Tabletop Primer: Board Games

play-stone-550574_1280Tabletop gaming is a diverse and entertaining hobby. There are tons of games across the styles and formats, and it is easy to find several to suit your personal preference. So, let us begin our quest to better understand this under-appreciated pass-time with the format that so many people immediately envision when first faced with the concept of unplugged gaming: the board game.

Unlike more intricate video games, tabletop games are not a skill one can master. Some games involve skills (i.e. steady hands, strong vocabulary, etc) but most of the gaming mechanics fall to luck, strategy, or a balance of both. The defining characteristic of a board game is that it involves a static playing board, where things likes points and chance occurrences are mapped out. There are usually pieces meant to represent each gamer, and some mechanism for movement.

The strategy in most board games comes from making the most advantageous plays based on the layout of the board. This could mean trying to obtain the most points by how you position you markers on the board or avoiding the more detrimental elements. The luck is often found in that movement mechanism. Whether it be a roll of the die, a flip of the card, or a spin of the wheel: each mechanism has a unique variant to increase chance and encourage mutual competition.

The fantastic thing about board games is that regardless of the type of game you play, the entertainment level is almost always the same. This balance of strategy and luck build the emotional ride you take through any board. So, you could be playing Candyland with your three year old and be excited to hit Rainbow Trail on your first turn. You might be playing Settlers of Catan and gathering resources, or playing Clue and discovering whodunnit first by asking the shrwed questions. Or you could be playing, my favorite, Ticket to Ride and deftly blocking your opponent’s next move.

Each board game brings its own source of entertainment without compromising the fun and competitive nature.

What are your favorite board games?


E is a long time blogger about a great and many things people overlook. She likes to connect the dots, fit the pieces together, and showcase the overshadowed... oh, and she likes cookies.