What I love most about board games?

I’ve been a fan of playing board games for so many years now and I thought it might be an interesting time for a little reflection on what I love about the hobby.

At my core what I find the most attractive thing about playing games is fairness and in board games I find this is represented by balance. While not all board games I love have the perfect level of balance, my enjoyment from any game is highly influenced by how unfair or unbalanced the gameplay is. This holds true just as much for games that fall in my favour as those that fall against.

In practice this means that I’m pushed away from most trivia and knowledge based games towards those that have their own skill-set or skill sets derived primarily from playing games. This allows more players to start games on an even basis – it gives fairness to the playing field.

As an adult, this fairness draws on my own beliefs and opinions about the world and the inequalities that exist. It’s such a shame to me that we’re not all born equal. So many are born into such inequality that their highest potential is dwarfed by the privilege that so many others take for granted. There’s a lot more to say on this subject, but I’ll try to keep this post about board games.

However as a child, the roots of this passion for fairness simply comes from being the youngest of three competitive brothers. Being younger always meant I had less knowledge and skill and for the most part relied on the kindness of my siblings in order to effectively compete in any meaningful way. That was until I found board games.

Board games put everyone on the same footing at the beginning. Whether it was something as simple as Snakes & Ladders or Mousetrap, or much more complex like Chess, each game reset to the beginning and gave players a chance to start from the same place and as a youngling, I found this concept so compelling so much so that it has influenced many aspects of my life and continues to do so to this day.

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