Board Gaming and MeJanuary 10, 2017 https://blog.arranfrance.com/post/board-gaming-and-me/ Playing and collecting board (and card) games is one of my favourite hobbies. For the vast majority of people, ‘board game’ is synonymous with Monopoly, Risk, and Cluedo but in 2012 my eyes were opened to a much more satisfying understanding of the term. My journey started when I asked Reddit for suggestions on how best to tackle introducing my girlfriend at the time, who wasn’t particularly socially confident, to my family.
Playing and collecting board (and card) games is one of my favourite hobbies. For the vast majority of people, ‘board game’ is synonymous with Monopoly, Risk, and Cluedo but in 2012 my eyes were opened to a much more satisfying understanding of the term.
My journey started when I asked Reddit for suggestions on how best to tackle introducing my girlfriend at the time, who wasn’t particularly socially confident, to my family. A number of responses suggested board games as an easy way to break the ice and forwarded me to /r/boardgames. There I discovered a host of games that went beyond the typical circus of family classics that are dusted off each Christmas and I became immediately hooked on the concept; investing the majority of my Christmas money on some of the recommended and popular games at the time.
It wasn’t until I stumbled across a Rock Paper Shotgun article on The Fantasy Flight game Descent that I realised the depth and breath of what board gaming had to offer. The article described a ongoing quest of heroes, across several lengthy sessions where both the heroes and the opposing villain and his minions were controlled by players. I immediately pitched the idea to my friends, who were mildly interested. The game had recently stopped being printed but I managed to secure a copy, and several of the expansions online. I was overwhelmingly impressed with the scale, the monsters were large and frightening, the maps were made up of interlocking tiles, the campaigns had multiple possible bad guys, there was any number of possible quests, you could upgrade gear and abilities - the game had depth and replayability and unlike any video game I got to play with people across the table from me.
My love affair with board games hit a winter period following the conclusion of school, and with it my Descent campaign, as friends moved away and life grew busy with other things but this wasn’t to be the end of my love affair with my favourite cardboard pastime. I played a game of Forbidden Island with my friend Dan Hawksley and he quickly became a fan of the art amassing a large collection and connecting with a number of local players. Board games became a staple in his household and during the remainder of my time in Corby I massively enjoyed playing with him and his family.
Moving to university, my schedule again became dictated by other priorities leaving little time for board games but during my breaks from term and visits the Hawksley family would always play a game or two with me keeping my interest in the hobby. Until a combination of recent events this Summer spurred a personal renaissance. After spending much of the exam period reminiscing about my time playing TCGs I got a chance to play Star Wars: The Card Game, a fun two player card game - which prompted me to invest in the similarly styled Android: Netrunner. I also heard about Star Wars Imperial Assault a Descent-esque Rebels vs Imperial campaign. These two purchases have reignited my passion for the hobby and over the holiday season I purchased a few more to add to my collection. It’s been amazing sharing games with my university friends and in a subtle way they’ve helped me realised just how important those friendships are.