The tag line of a famous board game reviewer reads “Real men play board games”. While I think that it is an overstatement, or that reviewer is just simply going out there to make an impression, I do think that it is a real serious misconception that board games are only for kids. Real men play golf (which I went crazy about a few years back, and the Taylor Made and the expensive custom-made clubs are still lying in my house begging to be used), real men play poker, real men are into properties, cars, and women. Well, there are some truths in that but there are many other truths in the world, unfortunately.
In short, the general feeling is real men do macho stuffs and playing board games? Oh no, real men don’t do sissy stuffs like playing board games, playing or enjoying music, reading books, cooking, etc. Only losers do such stuffs because they are not up to the macho competition in the tough world. Haha.
After all, we are still cavemen although the world around us have changed. We still hunt for food, we are still very much area control animals, men still wants to ride in the fastest horse, men still have the primordial instinct to spread their seeds to as far as possible and to as many females as possible to ensure the survival and widespread of his genes etc. All these are still true and if you strip all excesses in the current world, that is what one sees.
But all those aside, this is why I love board games:
1. It is competitive.
All games are by nature competitive, whether one competes against others or compete against himself. For example, in the game of Go, my favourite “board game” and in my humble opinion, the best board game in the entire human history, is extremely competitive in nature. Go simulates the human instincts for area control but in a very human manner, i.e. to win a game of Go, one has to be more strategic than the other player but the tactical, hand-to-hand fighting is also very important. However, normally, the player that is more strategic wins, and the way he wins does not necessarily involve a lot of hand-to-hand fight. In Go, one can employ a multitude of strategy, and a lot of these strategies have close similarity to military strategies. As such, Go is a good representation of the human endeavor to acquire and control territories, and as we all know, this involve warfare, life and death.
Other board games too offers competition in a variety of intensity. Some games require lesser competitive intensity while others require higher level of competitive intensity. I normally enjoy games that are of the higher competitive intensity type but I also enjoy, once in a while, low intensity board games.
2. It Offers More Genuine Friendships
Well, I know that by writing this, I may get flamed big time. However, I am thinking of other games or sports such as golf where a lot of people play golf because they want something more than a game out of it. For many golfers I know, they play golf because it is a “required” skill for their career. Companies pay instructors to teach their staff golf for this reason. And although there are many genuine friendships being established in the game of golf, one is always suspicious. Same as in other “high-flyer” interests.
However, because board game are generally seen as more inferior as per my earlier paragraph, many high-flyer wannabes, many of those who wants to climb higher in the social strata will avoid it and would want to spend their valuable time on activities that will enhance their social status or help them to achieve greater heights, such as learning how to play golf or memorizing and researching their Formula One cars or drivers, or trying out various “spa” locations for “good stuffs” so that they can bring their customers to, etc.
As such, the very nature of this will filter out board gamers as the more genuine friendship kind. They play board games because they love the games, not because the game will bring them wealth or status.
3. Board Games Brings Friends and Family Together, and it’s lots of Fun!
I think this is self explanatory. I find that board games really can bring people closer to each other by spending time together. And it is a lot of fun playing board games together, even if one loses.
4. Board Games are Ingenious
Although some board games really sucks, many board games are a brilliant piece of creative work. I am always amazed by how people can create a good board game and all the creativity it requires. And because board games invariably involve rules, it combines both left brain and right brain to be able to design a good board game. Creating and designing a board game is a lot of fun because you have all the freedom to determine how the game plays. You can set the rules, the mechanics and you are solely responsible for the playability of the game. When one does that, it gives one an immense sense of satisfaction.
5. Board Games Trains the Mind, and Trains Character
Although as mentioned in 1 above whereby it was mentioned that board games are competitive, it is worthwhile to mention here again that board games trains the mind. Many board games are simulations of real life situations or events because life itself is a game if we look at it on the macro level. For example, there are games that simulates the efficiency in running a company, or running a factory. There are many principles in life that can be applied to the game to be successful in the game and vice-versa. There are games that simulates warfare and strategic thinking. There are games that simulates negotiations and diplomacy etc. In short, board games are actually simulations and as such, the lessons learned in playing a board game can be applied to real life situations when one arises.
Also, board games are a test to one’s character. It also trains and develop one’s character. In fact, I can see most of my friend’s and family’s characters just by the way they play board games. And via this method, I learn to see myself from a distance, and how I react during the game and I see myself. And I try to improve on areas that I feel I have flaws (for example, I must be more kind and not make others suffer… hahahahahaha).
Well, I think the above are a few of the things on why I love board games. Of course board games have their flaws too. The most glaring is that it is not physical at all and prolonged playing will definitely ensure the decline of one’s physical fitness. So have a balanced lifestyle is important.