I’m a gamer. I grew up in the age of DotA 1 before eSports was even a thing, and have continued to play games till this day.
Even as I start a new adventure in the recently released ‘The Outer Worlds’ game, where you play as a cryo-frozen space colonist in a world controlled by intergalactic corporations, I still find myself drawn to the simple pleasures of a good old fashioned board game.
So, in a time when video games seem to be dominating the entertainment industry, here are 5 reasons why I still can’t get enough of the smell of cardboard and thermoset plastic dice.
1. It’s More Socially Satisfying
Before you get ready to argue that video games can be just as social as boardgames, stop right there, as I agree with you.
In fact, I’ve met some of my closest friends while playing multiplayer games online, and most of these friends are the same friends I play boardgames with today.
What I’m saying here is that the social experience of tabletop games is so much more satisfying.
It’s the little things like actual eye contact, a slap on the back after a good move, and the ability to talk to one another without depending on a mic and some voice chat service that really make the experience.
There’s something magical about a group of friends laughing, joking, and chatting with one another around a table, that sitting in front of a screen cannot simulate.
I’ve spent countless hours playing video games, but those hours only make me appreciate face-to-face interaction even more as I grow older.
2. No Hardware Upgrades Required
I don’t know about you, but when I buy a game, I want to be able to enjoy it at its fullest right away, and not worry about all the extra hardware I need to invest in to do so.
It’s a chore to keep up with the increasingly powerful system requirements needed to play the latest video games, not to mention expensive.
You could get a console like a Playstation or a Nintendo Switch, but you would still have to upgrade to the next version once they come out.
With a board game, you get what you paid for right away. After all, the artwork on a board doesn’t lose graphical fidelity when you put it on a cheap table, or better yet, the floor.
And let’s not forget about pen and paper RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons that require you to use the best graphics card ever created: your imagination.
3. Every Board Game Has A Different Feel
No matter the genre, video games ‘feel’ the same. Let me explain.
Whether you’re shooting up bad guys or fighting against heroes in arenas that all inexplicably involve lanes of three, you are still just stuck using a keyboard, mouse, or controller.
But with the diversity of board games, there is a near-infinite amount of materials, components, and even props which you can touch, hold, and smell (no, I’m not weird) that make you feel more connected to each individual game.
The feeling of moving everything by hand should not be underestimated.
Try this small experiment: play Solitaire on your computer and then in real life with an actual deck of cards. Which one feels better to you?
4. It’s Probably The ‘Healthier’ Type Of Gaming
As a writer, I work in front of a computer all day, but on my off days, I again find myself playing video games in front of a computer all day.
I’m basically courting carpal tunnel syndrome at this point.
Then there’s the back and eye problems that can come from slouching in front of a monitor screen for long periods of time.
Of course, playing boardgames involves a lot of sitting down as well, but at least you have the option to move and shift your position around without disrupting your game too much.
Board games are also probably the one type of game that your parents can’t blame for your poor eyesight.
5. It’s Unplugged Entertainment
Cardboard and plastic don’t run on electricity, that’s just a simple fact.
I’ll bet you that when the WiFi’s down or when you have a power outage, you’re going to be dusting off that old Monopoly set that’s gathering cobwebs in some corner of your house.
Board games can be played almost anywhere and is a viable option when you need to unplug yourself from this increasingly connected world for an hour or two.
Interestingly though, there are some board games like Mansions Of Madness that have started using apps in order to add more tech enabled gameplay mechanics.
I suppose it’s something for those of you out there who still prefer some form of interaction with your smartphones, even while playing a board game.
Board games have definitely evolved from simply being a small-scale activity at home with friends and family. Whole communities are being built solely around playing board games.
For example, there’s a growing number of board game cafes like Meeples, UpperRoom, and Number Eight in Malaysia, to name a few. I would also assume that this proves there is enough demand for these games to turn them into a sustainable business.
And speaking of demand, gone are the days when you had to hunt these games down, as buying these games has never been easier with the rise of online stores and delivery options.
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