Why we love games
What are these games we play? They’re so varied that we’ve found it impossible to come up with a definition – or even a term we could all agree on! Many people call them ‘Eurogames’, as Europe is where this style of game originated. But there are so many good games coming out all over the world that we didn’t want to use a geographical definition. Some people call them ‘designer games’ as the name of the game’s designer is almost always displayed prominently on the box. But due to the familiar phrase ‘designer label’ we felt this had connotations of being a bit shallow and exclusive – when in fact these games are rich, deep and inclusive.
After much discussion we decided to focus on the important stuff – why we love playing them. So let us count the ways!
No player elimination. In almost every board and card game we play, everyone is involved right to the end of the game. And if you’ve ever been the first player knocked out of a game of Risk or Monopoly you’ll know how important this is! Of course we can’t guarantee you’ll be in with a chance of winning, but as most games take around an hour to play, you may well have time to do better in the next one!
Simple rules, lots of options. While the rules will usually be short and easy to understand, predicting your opponents’ moves, making the right choices and winning the game won’t be. These games are about outwitting the other players, not being dumbfounded by the complexity of the rules. That said, we’re not averse to a ‘big’ game once in a while.
Having a favourite designer. Many people who are really into boardgames have favourite designers, will look for other games that person has designed and will get very excited about a new game by that designer. And yes, we include ourselves here!
Theme. There’s nothing like being totally immersed in a game, and a strong theme really helps you to experience that. While we also like ‘abstract’ games (chess, go, backgammon and any card game are examples of abstract games), theme is one of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects of these games. There are games that involve bean trading, raven racing, town planning, electricity powering, volcano escaping, hunter gathering, shrimp eating, pizza making, kung fu fighting, kingdom building, ruin exploring, pyramid building, amoeba evolving… the list is pretty much endless and always growing.
They fit right into our lives. We reckon the average playing time for a game is between one and two hours – which is great as we can normally get a couple of games in in an evening. But sometimes we’ll just have 20 minutes, or we’ll want a game that takes up a whole evening or more – and there’s always a game to fit.
Good times with good people. Playing games with friends, family or even total strangers is a fun and sociable pastime. Games are a great icebreaker thanks to the banter and discussion they encourage, and in an established game group the games are a shared experience that lives on afterwards in tales of who won what and how.