Why I Play Board Games
Taking into consideration how many games are coming out each year (almost 5,000 worldwide according to BGG!) it’s easy to see how the industry is growing, and with it a lot of designers are being challenged to come up with innovative games that stand out from the crowd - and for the most part they deliver. While in a finite universe there really can only be so many different ways to play a board game, where the magic comes in is how game designers mix those mechanics together and mash them up with various themes that makes each game its own unique experience.
Even before board gaming I’ve always had a collectors’ mindset; video games, graphic novels, movies - anything geeky really and I had to get my hands on it. I know this isn’t necessarily a healthy reason to get into the board game hobby since it’s pretty easy to sink a ton of cash into it, but if you’re into collecting unique items it’s safe to say being able to research and curate your own board game collection is an entertaining way of scratching that itch.
I’ve always been a fan of being able to teach others; it’s previously manifested itself in the form of technical presentations and talks, but since then I’ve grown really fond of being “the rules guy” for board games. It also plays into the fact that I have the collection, but the skills that are required to properly teach and present a game to new players are very transferable to the real world, and helps develop social and presentation skills.
I’m (maybe not so) secretly an introvert - I don’t mind operating in social contexts, but I feel more comfortable sitting at home with a nice game or TV show keeping me company. I do much better when there’s a common thread that holds the conversation together, and board games are a great way of getting everyone on the same page. No longer do you have to pretend you know anything about another’s career industry, or worry about being able to contribute to idle chatter about local sports team - everyone at the table is focused on eradicating the blue cube disease or killing the monster in the room.
One thing I’m not a big fan of is idle activity; sitting in front of a TV for any extended amount of time makes me fidget. When it comes to gaming, however, I can sit for hours. Games (both video and board) are engaging in a way that keeps me entertained and occupied, not to mention the well studied health benefits of keeping your mind active compared to more idle activities.