Last night we had a couple of good friends over for an impromptu gathering, and – as is usually the case – it didn’t take long for the board games to come out. The main departure from our normal get-togethers was that these two particular friends hadn’t done any board gaming at our place before, so when I cracked open our games cupboard, I got the vicarious thrill of looking at the contents with a fresh set of eyes. I got to be giddy and excited and proud of my collection all over again. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I’ve started taking our board games cupboard for granted. What a fool!
Okay, it’s not up there with the collections of some hardcore boardgamers out there – every time I get a glimpse of the Shut Up & Sit Down board game shelves, I weep a little – but considering “spending money” wasn’t really a thing we had until about a year ago, I’m fairly pleased with what’s on show there. Most importantly, there are some great games in the cupboard. And yeah, there are some absolute clangers, too.
Thing is, as I said, I’ve got a bit complacent. When people come over, we tend to default to one of our favourites, the tried and true games that we all know and love. We plump for Small World, or Arkham Horror, or Settlers of Catan. They’re always a safe bet – we know we’ll all have a laugh, and we know the rules well enough to get into them without any fuss. But where’s the sense of adventure? Why aren’t we trying out new games? Or, at least, games that we’ve only played once? One big factor is quality. Not all games are created equal. For every Last Night on Earth sprinting at you, growling and clawing and demanding to be played in your every waking moment, there’s a Walking Dead sitting sadly in an alleyway, slowly decomposing, gumming ineffectively at nothing and making you feel a bit sorry for it. But when you think about the best parts of a night spent gaming with friends – the banter, the chatting, the friendly rivalry – how much does the quality of a game actually matter?
With that in mind, I’ve come up with a new idea for the blog. With the help of a tireless group of volunteers I’m going to play through sixteen of the less-played games in my collection, with the intention of working out why I don’t play them more. Hopefully, I’ll have some pleasant surprises along the way, and get a few more games added into the regular rotation! My aim is to post about one of these games every fortnight, meaning we’ll be well into Summer by the time we hit the last game.
With the list decided, it only remained to come up with an original, unbiased way of picking the order the games will go in. Something classy, sophisticated, technological and clever…
So there we have it. I’ve just laid out some regular content for the next thirty-two weeks. Is anyone else excited?
The first instalment will kick off on 19th January with the oft-maligned Mall of Horror. Can it redeem itself after a shocking first outing at our gaming table about a year ago? One way to find out…