C. G. McGinn

Writer

Ramblings about Books and Writing

Indie and Board Games

This seems to be a reoccurring theme in geek culture. There's that moment where you find interest in something that none of your other friends are into. For me, WoW seems to be that thing. I have a handful of friends in the game but only 1.5 real life friends who play. I say 1.5 because I have one whole friend who plays a lot, and I have a wife who plays very little. Also, the friend who plays a lot only has Alliance characters, while all of my characters are For the Horde!!!! So maybe I have 1.2 friends playing WoW.

In a world of social networks, online games, and computers in every home, you would think that there wouldn't be this kind of fragmentation among real life friends.

But everyone has their "thing" in Nerdom, the Nerdaverse, err, Fandom. There are 50 shades of Anime, Dr. Who fans, Sherlock fans, fans of Supernatural, fans of Felecia Day, fans of games ranging from every niche and genera. Comic book fans, collectible card fans, giant robot fans, and pog fans. (Remember pogs??

I have found that the dilemma I face with computer games is one that carries over onto board games/table-top games as well. However, with these physical games that require human interactions that are not divided by network cables and internet service providers, the stakes are much higher. When it comes to purchasing a computer game, even if you haven't any friends to play with, you can still play the game. Case in point: I can play World of Warcraft by myself and have the same enjoyment as I would playing with others.

But try playing Magic the Gathering by yourself. It can't be done, can it?

I've run into this problem recently with the game Arkham Horror, an epic board game set in the world of the writings of HP Lovecraft. From what I've read, it looks to be a game with a lot of rules and one sitting can last as long as an epic D&D session, or 3-5 hours. It's a game I'd love to play. The only problem is finding the friends to play it with. The stakes are higher because of the learning curve involved not just for me, but also for the hypothetical friends who would play it. But also there's a cost involved. The game ain't cheap. Is it worth the time and money?

I'd like to host a game night and have a mix of old standbys: Life, Monopoly, Yahtzee. But I would also like to incorporate games like Arkham Horror, and Settlers of Catan. With so many friends who're into so many different things, who has the time for anything? I'm not even sure if I do.

CGM

PS, More on the "Indie" part later.