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Monday, December 05, 2005

Are Board Games Alt Games Culture Now?

The event -- organized by local company North Star Games, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington and the university -- drew more than 200 people, some, such as Chappell, novices to the alternative-game culture, others old hands, such as Jeanne Kramer-Smyth.

Kramer-Smyth, who is pursuing a master's degree in library science at Maryland, called herself a "gamer." Her hobby began when she played Scrabble with her parents as a child. She married a gamer. And she wants her son to become one. "It's the next generation," she said.
-- Little-Known Board Games Get Their Turn

I never really consider board games to be "alternate", but I guess they have become increasingly more so. Even commercials for board games declare they are trying to "bring back game night" for the family. The Girl's family are huge devotees of board games, which lead to my crushing defeat at song, bible and nursery ryhme related trivia over Thanksgiving.

I do kinda miss the old "dungeon" board games, of which I can barely think of a single title right now. However, they generally involved a lot of dice, combat and treasure hunting like a lite RPG ... only in board game form. Blood Bowl was also a huge favorite of my old high school crowd, and I'm saddened daily that nobody has brought it in a true form to the computer world. I've heard (even tried to help) a couple of mods wanting to bring it back. Personally, I'd think it would make a great turn based multiplayer game ... but I'm notably strange.

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Clamatius said...

Dungeon board game: probably the most popular is Talisman.

For a horror dungeon-type game, try Betrayal at House on the Hill. It's cute. Neither are "serious" games a la Manhattan, these are definitely beer-and-pretzel games.

Full disclosure: my wife won an award for her work on Betrayal.

Josh said...

Talisman ... yup that was one of the main ones. Damn, that's a blast from the past.

Betrayal sounds interesting, especially the well, traitor. The DOOM boardgame using one player as a murderous GM is definately one of it's better mechanics.

Clamatius said...

Another decent boardgame using the "traitor" mechanic is Shadows over Camelot, which you should also check out. Like Betrayal, it's nearly-but-not-quite cooperative.

For a full cooperative board game, Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings is excellent stuff and is, I suspect, behind the recent trend of cooperative board games.