If there is one thing people can say I am, whether they like me or not, it’s enthusiastic. If I like something or have an interest in it I want to share it with other people. Maybe I’m simple minded or easily pleased but if I think something is good I want to spread the word! This could be something simple like a product or service or an experience somewhere.
Conversely I don’t have a hobby really, not many things hold my attention for long I never could take to playing a musical instrument, I lost touch with playing sport, I lost my passion for reading, drawing and writing and with my phone or tablet being with me at all times it’s so much easier to tap or scroll my way through really unfulfilling articles, quizzes, games etc. than commit to something worthwhile.
But one thing that has caught my attention again is board games or table-top games.
It was friends of ours that got us into gaming and they have an enviable collection of games, we haven’t been playing that long but we definitely have a crammed top section of our bookshelf dedicated to table top or board games.
I think some people avoid them as they associate them with either Monopoly which some may say is over played or Dungeons and Dragons which carries a certain image with it… (never played it, can’t judge) but I think people underestimate the intelligence it takes to play a lot of the more recent games that are out there.
So here are my 10 reasons you should be playing them!
You can really get into some games and the characters you take on. You can also pretend to be someone that you’re not. If you really get into it you can be so swept up in a game you forget about the world around you. It’s a nice break from thinking about all the things you need to get done.
- Brain training!
You’d be amazed the dedication and concentration gaming can take! I recently visited a local board game cafe with friends and we ended up spending hours there. Board games offer so much more than computer or console games- they make you genuinely think! Don’t get me wrong, I love Mario Kart as much as the next person but table top games are great for families to spend quality time together
Learning or discovering new skills.
A lot of modern games require skills that you never even knew you had! They can also make you question what you thought you were good at. From legitimate life skills such as communication, strategy and reasoning to more sneaky skills such as deception and bluffing! I have also used gaming at work as I have been able to help at student board game events and I have had a great time teaching students how to play the games. Lots of them finished the evening asking me where they could buy them which was really nice. I was tricked into feeling like an expert in something for once! You also find yourself justifying why you have done certain things within a game which is also a good tool when it comes to writing reflective reports or in work generally.
- Getting to know new people and learning new things about the people you already know.
Staff in Board game venues are usually more than happy to talk you through a game or just play it with you. This means communicating with someone you don’t know which lets you have a little insight into what they are like – it bypasses awkward small talk. Also playing with your friends gives you insights into parts of their personality you may not have seen before. Some people may be way more competitive than you thought they were! The determination to win can be strong.Equally someone you saw as meek and mild may suddenly be an absolute menace when it comes to gaming.
Getting out of your comfort zone!
This sounds really cliche but often people are asked about a time when they have worked outside of their comfort zone or are encouraged to put themselves out of their comfort zone and gaming lets you do that if you’ve not done it before or if you’re playing a game that asks you to take on a character. You start of feeling a bit silly but then you see everyone else is doing the same and soon no one cares.
It helps with language skills
If English isn’t your native language playing games with native English speakers can be a nice way of learning informal language without it feeling like a lesson for you or a chore for the person you’re playing with. Board game venues are also a fun place to hide away from the rain.
- It’s cheaper than a night out!
OK so some of the huge games can be really expensive but a few smaller card games won’t set you back much. Games are can also be seen as an investment as you can play them time and time again. It also gives you something different to do and makes for a fun and sociable night in.
If you really want to, you can add an alcoholic element to them.
I saw friends of mine had been playing snakes and ladders with shots the others night! What craziness is this?! I prefer to have a clear head though when I play games, I’m bad enough at them as it is without introducing beer goggles to the situation! Some board game venues may also have alcoholic beverages available so beer and a board game could become a thing.
- You could be helping someone make their design, idea or passion come true!
It takes a lot of creativity to design a game and try to market it to people! By buying a game from Kick starter or similar you could get your hands on some of the best games at reasonable prices and be helping someone who has spent years developing something for OTHER PEOPLE’S enjoyment. One of my favorites is “Exploding Kittens” which had design input from Xbox and Marvel.
You could be helping local entrepreneurs and businesses!
So this last point is a blatant plug and I have linked them throughout this post anyway. But if you find a local venue like Board in the City in Southampton who are using their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for games to help their local community.It feels good going and buying from some of these places as well (if they offer that service) instead of feeding the Amazon machine!
Board game cafes are places filled with some of the best people who want nothing more than to spread the board game and tabletop game love. Board in the City started off by trying to engage disaffected school kids back into the curriculum through board games which I think in itself is pretty awesome. They have now opened their own place where anyone can come and join in and see if gaming is for them and 65% of the profits go back into the community. A must visit venue if you’re down south any time soon.
Anyway. That’s enough of a sales pitch from me.
Here is my Board game “starter pack” or “gateway” games if you want to go away and find out how to get into all of this;
- I started off by playing games that are based on familiar shows such as ‘Pointless’. You can’t go wrong by browsing the games section in John Lewis or Waterstones where they will stock a lot of familiar looking games.
- The first expensive game I bought was Zombiecide I really like 28 days later and I liked the idea of playing a cooperative game.
- Tabletop on Youtube was a great way for me to look into gaming further without the financial commitment. You can see a game being played out and if by the end of an episode you’re still intrigued you know it’s probably worth buying. Thanks Will Wheaton!
- Forbidden Planet is also a good place to look for the less mainstream games.
- Some simple card games I’d recommend are; Dobble (they also do a kids version), Arcadia (make your own theme park), Fluxx (where the rules never stay the same)
- Games that look pretty that I’d recommend are; Tokaido and Takenoko
- As well as Board in the city in Southampton I’d also recommend Thirsty Meepls in Oxford – even if you can’t get to the venue itself it’s worth checking out their websites and social media channels for their favorites and recommendations.