I have a friend. Surprising, I know, but I have a specific one in mind. The first time she came over to our house, she warned us that she hated board games.
“That’s because you don’t know of the good ones,” we said, rolling our eyes and shaking our heads.
“I do,” she assured us, “I come from a gaming family.”
And, sure enough, she recognised and had played a good few of the games that we had in our collection. But she still left our house having been converted to the joys of board gaming. I like to think that this is because we can read people pretty well and know what kind of games would suit their personalities.
There are games like Pirate’s Cove and King of Tokyo that introduce people to board games in general, but while they are fairly social, there is a good deal of combat to them. This particular friend had mentioned that part of what she hated about board games was the conflict that ensued from them, the competitive streak that tends to show its face when confronted with other players trying to pry victory from your grasp. We wrote off plans of Pirate’s Cove for the evening.
There are games like Dixit where players compete against each other, but in a far more subtle and much more social kind of way – where losing doesn’t feel as much like a disappointment, because you realise that you had fun playing anyway, even if you had chosen the drunken red bunny that was lagging behind the rest of the pack. Even when you lose, you kind of feel like you win, because people may have read your hints so perfectly, or because any one could have thought that the clue matched the card that you chose.
There are games like Pandemic and Arkham Horror where players work together to save the world, whether it’s from deadly diseases or Elder Gods with bad attitudes. These tend to be hits for those people who hate the thought of fighting against each other, since win or lose, you do so together. It also just so happens that often these are the types of games that are harder to win than to lose… go figure!
There are games like Shadows Over Camelot, The Resistance and Battlestar Gallactica, where characters work together for the most part, but with one or two treacherous fiends working behind the scenes to foil your plans. These tend to be my least favourite personally, simply because I find hiding to be stressful. But they do lead to interesting conversations and a lot of fun, especially when playing with people who either know each other well, or don’t know each other at all. Cue moments of staring deeply into each others eyes and asking, “Are you the traitor?”
And then there are games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, which takes every single one of the game types above and combines them into a fun-filled experience. You start off working together, exploring a house, then you eventually find that one of you is a traitor (you all know who it is) and you end up fighting against them. And the best part is, win or lose, you always end up having fun!
So, now that I’ve listed some of the gaming types. What kind of gamer do you think you are?