What do I like about board games? Well that’s a difficult question. I’ve been a gamer for over two decades, but my primary interest is roleplaying games, and then tabletop war games, with board games falling somewhere down the list. My first introduction to this form of geekery was when I was 12 and my brother introduced me to the original Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader (not the more modern RPG of the same name).
So what attracts me to these things? I guess the answer is creativity. I like the creating stories in RPGs, and I like the lore and background of wargames, plus the emergent story of how a battle plays out – I often theorise about how unusual things happen, like the Space Marine with a missile launcher defeating a Striking Scorpion in close combat by shoving a Krak missile somewhere unfortunate! I like the tactics of wargames too, and enjoy that in RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons – In all honesty I’m not very good at it, but I do enjoy it.
So what pushes board games down the list for me? Part of it is simply a lack of experience, it’s not something I grew up with in the same way so there is less emotional attachment. Another issue is rules – I don’t much like learning them. With an RPG or a war game I’ll likely have to learn the rules once and then use them many times, but with a board game that is less likely to be the case as they are usually more limited in scope and so have less replayability. Oddly this isn’t helped by the fact I am actually quite good at analysing rules, which means if there is a particularly good strategy I can often see it even if I can’t actually master it in practice.
So what do I like? I like storytelling games, and I like games that are rules light (or at least quick to learn) but have some depth. I also prefer competitive games to co-op games because playing against other people provides a different challenge than playing against a simple AI (Artificial intelligence in computer games is another matter – it can be significantly more complex and less predictable).
I do like creating games – it scratches a similar creativity itch to writing, but with a more mechanical bent. I try to design games I think I would enjoy so previously it has mostly been RPGs but recently, at the prompting of Ste and Amy, I’ve been thinking about board games. I have ideas, oh so many ideas, but I don’t know how many will actually end up working out. I guess only time, and experimentation, will tell.