Why Draw A Card When You Can Draw A Board Game?
I don’t know about you, but I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions. They are either major long term goals that require consistent effort, or too abstract to plan accordingly, and I guess that’s why it’s so common to fail. But this year I found myself taking the risk, and decided I was going to play board games! I figured it’d be as a good a reason as any to be social, and I’d been curious for a while. But with which board game do we start? With most of the classic games being as old as papyrus, the artwork is never a real help either.
So while I dove into the depths of Board Game Geekery, I came across a webshow hosted by Star Trek: The Next Generation legend Wil Wheaton, called Tabletop. And they introduced me to a game called Tokaido. The concept is basically taking a vacation by travelling from Kyoto to Edo. Meanwhile you eat, shop, paint, and take hot spring bath with a monkey if you’re lucky. But the game stood out because it’s absolutely stunning.
Another game you’re bound to run into soon enough is a game called Munchkin. It’s based on the Dungeon-Crawling Role Playing Games, but in effect it’s a highly random card game that rewards you for stabbing your friends in the back.
But the fluidity of the game and the ease of combining the cards gave Steve Jackson Games the idea to ask Guest Artists to design their version of Munchkin, even booster packs which can be added to the game, regardless of theme.
These games are a part of a fairly recent wave of popularity of what they call a “designer” board game. Many them the product of Kickstarter campaigns, and are often a wonderful playground for artists to let their inspiration fly and design an immersive experience.
We’ve come a long way since the days endless hours of Risk leading to families going to war with each other for real, or playing Scrabble with your grandmother, only for her to play some random jumble of letters and claim it as something they used to say all the time back when she was young in 1645. If the game goes awry, at least now you can lose yourself in some stunning artwork.