31 Things, Day 6: Play Board Games

31 things I'd rather be doing right now

Time for some more geek pastimes. When I say board games, I’m not talking about Scrabble or Monopoly, although those can be fun at times. When I play a board game, I like (surprise surprise) complex strategy and innovative gameplay. Lately I have a soft spot for European-style Economic strategy games, like the ones in the gallery below. These types of games require you to plan, be either directly or passively affected by opponent choices, and to change strategy; the good games offer multiple paths to victory so that you can change strategy. I really don’t mind long game sessions lasting hours, as long what’s happening isn’t mundane (this is where Monopoly fails: round and round and round until you’re bankrupt? No thank you).

There are two problems with my board game choices: First, they tend to be expensive; thus I have to know they are really good before I plunk down the money for them, and that limits me. Second (and most important), it’s hard to find other players to play with. Because of the complexity of the games, most of my family members are not interested. (“Games are supposed to be fun, Rob, not work.”) To me, this kind of work is fun, so this just means I haven’t found enough people like me to play regularly. (I say regularly, because there are a number of people I know who will play with me, but if we manage a game twice a year, we’re lucky.)

My lovely wife will play almost any game with me and enjoy it, but we both agree it’s much more fun to play with multiple people. I’ve got half a dozen games in my collection, and I’ve discovered that there is a “complexity continuum” that I use to help decide what we should play whenever new people come over. From easiest (and usually most fun for all) to hardest (only fun for me), they are:

  1. Forbidden Island
  2. Carcassonne
  3. Settlers of Catan
  4. Puerto Rico
  5. Agricola
  6. Axis & Allies

For the record, I haven’t played Axis & Allies in over a decade.

There are a lot of games out there that I would like to play, but I’m smart enough to realize I shouldn’t buy a game that will never get played. I’m thinking my best bet is to create new players: my kids. That’s not the only reason I had them, just one of many. 🙂

So that’s another thing I’d rather be doing now, playing board games.

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