10 Things You Learn Playing Tabletop


Tabletop gaming has always been with us geeks. Whether you simply break out a worn old Monopoly set or dedicate your weekends to painting your miniatures, board games and tabletop gaming has been enjoyed by all. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t like board games. Like many others I’ve been caught up in the current burst of popularity in table top, and this is what I’ve learned.

#10 – Simplicity Can Make for a Better Game

There’s a game that has been climbing the sales charts (currently No. 3 on Amazon) called Qwirkle. The box contains a bag and a stack of tiles.

Qwirkle

That’s it. No board, no characters, no cards, no dice. And it’s fantastic. There are six shapes and six colours on the tiles (ie: an orange circle, a purple triangle). Players take turns placing tiles to complete rows of one colour or shape. Sounds like a kindergarten version of Scrabble, but the simplicity betrays the layers of strategy involved. It’s a very involving game and is an awesome way to kill and hour.

#9 – You Have to Learn Carcassonne and/or Settlers of Catan

settlers-of-catan

If you start hanging out with a group of table top players and joining in regular game days you will encounter at least one of these games. Whilst you try and grasp the rules you will slowly come to understand that everyone else has played these are on expert level. One of them may even have a Meeple tattooed on their finger (yes, I’m talking about you Dann) and you will be scared to play them.

Just remember that these games are popular for a reason. If you need to practise you can get them both on your tablet.

Carcassonne-meeple

#8 – You Have to Shop Around

Games are expensive. As much as you want to buy every single thing you see on TableTop (we’ll get to that show in a minute) you’re going to have to pick and choose, and collude with other gamers to make sure you don’t double up on the big box games. Living in Australia automatically adds about 40% to the price. Thank you everyone who put me onto ozgameshop.com.au who will not only keep things reasonably priced but not charge shipping. To put this in perspective – I just obtained Discworld: Ankh Morpork. Local stores mark it at $80, the online store did it for $50.

Yeah, shop around.

monopoly-money

#7 – Expansion Packs Don’t Always Help

Expansion packs are a big part of games. Whether you’re invested in MunchkinGame of Thrones, Elder SignCarcassonne or almost anything, there’s a bunch of expansion packs you can purchase to add to your game. There’s trouble to be had here…for one thing they can bury the basic concept of the game under dozens of new rules. The biggest risk is that they sometimes suck and can unbalance the game. The Narrow S-Cape expansion for Super Munchkin leaves players with dozens of card on their deck with no monsters able to pose a threat.

Munchkin-Expansions

#6 – Fantasy Flight Will Bury You With Pieces and Tokens

Odds are you will have a couple of Fantasy Flight games in your collection. I have The Game of ThronesElder Sign and Letters From Whitechapel, and given they hold the rights to other major franchises such as Star Wars they have plenty to offer.

BUT SO MANY PIECES.

Elder Sign

I’ve seen people buy tackle boxes to keep them all stored and sorted.

#5 – You Have a Love/Hate Relationship With Felicia Day

We all have a lot of respect for Felicia Day. Writing, directing, acting in and producing The Guild is a huge achievement and building a brand based on geekness has been great. It’s her channel, Geek and Sundry, that is partly responsible for the boom in table top gaming. The segment TableTop is awesome fun and introduces you to awesome games, and Day frequently features as a player.

Felicia Day Table Top

You know that person who, during the game, you just want to get on with the game? She’s one of those.

#4 – There are Games for EVERYTHING

Of course there’s a board game for The Game of Thrones. Did you know that there’s a game for Firefly? Ok, not that surprising. How about one for being a fireman? A member of the Centre for Disease Control? Race car driver? There’s thousands of games available and a huge range of topics covered. You’d be shocked at how much fun curing illness can be.

pandemic

#3 – How Nice a Game Looks Will Influence Your Purchase

When checking out a completely unfamiliar game the first move you make is looking at the picture on the back of the box. How does it look? Nice, detailed board? First impressions count. Let’s not kid ourselves…this is the total reason we all bought Takenoko.

Takenoko Panda

#2 – Losing Can Be the Most Fun

There’s a number of fantastic co-operative games on the market right now. In Pandemic the players have to work together to save the Earth from outbreaks of disease. It’s notorious for being very, very difficult to beat and you will have a great time losing to this damn piece of cardboard and plastic cubes. It’s a shared experience that you struggle through, have the chance to win only for a random event to turn to the tables.

Zombicide

Zombicide is the best example. It throws you right into a zombie movie and you will be making snap decisions to work with the other survivors or strike out on your own. Regardless of choice you will have as much fun losing this game as you will watching the fodder get wiped out in Dawn of the Dead.

#1 – It’s all Wil Wheaton’s Fault

Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton was the main character in Stand By Me. Then he was in Star Trek. Now he’s known to most of the mainstream for his cameo role in The Big Bang Theory. He’s also the host of the awesomely entertaining TableTop.

If you find your weekends being booked by gaming days, it’s Wil Wheaton’s fault. If you have no money because of your growing game collection, blame Wil. If you’re Amazon wishlist is nothing but different versions of Ticket to Ride then it’s entirely Wil Wheaton’s fault.

Now go and play more games.