Within the last ten years, there has been a dramatic shift in the way board and card games play out.
As games have moved from the one dimensional single purpose objective [seen in Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit etc] to a more multi-optioned strategy path [Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Puerto Rico, 7 Wonders etc] so the playing of games has changed.
Thursday nights in the Stadium on Main mall in Cape Town has that interesting Matrix moment on a weekly basis, where hardcore clubbers from Tiger Tiger come face to face [or face to shop glass window at least] with a breed of gamer, sitting at a table inside Wizards Games and Book shop, who take it a lot more seriously than your casual family afternoon hobby. Neither side knows quite what to make of the other one.
Tuesday nights might find you heading to Fanaticus in Plattekloof whereas Saturday nights sees a bit more of an upscale venue as the gamers converge in the Vineyard hotel accompanied with a bag of different games to wage war with. In fact pretty much every night there is sure to be a venue or two where you can head out to learn a new game or try to win one that you have played before.
FROM NOVICE TO PRO
The card and board game community is a really welcoming one. So if you are a first timer who has never played before you will be enthusiastically welcomed and quickly given your first lesson in a game likely to blow your mind a little when the instructions are happening. But within a round or two you will likely have the gist of how to play and once you have one or two games under your belt, the ease of jumping into slightly more complicated ones will come naturally.
Then there are those who take it seriously. Somewhat more complicated games with names like Terra Mystic, Caverna and Tzolk’in will be eagerly learnt and then repeatedly played in a bid to master the subtle strategies needed to finish towards the top of the leaderboard.
A STRATEGY FOR THIS GAME THIS DAY
What is most attractive with this new level of gaming is the shifting strategies that occur depending on the nature of a particular game. So with Settlers of Catan the game board [consisting of a number of hexagon shaped pieces each representing different resources] is different every single time and you have to adjust your strategy accordingly. Puerto Rico is largely dependent on what strategies those around you choose as to what roles will be left to play each round. Games like Tzolk’in and Lords of Waterdeep give advantage to whoever plays first every round, but one of your moves might be to take over the starting position piece.
So gone are the days of having the way you play a game. With some of them it is possible to have a general strategy, but you will have to adapt it and think on your feet and change according to how the game plays out on that particular day. Which gives maximum replay value to a game and makes it take longer to feel tried and tested.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Wherever you are, there is likely to be a game-playing venue near you. People use Social Media to find local places and events and then stay connected on Whatsapp and Facebook groups to hear the latest news on who is playing what where.
Playing games on a regular basis also helps you to figure out which of the games you really want to but versus those you might want to try out and play every now and then. Once you have your own growing collection of games then game nights move to dining tables and living rooms as friends and family are quickly brought up to speed on the latest favourite.
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with more family friendly games like Dixit, Bohnaza, Quirkle and Sequence in the mix, there is something that almost everyone will enjoy. The question really is, What are YOU waiting for?