Every time the superbowl draws near, my friends and I always need to draw up ‘the rules’.
Just to be clear: I live in the United Kingdom, and have no idea how American football (handegg) works. The ‘rules’ I speak of are the terms of engagement for our annual Superbowl™ Drinking Game®. Little did they know, they were getting their toes wet in the board-gaming world.
That said, I still encounter a few people who seize up when a deck of cards hit the table.
“I’m terrible at board games,”, “I always lose” and “I’ll just watch” are phrases I’m all-too familiar hearing from a petrified partygoer.
No-one should be forced to play a round of Mechs vs Minions. However, if your idea of board games is coloured by the list below, allow me to put your fears at rest.
7 Misconceptions About Board Games
“They’re really hard to understand.”
As we’ve argued before, Uno could be described as the best board game of all time. It takes less than 10 seconds to explain, and the rules become apparent quickly. There’s literally hundreds of games that need even less description than Uno.
In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, rules are explained in a YouTube video, and the whole game is played in less than ten minutes. As we’ve done for almost 30 games in our ‘The Gist’ series, most rules can be explained within a minute.
Not everyone who reads owns a library. If you play the occasional board game with friends, there’s no need to have walls and walls of board games. One or two favourites have lasted me months: Codenames is barely more than $10 depending on the time of year. Deep Sea Adventure and Survive! Escape from Atlantis can be had for $20.
Owning isn’t a necessity either. There’s tons of pubs and cafes that have board game collections that you can use for free. (Or, the cost of a pint/flat white). You can even print theses amazing games off for free.
“They’re only fun for the winner.”
Warning: some people can’t deal with losing and no amount of persuasion can change that quality. Luckily, some of the best games are co-operative, so sore losers will never have to be sore.
That said, some of my personal favourite board game moments are when I do lose.
Usually, it’s in spectacularly stupid way: deciding to build a city in Suburbia with endless apartments but no schools; contradicting myself within the first 30 seconds of Werewolf; being ridiculously unsubtle when enacting the ‘cheat as you please without getting caught’ philosophy in Sheriff of Nottingham.
“They take up loads of space.”
Nope! This one just flat out isn’t true. My current collection can fit within a shoebox. If you only play Oink Games’ releases, you can probably carry your collection around with you at all times.
There’s a great space saving hack from reddit user aaaaaabi. A lot of popular games (Codenames, Splendour, Star Realms) fit comfortably in a standard deck box, meaning you can condense your favourites into something no bigger than a deck of cards.
“They’re all about elves, kings and wizards.”
Oil painted illustration of royalty and robes used to turn me off to certain games. There’s a lot of games that aren’t based on fantasy tropes.
Everything from constructing buildings in Las Vegas, to pulling sushi pieces off a conveyor belt, to surfacing undercover spies, to running a customs office are all available to you in the world of board gaming.
“They’re only for braniacs”
Chess is all about learning strategies and quickly running through possibilities in your head. Not all board games require strenuous mental ability. While the BoardGameGeek ratings might downvote random chance games into oblivion, the chaos of a game like Fluxx is a lot of fun for people who don’t want to strategise.
Games like Snake Oil or Tales of Arabian Nights don’t rely on any reasoning part of the brain at all: numerical or logical. It’s all about blagging, performance and persuasion. It suits the theatrical mind.
“It’s hard to find one I’ll like.”
What a coincidence! We’re a site dedicated to finding great games for the board game curious. Just take a look at these lists:
Be sure to poke around some of the choice YouTube channels and Reddit threads for advice on getting a good starter game.
Did we miss any misconceptions that non-gamers have about board games? Do you also have friends who get nervous when you break out the deck box? Let us know and give us your tips on getting people into the hobby.