This journey of mine through the boardgame landscape is now around six weeks old, and it’s been every bit as memorable, eventful, and most importantly, enjoyable, as I hoped and expected it would be.
Now that I’m beginning to get something of a grasp on a few of the more intricate details that live within this realm I’ve began to embrace methods of adding further layers of immersion within the games themselves.
Initially this just came down to simple elements such as lighting and minimal exterior distraction. It then evolved via the introduction of background noise to elevate the ambience and theme being played. During our Mysterium plays I assembled a soundtrack of scratchy vinyl period recordings, which to be fair sound creepy as hell on their own, and added a second source playing the sounds of a rainswept thunder storm. It worked a treat and definitely added to the already rich theme at play. I do something similar for Betrayal, but at present that’s about my limit.
I’m a big fan of immersion within gaming of any type, be it board, video or tabletop RPG. There are a lot of Dungeons and Dragons sessions on Twitch that beautifully highlight the difference in a game where roleplay is being adopted against one without. It’s a lot easier to become lost in the gameplay when you reach the moments in which you completely forget you’re even playing a game at all. These are pretty rare of course, but everything that can elevate the mood and atmosphere goes a little way to elevating the experience.
Some games of course don’t lend themselves to such depths of immersion, I mean bollocks to me playing the Mission Impossible theme whilst tackling Codenames, or stomping around the house in a Godzilla suit for King of Tokyo…well, maybe…But others are ripe for the picking. I write this as I prepare a first play of Time Stories. I’m hugely excited to get this to the table finally but for such a story rich game, I was also curious as to any opinion on background ambience to raise tensions and enhance experience? Or if it’s even needed at all?
Based on that, I was also wondering if you do the same sort of thing when playing, and what elements you use to enhance the games you play? I’ve a few ideas for Shadows over Camelot and Dead of Winter but would love to hear your own ideas.