Wassup, ladies and gents? It’s a week late, but here’s my second podcast where I discuss how board games can save the world!
For those of you who don’t have the technology to listen to the podcast, I’ve included the audio transcript below. Enjoy!
Audio Transcript for Board games can save the world
Yo. Hann Chong here, and I’m back again with another podcast to talk about how board games can save the world. It’s a pretty bold statement, right?
Hey, everybody. This week, I want to show off some geek cred and talk about a topic I’m very passionate about. Board games.
Maybe you played Monopoly or Cluedo when you were younger, or Risk if you were a bit more advanced. Well, board games have come of age in recent years, and their sudden surge of popularity had me surprised because in a world where video games reign supreme, something as analog as sitting around a table handling pieces of cardboard or plastic seemed to be the last thing that anybody in the 21st century would enjoy doing. However, years of evolution can’t suppress the fact that, as human beings, we crave companionship with friends and family. For all their splendour and bright lights, video games haven’t been able to replace that one important part of being human – meeting new people and hanging out with the most important people in our lives.
That leads me to one of the most important points of why board games can save the world. Scientific evidence has proven that socializing with people face-to-face can reduce depression and allow us to gauge what people are like. Talking on the phone, email, or through video or voice chat in video games is not the most conducive way to meet people. Video gaming, known mostly as a solitary activity, promotes isolation, and really, why would anybody want to be lonely? Being with your family, friends, and loved ones is a surefire way to live a healthy life. As a young pup, I went through a stage of depression myself, so I know what it’s like to have that feeling eating away at your insides. So, with a healthy dose of board games, socializing can be fun and full of the same feelings of accomplishment you get when playing video games. Now, not to say that all video games can’t be played with friends in the same room, but most games I see coming out that aren’t party games end up pushing the online aspect. It’s kind of scary that we’re letting game companies do that to us.
But I want to go back to those feelings of accomplishment. They feel pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself. Winning a team deathmatch or conquering a challenging boss monster on your own definitely makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. But, guess what? You can get those same feelings when you play board games with others. There are many board games that reward strategy. One of my favorites, Machi Koro, is a card-based city building game. First one to complete all the building objectives wins. There are many strategies you can employ, and the more players that get involved, the more challenging the strategy. On the other hand, cooperative gameplay is offered as well through games like Pandemic, where your collective goal is to beat the game with the odds stacked against you. Then there’s an interesting mechanic exclusive only to board games where cooperative gameplay is given a twist with the inclusion of the hidden traitor subgenre. Games like The Resistance really keeps you guessing about who in your group of friends to trust. Finally, if you love the storytelling in video games, this aspect hasn’t been forgotten, because there are games like Gloom where your goal is to kill off your characters before everybody else and weave an interesting tale around how you go about it. In the case of board games, winning is fun, but I feel that the true goal of a board game is the experience – both with the game and with your friends.
If you think board games are tough to get into, think again. People and businesses around the world are making it easier than ever for you to give them a shot. In Winnipeg, I frequent a board game shop called GameKnight, which is an impressive store full of almost every board game, card game, and tabletop game imaginable. People at all levels of gaming go there, from the person who likes simple games like Sushi Go, to the hardcore Magic the Gathering player, and even to the uber nerdiness of the D&D Dungeon Master (fortunately, I happen to be all of these). At GameKnight, you can shop and play, and the staff organizes many public gaming events as well.
Since I’m currently in Malaysia, I couldn’t help but see what the board gaming culture is like over here. So I googled the most popular venues and found board game cafes to be at an all-time high! The most prominent of them is Meeples, a board game cafe in Subang Jaya that offers all-day gaming, decent food, a well-stocked inventory, membership perks, and even an online store. Unfortunately, they’re a bit too far away for me to go, but I happened to find a smaller cafe nearby me in Kota Damansara.
With this much market penetration, board games are here to stay, and they’re only growing more popular every day.
So, if you want to lead a healthier social life, board games can help you. Spending time with your friends can make you happy, and happy people can inspire and create. And aren’t those traits that make the world a better place? In addition, if you like a challenge, board games provide that in several varieties. Finally, if you think it’s hard to acquire or get into board games, think again, because stores and cafes are everywhere – even back in my humble hometown of Thompson, where you can visit Thompson Book Nook and get your fix there.
As a final note, I love Tabletop, the Geek & Sundry show hosted by Wil Wheaton. In fact, that show was my gateway into the modern board games of today. Before that, the most recent board game I played was Settlers of Catan. So when I think about it, I wasn’t doing too bad back then!
Well, that’s it from me. Until next time, I’m gonna go play some board games now. Byeee.