In today's fast-paced and digitally saturated world, finding ways to recharge and repair our mental health is often quite hard. There are so many distractions that draw us into a bubble that seems comforting at first. Modern life is all about speed and work, while our own health and life are often seen as secondary. However, among the hustle and bustle, there is one activity that can really help with mental health: board games. In this article, I want to look at how board games can foster connection, promote cognitive skills and provide a much-needed respite from the stresses of everyday life.
First gear. Screams of tortured rubber and plumes of acrid smoke fill the air as we barrel over the brow of the hill, rapidly advancing on our target. The tank is an incongruous sight, squat and menacing in the middle of the highway, two shiny black beetles flanking each side: SUVs filled with seemingly infinite numbers of violent goons, like clown cars of criminality.
I always used to be very much a competitive player. Pitting my wit against other people was my thing. I would usually lose games and still do, but it was always a lot of fun. Cooperative games really only came into my life when our daughter was young enough to play games with us that weren't just roll-and-move. I remember our first game of Forbidden Island, which we all really enjoyed and played many times since. So in this article, I want to explore why cooperative games have become so popular in recent years.
The sea was calm and the sun was shining. The sandy beach stretched for miles, strewn with shells, some occupied by hermit crabs. In the distance, I could see a few small boats. Underneath the long abandoned lighthouse, there was a small colony of penguins. As I closed my eyes and dozed off, I dreamt of fish and merpeople. My mind was thinking about Sea Salt & Paper by Bruno Cathala and Théo Rivière from Bombyx.
If you're a very competitive player, then winning is all that counts. Depending on how ruthless you are, you will push for victory at all cost, as long as it is within the rules. Even if you're less cruel, you will do what you can to win. Either way, ending a game in first place feels good. It not only proves that you played well, but that you're a better player than the other people around the table. Yet, I often find that not winning or even doing badly in a game can be fun and here is why.
Tucked away near Gleisdreieck in Berlin's Kreuzberg district is STATION-Berlin, home to the German capital's main board game convention Berlin Brettspiel Con. For three days in July, hordes of tabletop hobby enthusiasts converge to play games, speak to the dozens of exhibitors and generally have a great time. For the first time, I'll be among them and I can't wait. I'll be attending as a member of the press and have made a short list of whom I want to talk to.
We take language so much for granted, whether it's written down, spoken out loud or conveyed via signs. Yet, when we communicate with others, we sometimes notice how words can be misinterpreted. We can see how a message can come across differently from how it was intended. That is when we realize how important words actually are. Choosing one word over another can make a huge difference. It's already hard enough to get your point across in your native language, but it reaches a completely new level of difficulty when you use a foreign tongue.
The bitumen road had given way to a well-maintained dirt track. My monster road train was stubbornly ploughing on, throwing up red dust behind it in giant plumes. From time to time I could see kangaroos, wombats, spiny anteaters, platypuses and dingos. I even caught a rare glimpse of a Tasmanian devil. It was very busy in this arid landscape. In fact, it was so busy that it felt like there was an Outback Crossing by Bruce Whitehill from Mücke Spiele.
I recently had the honour to be tasked with donating most of the 2023 Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres nominations and longlist titles to good causes on behalf of Spiel des Jahres. Being curious about the association and their selections, I decided to play some of the games myself. As a result, I wanted to share with you more about the Spiel des Jahres association and how I think its goals are reflected in the games they select.
London's ageing underground network is creaking and groaning. It can no longer keep up with the exponentially increasing demand of daily commuters and rising tourist numbers to the UK's capital. It's time to scrap it all and start anew and Transport for London has hired you to redesign everything. It won't be easy to optimize the interchanges for a better flow, provide stops to as many tourist sites as possible and take advantage of the tunnels passing underneath the Thames. The first station has been built and now it's up to you to create the Next Station: London by Matthew Dunstan from Blue Orange Games.