Before the dawn of time, Gaia, our Mother Earth, gave birth to the first trees. With their strong trunks and majestic crowns, they quickly converted the fallow land into fertile soil. They cherished the everlasting rituals of Gaia that sent a ferocious force through their veins, bringing life to the highest branches and deepest roots. It did not take long for them to cover the whole continent and create the vast Forests of Pangaia by Thomas Franken from Pangaia Games.
The tigers were stealthily making their way onto the meadow, where the goats were grazing. Watching their calm and coordinated approach made you believe there was going to be only one outcome - and it wasn't going to be in favour of the goats. However, the sheer number of grazing animals didn't make it easy for the hunters. It didn't take long for one animal to sense the danger. Suddenly, the whole flock was alert and bunched together, making it virtually impossible for the large cats to attack. It was now their turn to make the next move in this Bagh Chal from Lemery Games.
"Troll!" came the shout from the battlements. "Where?!" we shouted back. "Southeast!" was the reply. Darn it. We didn't have any archers defending our fortress in that direction. It was fortunate that we still had time before we had to deal with the next wave of attackers. We were already in over our heads fending off orcs and goblins at the northern end of the bastion. Things were slowly becoming too chaotic. It was a real Castle Panic by Justin De Witt from Fireside Games.
Playing games is often a very social activity, even though I don't want to neglect the many solo gamers that play an important part in our hobby. However, in this article, I want to focus on multiplayer games. I want to talk about what roles friends fulfil in our hobby. I basically want to write an ode to all the friends I have made through board games. See the following as my love letter to friends everywhere.
A "hobby", as defined by Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, is "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation." So hobby games are all about doing something different to what we usually do and doing it to relax. The definition of "serious", on the other hand, is a bit more complex. One option I found in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines it as "requiring much thought or work" or "not joking or trifling." So a serious gamer invests a lot of thought and work into their hobby and doesn't want people to make fun of it. It's all a bit confusing and that's why I want to look at the idea of a "serious hobby gamer" in more detail in this article. I also want to look at how hobby games have entered the mainstream and how that relates to the "seriousness" of the hobby.
Mixing digital tools with analogue games isn't for everyone. Many of us in the modern hobby games community prefer to switch off our smartphones, get away from our computer monitors or otherwise "disconnect" and instead spend some quality time with people face-to-face, playing together. Some of us are happy to compromise and allow apps or other digital tools to take part in game nights, at least to some extent. In this article, I want to look at some of this new technology and what it can add to the playing experience.
War games are often seen as controversial. Replaying the atrocities that occurred during a large-scale conflict seems completely inappropriate. Condensing the huge amount of suffering, death and destruction into a game of pushing tiles around a board and rolling dice or playing cards seems perverse. So in this article, I try to put everything into a bit more context and tease out the pros and cons of war games and how controversial they really are when compared to some of the other games in our vast hobby.
Even if you're not a particularly competitive player, trying to win the game is what you should aim for. You may not care if you do eventually win and prefer to focus on doing better than previously. That's fine and at the end of the day, playing games is about having fun. However, if you do have even a small competitive streak in you, then this article may help you become a better player and win more often.
I always say that not everyone will like every board game, but there is a board game for everyone. I suppose, I should concede that some people don't like board games at all. Our hobby isn't for everyone and that's fine, of course. However, in this article, I want to look at the sort of games that should suit most people.
Since the lockdown, many board games have now also been released in digital format. Some of these implementations are just a representation of the physical game on your screen. You still have to move everything by hand and do all the housekeeping. Other solutions enforce rules and carry out all the actions for you. You just need to point and click. Some games also come with AI opponents, allowing you to create a competitive game even when you're by yourself or add additional, digital players to a multiplayer game. In this article, I want to look at using these computer players to help you improve your game.