Relaxing Board Gaming

Relaxing Board Gaming

When people tend to think of playing board games, some of the most common first images are table flipping after some roll goes horribly wrong in a four hour game of Monopoly or Risk. So something like Sorry where you just are rolling turn, after turn, after turn, to get the exact number to get to the end and then flipping the table.

I’m hear to let you know that your board gaming doesn’t have to be that way.

Image Source: Parker Brothers

Now, maybe you like the heavily confrontational games, and that’s great. I like a lot of the modern ones, because they aren’t as table flipping as someone getting lucky roll after lucky roll and chipping away at your army in Risk.

But maybe you want to play a game that feels more peaceful. Maybe you want to relax and enjoy the gaming experience that way. I think that’s a viable option in our age of board gaming as well. There are more and more games that are being put out to create that zen gaming experience.

They tend to be smaller games that are more puzzle based and that limit the player interactions, but they are out there. With the large number of roll and write board games, we’re seeing a lot of them come out of there. That’s because you aren’t interacting with other people, you are building out your own solution to the puzzle, and what someone else does doesn’t effect you.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Games like Welcome To…, Criss Cross and Second Chance fall into this category. These roll and write games really have you focusing on your own puzzle, and while there can be a little bit of stress hoping that something will show up, you really can just sit back and let the cards or the dice decide what you are going to do. And with Second Chance, you are filling in spots on a board and it gives you the chance to doodle and just enjoy as you go.

Thinking about it, there aren’t any larger games that I would consider to be that relaxing. Now, I consider most games to be relaxing because it’s a great way for me to unwind. But the ones that focus a lot of the zen aspect are those smaller games. I think there is a good reason for that. In something bigger that has more of a time investment, you need to be kept hooked for longer. Something like Welcome To… is a 30 minute game, no matter how many players you have, so you are done before you start to notice that there isn’t any major hook to draw you into the game long term.

When you’re playing a larger game, even a cooperative game, you want to feel the pressure from the game or from the other players. There’s either a story or some sort of conflict that you want to deal with. Even in Euro games, while they are building up your trading and you might be just doing that yourself, there’s a limited number of spaces, so there is an interaction piece where someone takes where you want to go, even though there will be other good options as well for you.

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

But, there are certainly games that are more stressful in the larger game category and less stressful ones. And the ones that are more story driven, they can be less stressful until they are a dungeon crawl as dealing with the monsters is always a bit stressful. But something like Tales of the Arabian Nights, because you never know what story you’re going to get, you can just enjoy the story and you don’t feel the pressure from the game because you can’t fish for certain types of stories for those last points. Though, that might be frustrating for some people, because it is so random. Another larger game that is pretty relaxing is Charterstone. That is because as a worker placement, you can bump someone’s worker back to their hand, so you’re always able to go anywhere, which means that there’s no pressure with that part of the game, you just have to decide if you’re going to help someone else by bumping their worker. And in it, your point engine is just your point engine and no one can really mess it up.

That said, the smaller relaxing games are nice because they are a good pallet cleanser. They give you a chance to relax and relax your brain, some, before you jump back into something heavier. And with the likes of Welcome To… and Second Chance, they still give you decisions to make, but the pressure, with the card flip or die roll is less on you as a player because those things are random and well beyond your control.

What are some board games that you find relaxing to play? Are there any larger games out there that are relaxing?

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