my chest, I opened up the Dixit box and began explaining how to play…
Within 5 minutes, smiles were everywhere to be seen, with many a laugh accompanying them. As the players got more and more creative with their descriptions, I could feel the gears in their heads turning and the glow in the eyes come brighter. Dixit had been a success, and so to would Concept, King of Tokyo, Get Bit and Telestrations be. Leaving the board games with them, I headed home happy that they were having such fun over gaming.
Little did I know that they would play various games together every night for the next week, and have a truckload of fun doing it! They mentioned that one of the highlights of their Sydney visit was playing and enjoying board games.
It doesn’t stop there though. They headed back home (to Malaysia) with Telestrations, Concept and Dixit in tow. They have since brought Telestrations and Concept along with them on their family trips, and have shown the game to many others. I have been shown videos of them running the game (not even playing it, because they had SO many people participating) where I could not understand a single thing being said, the sounds of speech drowned out by uproars of laughter. The video was pretty unsteady too; whoever was filming it too must have been unable to control his guffawing. I have since told them about some games I’m keen to show them the next time I see them, and they listened to me talk about them with keen ears.
And that is why I do what I do.