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Squall - probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skval: useless chatter (Merriam-Webster)
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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Board Games

I've recently (well, the last 4 years) gotten into board games a lot more heavily. I've always played a few that were 'adult' - meaning mature and thinking, not erotic. My games collection tended heavily towards Avalon Hill. My favorite is Titan. I played the quintessential "Settlers of Cataan" and that, like most people, opened my eyes to the new breed of games. Most people like to call them EuroGames. "Euro" boardgames generally refer to the newer style of boardgames that have arisen out of the game trends started quite few years back with "Settlers" (as we geeks refer to it as).

So what? Board games should be called bored games, cuz you're bored while playing them. That's what most most people think about games, and some are amazed I tell them I play board games. Inevitably, they spark up with dull gems like Monopoly, Sorry, or even CandyLand (I'm over 30, you think I am playing CandyLand??? Boot to the Head!) Jeez. Even Clue is a moderately decent game, but no, I don't play those.

EuroGame play is completely different from a typical Parker Brothers/Milton Bradley style board game - where you only really do any one thing on your turn, and then can go and make a sandwich while everybody does their turns and you wait until it comes around to your turn again. Another Boot To the Head. "Euro" games require you to pay attention throughout the entire game. In fact, many "Euro" game mechanics have an interconnected style of interaction, such that it is never, necessarily, any *one* person's turn. Instead of a game where you pay attention 1/3 or 1/5 of the time, you have a game where there is *always* something for your brain to be mulling around; in a good way! You wind up very engaged for the entire length of time of the game.

Even my favorite game "Titan" lacks a lot of what I like about EuroGames. Most games that I like have interactions like auctions, trading, etc. And a non-elimination element. Plus, Titan takes a long time to play - I still say it is an excellent two player game, because of the elimination and time elements.

Some of my current favorite games are Power Grid, Domaine, Brass, ElfenLand, Evo, Kaivai, and more. Oh, and I love them racing games: Formula De, Das Motorsportspiel, and Ave Caesar!

I've been playing at a friends house for these four years, and I must say that I have enjoyed it very much. The first year, I don't think I played the same game twice, and I wish I was tracking my game play on "The Geek" then... I only recently started tracking my games played - see the side of my blog, it shows my last 10 games I've played - not including RPGs - but that's another long ass post.

Finally, for the best insight into the Euro board game revolution, and the types of games which it has spawned, definitely check out the greatest board game website out there.

www.boardgamegeek.com

Using reviews on "The Geek" have helped me make my board game purchases. Although playing the game first (usually at Ben's house) also helps me decide to buy it or not.

Finally, Game on!