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Board games: it's cool and hip to be gaming the boards now

I've recently gotten into board games again, and I thought it was simply a personal thing until I noticed that quite a handful of video game-related media has been giving ample coverage to board games as well. We've seen tabletop games like Confrontation, Blood Bowl, Ticket to Ride, and Memoir '44 come out with electronic versions on Steam. Likewise, analog editions of popular video games like Gears of War and Sid Meier's Civilization (ironically a title originally based on a board game) now exist.

I suppose we owe a lot to tabletop games for the themes and mechanics we enjoy now -- just look at the Warhammer 40k franchise, or even Dungeons and Dragons. Going digital, however, doesn't mean that board gaming is a tired old animal that needs to put down. On the contrary: modern designer board games are flourishing by accentuating the advantages of playing a board or a card game compared to a computer game.

Now, I could go on and on about the merits of board gaming and the mighty social aspect of it all and praise odd things like "tactile feel" and "elegant mechanics", but to avoid the risk of incorrectly regurgitating something that someone else has said before, I would like to share a list of links of the people who influenced me to get back to board gaming in the first place. They offer more comprehensive (and entertaining!) insights into why board gaming is lots of fun and why you're making a big mistake in life by not being a board gamer:

    • Cardboard Children on Rock Paper Shotgun This is the one that started it all, being a board gaming column on a computer game site. Robert Florence is funny and articulate, and he does paint very vivid pictures with words. MADE ME DROP MONEY ON: Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness.

    • Quintin Smith's Hard Copy (part 1, part 2, part 3) Over the course of three posts, Quintin Smith writes a convincing argument for video gamers to give board games a try. These articles focus on what board gaming brings to the table that video games just can't. DROVE ME TO DESIRE: The Resistance, Risk: Legacy.

    • Shut Up & Sit Down Quintin Smith (yes, him again!) and Paul Dean have made a gem of a web series with this funny, sincere, and well-produced look at board games and why you need to try them. I can't say enough good things about the Shut Up show. FORCED ME TO FORK OUT FOR: Cosmic Encounter.

    • Watch it Played Reviews and features are nice, but Watch it Played is one of the best resources on the web if you're looking to see how a full game is actually played to completion. Rodney Smith and family do an excellent job of explaining the rules while showing the fun dynamic of playing at the same table. They usually involve the viewers in decision-making too! COMPELLED ME TO PROCURE: Mansions of Madness, 7 Wonders, Summoner Wars.

    • The Plaid Hat podcast Plaid Hat Games produces Summoner Wars, which is an incredibly simple but fun game that combines the best bits of miniature wargaming and card games. The podcast features owner and game designer Colby Dauch with his friends, colleagues, and occasional guests, and they tackle topics that mostly deal with an insider's look at the board gaming industry. Informative and entertaining. CONVINCED ME TO PURCHASE: Summoner Wars.

Those guys form what I would call my personal "inner circle" for board game discussion, recommendations, and journalism. The following links better serve the more experienced board gamer, or at least someone who's already a bit familiar with the hobby:

    • BoardGameGeek - The de facto standard for an online board gaming community on the internet. Kind of confusing, but it's a rich source of information.

    • The Dice Tower - I mostly watch this for Tom Vasel's brief but helpful and incredibly enthusiastic game reviews. Entertaining, if only to see Tom noisily pour the components of each game he reviews all over the table.

    • Board Games with Scott - You'll have to dig deep in the archives, but Scott Nicholson is very good at explaining games, showing the viewers how they work, and how they may or may not be the right fit for you, all with the confident air of a university professor.

I hope you take the time to satisfy your curiosity by vising some of the links above. Are you interested in board games? Share some of your stories, insights, or questions here!

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