RogerBW's Blog

A Board Game Is For Life 27 July 2017

…not just for Christmas. Or I think it should be.

There are two trends in boardgaming, both quite popular in 2016, that don't really agree with me. One is the game that can only be played once: Pandemic Legacy because you're tearing up components and marking the board, or Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective because once you've played a case you can't forget everything you knew about it to play again. (Though maybe if a lot of gin were involved?)

This objection isn't because of a perceived lack of entertainment value (though since I don't generally do films, concerts or computer games the comparisons of hours of fun per amount of money aren't quite as appropriate as they are to some people); it's because I feel that a board game should be a thing that lasts, that I can play to death with some friends now, put on a shelf for one or ten years, then get down again and play again, probably with different people. Mind you, I don't generally use the printed score sheets in games until I've set up a way of printing my own; I may be a little obsessive.

The other trend is the game that needs an app: your X-Com and World of Yo-Ho, and closest to home Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. Yes, all right, I don't have a smartphone by choice; but I've always resisted needing to have a computer of any kind on the game table. I don't mind using them beforehand (I wrote aircraft design software for Crimson Skies back in the day, and the equivalent for Battletech of course), but if a computer is going to be part of playing the game I'd rather simply play the game on the computer rather than having a hybrid.

And the "thing that lasts" problem comes in again: if the company goes bust, or decides to stop supporting the game, or the platform moves on and there's no budget to bring the app up to date, the game becomes unplayable. If I wanted a game that could be made useless without my consent, I'd "buy" video games; at least then I wouldn't have a box full of cardboard to get rid of.

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