Monday, May 22, 2006

The path to gaming

The path to board gaming seems to go as follows:

Play a lot of dumb board games in childhood, and maybe learn some good board or card games, too. In college become addicted to D&D or war games. Play a lot of all nighters until you give it up to become a family. Become interested again when CCGs came out / a new war game hits the scene in the early nineties. Lots of interest over the past few years from playing many different games due to BGG and the online community.

There are probably some exceptions to this:

- Younger people probably started at CCGs.

- Some people in certain countries like the Far East or Russia probably play a national game seriously, like Chess or Go.

These paths are unique features of our mentality and time period. For people who haven't ended up at board games, many of them would trace a path from board games to video games and console gaming. Modern kids are starting at console gaming; where will they end up?

Fifty years ago, the path was: play some games as a kid, or not, and then play no games later.

A hundred years ago, depending on where you lived, it might have been play some cards or checkers as a kid, and then chess or bridge as an adult.

A hundred and fifty years ago years ago it would have been ring-around-the-rosy and then whist.

My kids are now growing up with these games, because there is a board gamer in the family: me. Their game path remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: they have far greater choices than I ever did.

Even if the vast majority of children aren't growing up with better board games, I think it is safe to say that many of these games, or ones like them, are getting out there. Settlers of Catan and Apples to Apples are now fairly well known, and will stick around. If not them, then others like them.

Surely some small percentage of people will keep these new games alive. And all you need is one person here and there to at least give people the opportunity to know the games.

What will their paths be? Straight onto computer games for their entire life? Some hybrid of computers and electronic board gaming? A "back to the basics" resurgence in Chinese Checkers popularity that sweeps the country in 2015?

Or will games take off in a new direction that we don't anticipate. What if games became like IM messages, sent back and forth from bluetooths, and played all day long? What will happen with the massively multiplayer online games? Will they ever be recreated in the real world? Will people ever look at these as a "stage" in their gaming evolution?

"I started out playing massive multiplayer park games, then I played the usual hits from the bottle music gaming genre. I dropped out of games during college, but started a series of twenty-year games with each of my children. My daughter is eight and she just made a great move. I'm thinking of what to play for my response next month."


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striking_cobra said...

Interesting thoughts, that's the way I got into gaming. I started with the old classics, like Monopoly, KGB, Game of Life etc, then moved onto D&D for absoluetely ages! When life got busier and I ran out of time to play RPG's I got into boardgames - although I stll have some ideas for RPG campaigns!

Mike Hibbert

Yehuda Berlinger said...

RPG: same here. I'm now running a campaign every few weeks for my game group.


striking_cobra said...

I'd happily play RPG once a month or so, but I wonder how into the theme you would actually get. Do you find that you have lots of recapping to do each time you get together?

Yehuda Berlinger said...

No. That's what online session reports and mailing lists are for.