For a lot of people board games consist of monopoly and trivial pursuit and probably come out at Christmas when the family argues about who will be the dog and who will be the thimble. Board games are so much more than that though. Until about seven month’s ago my board gaming experience was limited to the family friendly ones, that’s until I met my other half who was immersed with his friends in the world of board gaming. They played loads, and I hadn’t heard of a single one of them, but what’s the best way to find out if you like something? Give it a go. And while I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed to the level that they are (they’d play most nights if they could) I thoroughly enjoy them and it’s nice to use your brain and experience new worlds.
Last month I headed along to the UK Games Expo at the Birmingham NEC to really see what the world’s about and it’s mad how much the industry has grown just in the past two years. Two years’ ago the full expo was held in just a few rooms in the Hilton Hotel and now it spreads across the main hall at the Birmingham NEC and multiple game’s rooms in the Hilton. Testament that the board gaming community is strong, and I definitely think it’s widening. In the past year alone I’ve discovered multiple board game cafes which have opened and are always seemingly busy.
I have to admit whenever I play a new game I worry that I won’t understand how to play as some are very complicated if anyone’s played Battlestar Galactica tell me it isn’t me who was confused the first time I played?! But the great thing is you’re playing for fun with friends, and while some people might get competitive you’re playing for an experience. At the UK Games Expo one of the great things you can do is try out the games because let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to shell out anything up to about £80 if you don’t know whether you’ll enjoy the game.
As I only went to the Games Expo on the final of the three days, the others I was with had sussed out which game they wanted to play which was always super busy whenever they had been past; Mansions of Madness. So this is where we headed at around 9.45am when the doors first opened. Just over two hours later we had finished playing (albeit having lost) and we enjoyed it so much that my other half bought it, and we promptly played another game as soon as got home. The great thing about playing it at the expo was that there were people around to help you, provide insight, answer questions and generally guide you through the game so you don’t necessarily have to sit at home reading the manual ten times and Googling things which don’t make sense.
A lot of people I’ve spoken to see the board gaming industry as one which is just full of geeky guys and while stereotypical, males do make up a huge proportion of the industry it may just be because not enough girls have given it a go to realize that they find it enjoyable. I’d never have thought that I’d have found it as fun as I have. What I’m trying to say in a nutshell is new things might feel daunting much like if you start a new sport but by experiencing it and giving it a go you might surprise yourself.