To play or not to play: Some thoughts about the best
in board games
By David Bowman
February 25, 2009 | People have asked,
"Why do you play that game?" or, "Is that game fun?"
These are such broad questions when they are asked to
a person that has been playing board games, or any other
type of game for an extended time.
Veteran gamers may respond with a
simple, "Because I like it," or "Of course it's fun
or else I wouldn't be playing it!" Looking at what players
look for in a game will let one know what is fun for
them, but what about the person next to them? The types
of board games that will be discussed and what may make
them fun will be strategy, role-playing, and action/adventure.
Strategy board games
Paul Owen, owner of Phoenix Games
in Logan, said, "Chess comes to mind when I think of
strategy, but only because it's been around forever!"
Other games brought up were Risk and Axis & Allies.
For a strategy game to be successful
it needs to have a learning curve and be challenging.
Patrick Carroll, from the Google group, "Think about
Games," (TaG) said, "Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) is
a fantastic game and probably one of the best when it
comes to strategy war games." In ASL the player has
many small squads at his control and each member of
a squad may have different equipment or abilities.
Carroll's personal opinions on games
and some of his favorites are here.
This may be the widest and most diverse
genre of board games. There are games like Rune Bound
where a player will game levels for her character and
hopes to defeat the evil boss of the game. Other styles
of role-playing board games are Arkham Horror, which
is a survival horror variant, and Descent, another fantasy
game but set underground.
Jacquelyn Smith ,21, has played various
board games for more than 10 years and said, "Role-playing
board games are by far my favorite, especially Rune
Bound. I love how the game tells a story and that I
get to kick the Evil Dragon Lord's butt!"
To see Carroll's opinion on why role-playing
games may still be so popular check
These are much like the role-playing
games except that they focus on immediate action instead
of a developing story. Travis Emery ,24, said, "For
an action/adventure style board game I personally enjoy
Zombies!!!. It's a nice, fast game with cool pictures
and great jokes."
The game Zombies!!! puts you in the
situation of being one of the few survivors in a zombie
Other games like Ninja vs Ninja and
Killer Bunnies fit into this category. Fast games are
the norm when it comes to an action board game. These
will fit the niche for those who may not like to put
a few hours into a game.
David Kidd has written an article
on a rating system that matches players to games they
may like. The rating system is called S.T.A.V.N.
This system is more intended towards video games but
it can be used on board games if you break down the
game using the system. For an example chess would have
a high strategy and tactic rating while Rune Bound will
have a high artisan, visceral, and narrative rating.
Just by looking at these three different
genres one can tell that it really is up to the individual
when it comes to what style of game they may like.
Owen said, "There are so many different
styles of each genre of board game that it makes it
hard to say that everyone will like one game over the
other. Each player needs to play around to find out
which one is there to their liking."