Over the past few years I’ve been watching, largely from the sidelines, the growth in popularity of board games. There’s clearly been a significant renaissance and from what I can see it’s a boom in sophistication of design and scope of imagination as well as pure audience numbers. Boardgames now appear in greater numbers at conventions and trade shows. I’ve heard of new boardgame shops opening and even new magazines – traditional print! – have been discussed. In January Quintin Smith (a games journalist whose focus has shifted increasingly toward board games) noted that he was being solicited for so much writing on board games that he has been turning down a lot of work each month. All told it’s clear that many people think this resurgence is more than a passing trend.
As usually happens when a bandwagon rattles by with things and people I like onboard, I’m intrigued enough to follow a little distance behind, picking up and examining the things that fall off the back. I’m not familiar enough with contemporary board games to offer informed opinions on them – unless you’re an expert blagger it’s difficult to fake expertise in specialist areas because the readership will rapidly suss you out – and if you’re not some sort of authority why would anyone be interested in reading you?
(For the record my answers to that are ‘I enjoy experimenting with writing about things I like’, ‘hell, I only started writing about video games in 2011, so let’s have a go’, and of course ‘what the hell, why not, and if the stats for this post are awful I’ll probably never do it again’.)
Boring crap about my freelance prospects aside, I, my girlfriend and many of our friends do enjoy playing board games and although the bulk of these are traditional word or party games (or modern spins such as Cranium) we’re slowly playing more of what, for lack of a better term and a lack of imagination on an overcast morning, I’ll just call modern board games. These have included games like Zombies!!!, Gloom, Saboteur, Pandemic but also my ancient copy of Doom of the Eldar. I’d love to introduce my girlfriend to Space Hulk one day, and reading reviews of games like Space Truckers leaves me positively excited at the prospect of playing them. Anticipation aside, though, we’re beginners in the world of modern board games.
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