I may be an avid gamer, but there are days I hang up my headphones and turn off the power switches too. But nowadays, instead of going to the movies or restaurants, I’d be going to somewhere else to play more games.
The games that you mainsteam PC Master Race gamers, PS4 fans and Xboners probably never heard of.
I’m just kidding. But recently, I dug out my old boardgame sets whilst tidying the storage room. Blew off the dust, cleaned them up as carefully as I could to preserve whatever integrity the games have retained while being stowed away in the dark for at least a good 5 years. Now they’re sitting on top of my wardrobe; collecting dust.
I could almost hear them asking
“Why won’t you play with me?”,
and I answer back,
“I”m trying, but this isn’t working out.”
That is, until this week.
I once thought I could forget about my past, walk away from it all. Those things I used to do, those objects that brought such joy and smiles to my life. They were slowly superseded by their digital counterparts, until they eventually disappeared from my life. They were once a proud race, now stowed away in the confines of my memories – but they were never truly forgotten. In the midst of the all the ecstasy as I tapped away at my endless Steam/Desura game libraries, I saw them again. A half forgotten dream in my intoxicated state.
/end over-dramatic narration.
What was that about? Oh, I’m just practicing for D&D this weekend. I’ve never played it before, this upcoming one will be my first run.
Yes, being a PC/Console gamer my entire life, I’ve never went that deep into board games. The only ones I played were Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo and Game of Life. So this week, I decided to get in touch with the origins of my inner geek and play some boardgames. I hooked up with a bunch of my friends, picked a date, and went down to this very special cafe down town and booked a room. Oh god that sounds wrong. But no, I’m sure we’ve all heard of these cafes; you rent a room or table and can choose to play any tabletop game (as long as they have it).
Perhaps I have spent too long staring at the computer screens, speaking through my microphone and hearing disembodied voices through my voIP connections, but I felt strange meeting everyone in person. There were quite a few weird pauses in our conversations, as if we were all too taken aback by the fact that there is now a face to associate that voice too. But yes, we spent the first 30 minutes trying to adjust to everyone’s new looks. We haven’t seen each other for at least a good half a year, since we were all too absorbed by either work or studies, the best we could do is to voice chat.
Today, we all decided to take the day off midweek and go do something together; tabletop gaming. Talk about adventurous.
I’ll just give everyone aliases, for easier reference.
Royce: He doesn’t play much games, mostly just sticks to DotA.
Janice: She doesn’t play computer games, but regularly plays card games.
Haley: She plays quite a few games every now and then. Avid TF2 player.
Sam: He plays quite a few games, generally a console gamer.
So it’s just 5 of us against the tabletop gaming world, hoping to bring home its loots in true fashion co-op style.
For the ease of discussion, I’d like to bring in just one game.
Just look at it. That HD artwork printed onto its sturdy, azure cover box. Its name stands bold and strong even in the presence of it’s bigger-sized counterparts. But beneath all the marketing gimmicks, there lies a game cruel enough to shatter the strongest of bonds.
The game centers itself around who can amass the most amount of gold before the game ends with a player building his/her 8th district. A little more information here. I was going on about co-op in the previous paragraph, and oh boy was I wrong. The table quickly disolved into a Free-For-All, winner takes all beat down. Fake alliances, bribery, political agreements, social deception and heinous backstabbing were rife. And as always, friends of today will become enemies of tomorrow, vice versa.
As the Warlord gently placed a bowl of chips onto my side of the table, and whispering sweet little nothings into my ear, I quickly forgot about my Steam library.
After about an hour of rocking our clenched fists, high-fiving, grinning and giggles later – we finally ended our first game.
And I loved it.
We hung out a little more after that, and I finally hit home at 11. Given the choice, I would have definitely chosen board games. But then the time for verdict comes: am I going to proclaim tabletop superiority? No. I still love video games, and will still continue to play Team Fortress 2. But I will not lie about my new found love for tabletop games. To me, tabletop games offered a lot more interaction than your standard video games. Playing with friends in person is a lot more fun than playing online. That’s the reason why we create LAN parties.
In retrospect, would the afternoon be any different if I replaced Citadels with another computer game? What if instead of playing card games, we were playing some LAN games together? This is where I hit a roadblock; I’ve never encountered such a game in the video gaming industry. Perhaps the closest one would be the Terrorist maps from Garry’s Mod and Minecraft, but none of them were as fleshed out as Citadels, Saboteur or The Resistance. No other video game have been able to offer such a brilliant afternoon of joy.
Remains of the day:
Is multiplayer in video games lacking?
This is an article written by PP1MT.
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The author blogs at PP1MT.com
He is an avid video gamer and can be occasionally found playing board games.