We’ve started going down the route of playing your D&D character, in 101, we talked primarily about how much you should stay in character, and the expectations of being in character and differentiating in and out of character should work at the table. In 201, […]
We’ve all played board games growing up — most of us are familiar with the classics, like Monopoly, Clue, and Life. And for a lot of people, playing them just leads to frustration. However, we are in a new generation of board games. Games now try to keep people engaged throughout; they’ve done away with the “roll and move” mechanic that meant you did better if you rolled higher. And now there are tons of choices out there — so if you want to try board games now, how do you pick out what you like?
One way to get started is to check out my posts on the different types of game categories, or the reviews we’ve done on specific games.
But while that’s a good place to start, you might not find it to be super useful for figuring out the type of games you like. So what are some more things that you can do to try out different games?
Find a Board Game Shop
These days, basically all board game shops are going to have some games you can try playing. This is a good free way to play a game to see if you like it. When you do find one that you like, spend some money and pick it up at the store. It might be a bit more expensive than Amazon would be, but not by much, and helping out small game shops is great. Play a lot of different games when you go there, and read rule books if you can’t play.
Ask People for Suggestions
So, okay, that’s what you are doing now (kind of). But it’s good to let people know what games you have enjoyed. For example, if you’ve liked playing a game like Clue, you might like other puzzle-y games, or even social deduction games. And asking people will get you answers like that, and even more specifics. The people in your local game shop (both employees and other patrons) are also going to be able to tell you about different games and their favorite games.
Check out Reviews/Actual Plays/Board Game Geek
There are great places online to find information. We have our reviews, and we try to tell you how a game will do for a more serious player and a more casual player. But there are may other great places to see games played. Wil Wheaton’s Geek & Sundry show TableTop is solid, and I’d highly recommend the people from the site The Dice Tower. They do reviews, hilarious top ten lists, and actual plays of the game online. There are many other spots to check out as well for seeing videos. Board Game Geek is a site where you can create or read board game reviews, see what’s hot, and keep track of what you have in your collection. Once you have an idea of something you like, you can use it as a jumping-off point. Again, say you like Clue; you can find Clue on Board Game Geek and look at other games that are listed in the same category on the site.
(As an aside, Tom Vassel from The Dice Tower is currently doing a series on “If you like X, then you might like Y,” using a lot of classic games as a starting point; it’s an awesome tool to use right now.)
Go to a Convention
A lot of conventions will bring in a board game library, and at tabletop or board game conventions, there will be people who bring their own games. A ton of people will be happy to teach you how to play their favorite game. This does come with the caveat of letting people know that you are learning a game when you play. Depending on the type of gaming session they’re looking for at that time, they might not be ready to teach someone, or other players in the session might not want to play a teaching game. Don’t feel like you necessarily have to leave the game if that’s the case; sometimes you can learn through being a spectator of a regular gaming session, or sometimes the person you’re playing the game with is in the mood to teach it, meaning players who don’t want to play in a teaching game might have to opt out of that session. What it comes down to is that the person who is teaching the game gets to choose what type of game they want to play.
In Part Two, I’m going to talk more about picking games and experimenting with games. How do you decide what you want to play when looking at a shelf? And how do you pick the next game after that? Find out in the next post!
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