Over the last few weeks I’ve become somewhat infatuated with board games. In many ways it’s a rekindled flame. I had a brief dalliance with pen and paper RPG adventures in my youth, and I did enjoy a good family-around-the-table board game or two.
Having said that, back in the day, and to be fair until pretty recently, a board game to me meant the usual uninspiring mix of Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and whichever bloody Monopoly variant had been dug from the recesses of the games cupboard. We did pick up a neat little Walking Dead zombie survival fest a few years back, but that was as experimental as it got.
And then the resident games guru from another site I write for, Stewart, began writing about board games and I found myself poring over sites like BoardGameGeek and watching Dice Tower and Tabletop whilst a growing desire to sample a few of these for myself bubbled away.
I’ve already written here and here about the dipping a toe into tabletop RPG games. The Dread and Pathfinder adventures are imminent…honestly. But as is often the case with myself, I’ve been sidetracked once again! But this time I’ve actually played something! Hallelujah!
Around a week ago I watched Wil Wheaton and friends play Dixit on his Tabletop YouTube channel. I loved it. Simple, family friendly and imaginative. And so I bought it. And then things escalated quickly.
A week later I’ve become the proud owner of *deep breath, Dixit, Dixit Quest Expansion, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Codenames, 221b Baker St., Dead of Winter and Mysterium! Oh, and I also grabbed the Jenga set required for Dread. Yeah, I’ve a very patient wife who allows me to flex the nerd muscles from time to time. I haven’t broken the news to her yet that this could be more akin to a full blown nerd themed mid-life crisis, but honestly, I’m sure she already knows.
And there it is. From tiny acorns sowed by fellow writers grows a big old pile of board game boxes. But you know what, it’s proving a joyous escapade. I’m a video gamer at heart, always have been, but the interaction, conversation and laughs that occur around the family gaming table (yep, I rechristened the dining table) is so much more involved than its video game counterpart that it’s almost black and white in contrast. I expected to just enjoy some interesting games that stood apart from the run of the mill, but I’ve found another great family place where we can enjoy our time together.
Anyway, reviews are Stew’s forte so I won’t delve in too deep, but I’ll just say that Dixit is fantastic, Betrayal at House on the Hill is an absolute blast, and Friday night has become games night.
Tonight we experience another run of Betrayal, taste some Mysterium (for which I’ve even concocted a period suitable soundtrack and thunderstorm effects for some background ambience), seek out the spy’s in Codenames and wrap up with another helping of Dixit. I didn’t think anything could drag me from the controller, but it seems the new take on old school gaming is actually a magnificent place to play.