Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Board Games, Like CCGs, are Cardboard Crack

Ten years ago, hordes of game geeks left the CCG scene because it was "cardboard crack": it sucked away tons of time and money all to get the latest fix. The hordes turned instead to board games. Nice, simple, replayable, buy-once-and-it's-yours board games.

These same hordes spent the last ten year spending even more time and money to get the latest board games. Every year, they bought dozens of games, played them twice, once, or not at all, and then anticipated the next game and the next purchase.

The amount of time and money they spent over the last ten years on an endless series of newer board games probably equaled or exceeded what they would have spent on CCGs during this same period. The question is: who had more fun? Those that continued to play CCGs all decade, or those that denounced them as cardboard crack and went on to spend their time playing that endless series of board games?

Probably both teams win.

The constant need to buy what is anticipated as later and greater is called "the cult of the new". The best ten games of 2009 are not really better than the best ten games of 2000. For those that bought the best best games every year, the enjoyment came from the anticipation, the acquisition, and the new experience of each game, not from the solidity of the game itself. Familiar games, like familiar songs, electronics, or movies, may be nice, but they're familiar.

Was that really the best use of your money? Unlike songs, many movies, and some books, the best games reward reuse by being different every time you play them. (In fact, one game genre fits that description pretty well: CCGs.)

Of course, someone has to buy, play, and review the games for the rest of us to know which of those games are most likely to be the ones we'll want to replay. When do you - non-journalist - stop looking at what you don't have and enjoy what you have?

If the answer is never, at least stop looking down on others who enjoy the same thing you do.
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