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Board Gaming: Masterclass by Jarek!

By: The Adventure Begins | Published 09/03/2021

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WHATS UP NERDS!

 Board games have come back with a vengeance over the last handful of years. When you walk into a board game store it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of different titles out there. Where do you start? What games are good for me? Why are there so many board games out there in the first place? These are all great questions, and I’ll be doing what I can to help you, humble reader, get acquainted with this brave new world you find yourself in. Welcome to my Not-So-Masterclass on Board Games: A Hobby!

Author’s Note: For ease of terminology and organization I’ve broken this class into three major categories: Amatuer, Hobbyist and Enthusiast (yes, I know the last two are synonyms).

CLASSICS, OLD AND NEW: AMATUER GAMING

When you think of board games, a lot of people initially think of the original classics; Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, RISK, etc.. I lovingly refer to these guys as our “Classic Era” board games that plenty of people grew up with and were likely the first real introductions into the hobby. These games are the foundation to which almost anyone can refer back to. Even now I still find myself referring to games as “Like RISK but…” or “Similar to Monopoly but…” They’re building blocks that we can all call on.

Then we have modern classics such as CATAN, CARCASSONNE, PANDEMIC and BETRAYAL AT HOUSE ON THE HILL all fall under my general Modern Classics umbrella. These are all more recent games that have for sure come into the collective consciousness of our world. Odds are someone knows someone with one of these games or you’ve seen them at big box stores. The point remains that these are gateway games to help bring you into the modern world of board games and some of the more unique mechanics that you’ll find there. In fact, my parents first learned and got interested in Catan because of a news story several years ago about several Green Bay Packers players playing it whenever they had down time.

Author’s  Note: These are great games to get started with if you’re looking to break into modern board gaming. PLEASE dont let the “Amatuer” tag dissuade you.

BRANCHING OUT: HOBBYIST GAMING

This is where things tend to get wild. You’ve played a couple standard games and are looking to branch out from the classics that got you here. You’re going to find games that look right up your alley but turn you off once you play them.You’ll find games that look way too complicated for your tastes and completely ignore them. There will be games that are so simple but get stuck on the set-up phase and be sworn off for the rest of time. This is a major trial-and-error portion of board gaming that can easily be the nail in the coffin for this hobby

To really get the most bang for your buck, check out a friendly local game store (often abbreviated as FLGS) that has a well-stocked games library (Like The Adventure Begins #shamelessplug). Games libraries are typically free services that FLGSs will provide which allow you the chance to try before you buy. There's nothing worse than spending $60 on a board game you thought was interesting and awesome only to be completely disappointed and left with a sour taste in your mouth. Game libraries are also a fantastic way to try out different types of games that you might not have a background with. While you're at it, check to see if your FLGS is hosting any learn-to-play nights; these are great ways to further your knowledge and meet other members of the gaming community -- you never know who you might meet at your nerd store!

Author’s Note: This is a stage of exploration and trial-and-error. You will find things you don’t like and plenty of others that you’ll love. Break out of your comfort-zone and check out the amazing selection that's available!

BUILDING A COLLECTION: ENTHUSIAST GAMING

This is where you end up when you dedicate too much time and energy into a hobby that you love and enjoy. Everyone has that one friend who has a massive selection of board games and is trying with all their might to get you to sit down and play GLOOMHAVEN or SCYTHE or WINGSPAN on a game night in the near future. Once you hit this phase, you know the kind of games that interest you and the once that you’re not as enthusiastic about. You’re willing to branch into newer games as they release or interested in backing the newest hot project that hits Kickstarter and will show up at your doorstep eventually. This isnt the be-all end-all of the hobby, though. You’ll find yourself trying new things, learning new games, hitting up conventions and doing ALL the things.

A REMINDER: HAVE FUN

In the end, board games are about having a good time. And crushing your opponents, but that's a different facet of the hobby. Find what you like, enjoy the people you’re with and foster a good environment and I can almost guarantee that you’ll like whatever it is you’re playing. Explore and branch out at your leisure, but always be learning! And, as always, remember that your adventure begins here! Until next time…

SEE YA NERDS!

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