Bringing back the board game

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Ready your body for long nights filled with coffee and strategizing

Ready your body for long nights filled with coffee and strategizing

They never really disappeared. They just became mainstream.

Article: Farron Ager – Oped Editor

I was at a friend’s house, teaching them how to play a board game I picked up roughly six months ago, “Betrayal at House on the Hill”. Essentially, the game has six players exploring a haunted house, uncovering tiles until some bad mojo goes down and someone is revealed to be the haunter, the antagonist trying to kill off the remaining players. With fifty different scenarios, the game has an incredible replay value with which even many modern video games would find difficult to compete.

One of the people at the table exclaimed that he tried to buy a copy of the game for himself, but it was sold out everywhere. I mean, everywhere. And anywhere that does have it is selling it at extortionate prices. At the time of printing, I found two vendors who are attempting to sell the game, $50 when I picked it up, for double the price. My jaw figuratively hit the floor. Why the steep price? Surely to goodness the game didn’t sell so terribly that they stopped production of it altogether, leaving whoever was fortunate to have a copy to sit on a small fortune.

It was then that someone pointed out to me that the game was featured on the popular Youtube video series Tabletop, hosted by Wil Wheaton, about three months ago. The series revolves around Wheaton and a gamut of individuals playing an equally wide variety of board games. When it’s described as “Celebrity Poker meets Dinner for Five, where interesting people got together for tabletop games,” it’s not hard to see why the show has been received fairly well.

In watching their two-part play-though of Betrayal, I began to entertain the notion that maybe people were actually starting to take an interest in this game. A quick visit to my local comic book shop revealed to me that it was, in fact, sold out, but also a promise that more would be on the way after they’re finished being produced.

I don’t think I was ever so excited for out-of-stock product before.

If you had told me a few years ago if I were a) going to be playing board games on a regular basis and b) that board games would get the amount of attention that they have now, I would have laughed at you quite liberally for some time. And, yet, look at where we are now.

For me, this is a truly phenomenal thing to see: people actually pulling themselves away from television screens and computer monitors to sit around with a group of their friends/associates/what-have-you to be social and, more importantly, to have fun.

Nowadays, I regularly find myself playing one board game or another on a weekly basis. The best part is that there are also plenty of outlets and avenues for prospective players to explore. The SaskGames.com website offers people a chance to see what events are happening around the province, many of which are happy to welcome new players. The other awesome bit? There are really board games to suit every kind of person. I can guarantee you that, due to the expansive variety of board games out there, you’ll find at least one you like. If you can’t find a single game you like, then you can write some hate mail to me.

So give board games a chance if you haven’t already, and see what you’ve been missing out on. I still have my video games, sure, but they can always wait another night if a couple people want to have an evening of board games.

Image: Lord of the Board

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