Our peace had been shattered. We had been living underground for centuries, happily going about our daily chores. We had spread across many moons around the planet and were very content and happy until one day a meteor impacted and threatened everyone’s lives. It was time for us to come above ground and start mining our moons for resources, so we could build new technologies that would save us. We were able to communicate with the other moons and co-ordinate our efforts, so we were hopeful. Yet, time was running out and we had to be quick and efficient if we wanted to escape our doom and flee to Uranus by The Dark Imp.
As is customary at the end of a calendar year, it’s time for my top 5 board games of this, rather odd, year and for me to announce the winner of the Top Table Award 2020. Let me say that this year, I happily allowed games into the top 5 list that were published before 2020, as long as these games were new to me this year. There is a clear winner for me, not just based on the number of plays, the amount of enjoyment the game brought and the nostalgia factor that the game has for me, but because this game took a well-established genre and took it to the next step, making it more accessible to a wider range of people. However, let me not spoil it for you, but start at number 5 and work my way to the top slot.
The more we play games, the more we learn. We learn better strategies, new mechanisms, how to be a better loser, as well as a better winner, we learn that we don’t always have to have the latest games, or that we definitely do, and we learn a few other things besides. In this article, I want to focus on something else though. I want to look at what playing board games has taught me about myself, about the people around me, and how it has changed me over time, if at all.
Tabletop game designers want to create an enjoyable experience for people – whatever enjoyable means in this context. From that starting point, they create a game that is balanced, flows well and meets the desired complexity requirements, as well as meets other criteria. They may use the skillset of developers to refine everything, and if a publisher is involved, there will be additional criteria that have to be met. However, in this article, I want to focus on enjoyment, what it means and whose responsibility it is to make a game enjoyable.
As some of you will know, I’m an alpha player at the core, which means I can take over co-operative games and tell people what to do. Even in competitive games I’m the one who makes sure rules are followed and actions are done in the right order. I even adjust tokens or tiles to line them up properly and ensure everything is in the right place. However, I’ve changed a lot over the last year or so and I want to share my journey with you. Maybe it will give you some tips for yourself, if you’re an alpha player too.
You and a handful of brave explorers have finally found the entrance to Mount Arima, the fearsome volcano that has laid sleeping for decades, and which hides an important secret in its maze of tunnels. Tales of a magical sanctum have drawn you and your fellow adventurers together. You all promise to work together and face whatever dangers you may encounter in the depths of this mountain. Yet, none of you have realized that your allegiance will be tested to your death, if you are not able to escape before the volcano erupts and burns you alive. Sub Terra II: Inferno’s Edge by ITB Board Games will require you to work together effectively and swiftly if you want to succeed.