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.
It was the fifth factory you had visited today, as you were trying to find three turquoise ceramic tiles to complete your pattern in the King’s palace. You needed three – exactly – no more, no less. The first factory you had visited had no turquoise tiles, the second had four, the third had only one and the fourth had two. The factory you were in now, was the last one that made these tiles, and if it didn’t have the exact number of turquoise tiles you needed, you had to go back to the previous one and make do with two, which would put you behind schedule and make the King angry. Yet, you were in luck. The factory overseer told you that they had your tiles and exactly three of them. You were so pleased that you found three tiles that were all Azul by Next Move Games.
I slammed down Cowgirl and immediately opened the bidding with a “Klik”, which was countered with a “Thwak” and to which I responded with a “Splat”. A “Twang” played by the other side brought us level again, which meant I could still win this. After a moment’s hesitation, the other side played “And” and immediately put down Wheel-Demon, closely followed by “Zooom”, giving them the leading bid. However, their unexpected move actually gave me the advantage. I put down “Kerunch”, which they countered with “Eeeek!!”, which I trumped with “Crrash”, which they… no… they couldn’t keep up. The bids were level, which meant I was victorious and was inching closer to victory with another two Heroic Echoic by Happyclash Games.
With a loud “Bang!” the head flew off, followed by a “leg-splosion” that severed both legs, leaving only the body and the left arm. It wasn’t pretty. Yet, you knew you could turn it all around. There were still plenty of options. You just had to duck and dive and try and swap body parts with another robot to boost your own. You were sure that in the end you would be a Bots Up.
The irrigation system was ready, but there was still work to be done on the trellises. The windmill, cottage and tasting room were still just ruins and only the first third of the wine cellar was accessible. The crush pads were all clean and ready to receive the first harvest of grapes, yet the fields were still bare. Orders for some red and white wine had already come in and two types of grapes were ready to be planted. It was the beginning of a vineyard that was going to be splendid. Mama and Papa were looking forward to putting the work in and creating a heritage that would make the family name proud. At the same time, it was daunting, because they knew nothing about Viticulture by Stonemaier Games.
“Hm. Deep Purple looks good. Life’s A Peach is also very warm and rich. Oh, and of course, we want the Cactus Jack. That would be the perfect triad of colours.” You step back and look at the colour samples you just painted onto the wall in the kitchen. “Yes, that’s it.” You’re so pleased to have come up with this perfect colour scheme. It had been harder than you had expected. Mixing the 13 cyan, 14 magenta and 15 yellow in the right combination had been a bit of job, let alone getting all the red, green and blue to mix up the cyan, magenta and yellow, but the result was more than worth it. “Yes,” you say out loud, “that’s the perfect Swatch by Minerva Tabletop.”
A small queue of customers was waiting outside. It was our opening day. We had our tea ready and some bits in our pantry, but still had to buy the flavours, which we wanted to get fresh from the market during the day, so that every tea would taste fresh and our customers would be happy. Everyone was nervous, but there was nothing for it – we had top open up and start serving Chai by Steeped Games.
It was time to build a better future and turn this city around. We knew we had to reduce our carbon output quickly. Our aim was to be carbon neutral. Yet, the road there would be difficult and tough decisions had to be made. Modernizing our housing stock, building wind farms, offering grants for solar panels and everything else would cost a lot of money. If we wanted to move quickly, we might have to accept a temporary increase in carbon output to build factories, that would help us finance the final goal – or we could go slowly and use our existing funds to improve things gradually. We were not alone though. There were a number of others who wanted to become the first Carbon City Zero by Possible.
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.
“I think everyone agrees. We want to build the best metropolis in the world and we have a great opportunity to do so from scratch. We have a large plot of land that is ready to be built on. We can really create something special here that will make everyone happy. It will be magnificent.” The mayor looks around the room at all the happy and excited faces, until he spots the urbanist. “What’s wrong?” the mayor asks. “Well,” the urbanist replies, “we do have a few challenges. Depending on which architect builds what we can place new buildings only in certain columns or rows of the empty plot’s grid system, and we can only choose buildings from a specific row or column from the available ones. It’s going to be really tricky to build our Quadropolis by Days of Wonder.”