As we all know, plastics are the scourge of our planet and can now be found virtually everywhere – from the obvious places like landfill sites to the most unexpected such as in the Arctic. They have invaded the food chain and it is estimated that less than 10% of plastics is recycled each year globally. Some countries have introduced legislation banning certain types of plastics and we each can do our bit to help reduce the use of plastic and thereby reduce plastic waste – and we can try to influence the use of plastics in our hobby.
Different people buy games for different reasons, and many of us will have amassed a little, or not so little, collection that we have at home that we are proud of. Yet, sometimes we’re not sure how we got there or how we should continue going forward. So it’s often good to re-evaluate the games we’ve got and think about why we have bought them. Then we can decide how we want to continue in the future, and in this article, I want to look at some of the reasons why people buy games and how they curate their collections.
I often feel that we accept the written word as something that’s a given and don’t pay much attention to it. We feel that writing isn’t hugely important and that it’s fine to just jot anything down, without much care or attention. That’s often fine and it’s great that people give writing a go. In fact, I encourage people to try and express themselves in written form. Keep tweeting, posting, texting and emailing. However, I think that there are times when it’s vitally important that the writing is done well and with care – and writing is actually hard if you want to do it well. Yet, in the board game hobby, writing is too often done by the wrong people, which can spoil the game experience.
If you like competitive games, then you’re probably familiar with trying to gauge where in the ranking you currently are during the game. Some games offer score tracks, so it’s immediately clear how far ahead or behind you are – or if you’re somewhere in the middle. Many games, however, keep the score hidden and it only becomes clear at the end who won. Yet, it can be very important to know if you’re in the lead or not, so you can plan accordingly.
There are many reasons why some games are played a couple of times and then put to one side. Often the game just doesn’t suit you or your games group or it doesn’t meet the expectations you had. However, there are also games that are put to one side, but then get brought back to the table again after some time – and I want to look at what these games are for me and why I put them away for a while before getting them out again.
In the next article in my series about how board games go from an idea to a product, I want to talk about the creative people who are responsible for the graphics and other visual bits that we see when we play games. Very often their work is what we see first and remember vividly afterwards, but very rarely do we remember their names. If done well, the visual elements of a game blend seamlessly and add to the experience but don’t detract from the gameplay.
I previously shared my experiences of games nights with friends who are all in different places, briefly touching on the different platforms available, but focussing more on the experience and what to do to make it feel as close to being together as possible. Now I want to look at the different ways I have played games remotely with others in more detail. I hope it will help you find a solution to your situation.
In last week’s article, I talked about what is involved in designing a game. Now I want to continue the story of how a board game is made with the development stage, where a working game is polished to make it sparkle and shine. This step in the process can be informal and something a game designer does themselves as part of making their passion project a reality, or it can be handed over to a dedicated person, which is usually the case if a game is handed over to a publisher.
Making a new game is a very long process that can take anything from a few months to many years. It usually starts with a spark of an idea, that slowly glows in the mind of a designer, getting bigger over time until eventually becoming a flame that burns for many months before finally lighting the fire. However, a new game can also come in a flash of inspiration that rapidly spreads and lights up every synapse and brain cell, forcing itself into life. I want to look at these initial, sometimes laborious, steps of game design to find out how designers feed our appetite for new games.
There are many reasons why people play board games. I have written about this before, but in this article I want to dive into it a bit deeper. Like with any activity, and apologies if I upset anyone when I call playing board games an activity, people do them for varying reasons. Just think of physical exercise. For many, it will be for health reasons, but it’s more faceted than that. Some people might need to lose weight to improve their blood pressure or they exercise just generally to improve their cardiovascular systems. For others it could be a matter of physio therapy after recovering from an injury or people do it to improve their stamina. The reasons why people play board games are just as diverse.