We probably all have a favourite children’s story that we loved as a child or maybe a favourite book that we’ve read many times or a favourite film or TV show that we love watching and that takes us away from our day-to-day. In this article, I want to look at how games tell stories and how they draw us into their world.
The sky suddenly darkened above me. As I looked up, I saw the giant spaceship that was filling up more and more of my view. It towered above the skyscrapers like a huge saucer, dotted in lights and what seemed like openings. It was hard to make out, but it seemed to be bigger than downtown. Suddenly, small aircraft emerged from the spaceship’s openings and started to descend. It felt like we were suddenly living Under Falling Skies by Czech Games Edition.
I think like pretty much every hobby, playing board games is about having fun. You might prefer to play solo, you might like to play with your partner or you have a group of friends you play with. You probably play different types of games with different people. Maybe you play lighter games with your loved one in the evenings, because you’re both tired after work and want to have some relaxing time together, but when you play with your games group you want something complex and thinky to really stretch your brain. Ultimately though, I think it’s all about having fun.
“Asbestos and its use have a long history. A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos was once celebrated for its seemingly wondrous resistant and strengthening properties until it was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987. […] This odd dichotomy between the recognition of the harmful effects of the mineral and lure of the potential to make a profit on it is by no means new to industry or unique to asbestos. As game designers and game players, however, this is thought provoking.” From the rulebook of The Cost by Spielworxx.
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.
Complexity is a fairly vague term. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the state of having many parts and being difficult to understand or find an answer to.” Yet, it’s not clear when parts are considered “many” or at what point something is difficult to understand. Here are my thoughts on complexity in board games and what I think it all means.
The task in hand wasn’t going to be simple, but the rewards were huge. You could become ruler of Naqala if you were able to influence the people of the land to help you reach your goal. You were hoping to get the help of the djinns, but they would only listen to you if the people were on your side. It seemed impossible, but you knew that you could talk to each group individually and over time you would eventually have the help of all of the Five Tribes by Days of Wonder.
“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.”
Sparkling jewels, shiny gems and precious stones lay in front of you – but only a handful and not necessarily the best example. Your hope was to sell some them for enough profit to be able to buy shares in a diamond mine and attract highly skilled craftspeople who would transform the slightly lacklustre gems into magnificent jewels and allow you to bask in Splendor by Space Cowboys.
You were constantly tired from working endless hours day in and day out. You had very little time to think about the world and when you did, you didn’t have the words to describe what you saw and felt. However, you had used every spare moment to puzzle together scraps of clues into a bigger picture and had created new words with meanings that your heart dictated, but that were otherwise unknown. You felt that you were now so close to wrestling away the power from your oppressors and turn this world into a better place – but you knew you had to make sacrifices to build your Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia by Stonemaier Games.