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 Board Games – A Great Hobby!

One of my all-time favorite hobbies – board games is a great, real-life, sociable hobby to have in this age of digital domination.

I was born in the 70’s, way before the internet or games consoles were a ‘thing’ and many of my childhood memories are of times spent with family and friends playing board games. Noteably “Cluedo”, “Connect 4”, “Scrabble” and “Mouse Trap” are games I recall playing, and when I was slightly older “Trivial Pursuit” was often dragged out on special occasions.

One of the reasons I like board games is that it is a hobby that offers a wide range of experiences and opportunities for social interaction. Board games can be played with family and friends, or even in organized groups or events with fellow enthusiasts.

Many people find enjoyment in exploring different board game genres, themes, and mechanics, and collecting a variety of games to build their own personal collection.

Board games can also provide intellectual stimulation and strategic challenges. They often require critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and decision-making, which can be satisfying for those who enjoy engaging their minds in such activities.

Additionally, some board games incorporate storytelling elements or thematic immersion, adding an extra layer of enjoyment for players who appreciate narrative-driven experiences. Arguably “Hero Quest” falls into this category.

The board gaming community is quite vibrant, with numerous online forums, social media groups, conventions, and local game stores dedicated to board gaming. Engaging with this community can further enhance the hobby by providing opportunities for discussions, sharing recommendations, attending events, and even participating in design and development aspects of board games.

Board games can be a rewarding and fulfilling hobby that offers entertainment, socialization, intellectual stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment.

Popular Board Games

Identifying the most popular boards games is difficult to determine definitively, as popularity can vary across different regions and time periods. However, one board game that consistently ranks among the most popular and widely played is “Chess.”

Others board games worth mentioning and due to the popularity they have gained in recent years include:

Each of these board games has gained widespread recognition and a devoted fan base, making them contenders for the title of the most popular board game in certain contexts or among specific demographics.

 Is Board Gaming A Cheap Hobby?

Board games can be a hobby with a wide range of costs, so whether they are considered cheap or expensive depends on the individual’s preferences and budget. A cheaper alternative to board games is card games.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Game Selection: Board games come in various price ranges. Some games are relatively inexpensive, especially those with simple components and mechanics. On the other hand, some board games, particularly larger, complex, or deluxe editions, can be quite expensive.
  • Expansions and Add-ons: Many board games have expansions or add-ons that can enhance gameplay or provide new content. While these expansions can extend the life of a game, they often come at an additional cost.
  • Frequency of Purchases: Some board game enthusiasts buy new games frequently, while others are content with a smaller collection and play their games repeatedly. The frequency of purchasing new games can significantly impact the overall cost of the hobby.
  • Social Aspect: Board gaming can be a social activity, and the cost of participating in board game gatherings or events might be a consideration for some people.
  • Longevity and Reusability: The value of a board game also depends on how often it is played. A board game that gets many plays over time can provide excellent value for its cost.
  • Online and Digital Options: Some board games have digital versions or apps that may be more affordable than their physical counterparts or even free to play.

Board gaming can be as cheap or as expensive as your preferences and budget allow. It is possible to enjoy the hobby on a budget by choosing less expensive games, taking advantage of sales or discounts, and building a collection over time.

Many board game enthusiasts find that the enjoyment and social interaction provided by the hobby justify the cost.

What is the Board Game Chess?

I recall there being “after school Chess Clubs” (back in the 80’s…I didn’t go…I was more of a Draughts man) but Chess has been played for centuries and has global popularity.

It is a strategic game of skill and intellect (probably why I didn’t sign up for after school Chess Club), played on a square board with 64 squares of alternating colors. The objective is to “trap” (checkmate) your opponent’s king, putting it in a position where it cannot escape capture.

Chess is highly regarded for its deep strategic elements, requiring players to plan ahead, anticipate their opponent’s moves, and make calculated decisions. It has a rich competitive scene with tournaments and championships held worldwide, including the prestigious World Chess Championship.

Chess Has Become Popular Again…

Chess has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity for several reasons:

  • Increased Accessibility: The advent of technology and the internet has made chess more accessible than ever. Online platforms and mobile apps offer opportunities to play against opponents from around the world, learn from tutorials and lessons, and analyze games. This accessibility has attracted new players and provided existing players with convenient ways to engage with the game.
  • Streaming and Esports: The rise of streaming platforms, such as Twitch, has brought chess into the mainstream. Prominent chess players and streamers, like Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura and International Master Levy Rozman (GothamChess), have garnered large followings and broadcast their games and analysis to a wide audience. This exposure has sparked interest and engagement among viewers, leading to increased popularity and interest in the game.
  • Chess Influencers and Celebrities: High-profile individuals, including celebrities and influencers, have embraced chess and showcased their interest in the game on social media. This has created a ripple effect, with their followers becoming more curious about chess and getting involved in learning and playing the game.
  • Popularity in Education: Chess has gained recognition for its educational benefits. It promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, concentration, and strategic planning skills. Many schools and educational programs have incorporated chess into their curriculum, further fueling its popularity and fostering a new generation of chess players.
  • Engaging Online Content: The chess community has embraced the digital realm with a plethora of engaging content, including tutorials, analysis videos, puzzles, and interactive lessons. Online platforms provide avenues for players to improve their skills and connect with like-minded individuals, fostering a sense of community and continuous learning.
  • Success of Online Chess Platforms: Online chess platforms, such as Chess.com and lichess.org, have gained significant popularity. These platforms offer a range of features, including competitive gameplay, skill-based matchmaking, puzzles, and tournaments, attracting players of all levels and keeping them engaged.
  • Influential Events and Personalities: High-profile chess events, such as the World Chess Championship and the Grand Chess Tour, have garnered attention and generated excitement within the chess community. The charismatic and talented players who compete in these events, such as Magnus Carlsen, have become icons and ambassadors for the game, drawing in more interest and followers.
  • Chess Featured in ‘Stranger Things’: In first season of the popular Netflix series, the character Lucas Sinclair is seen playing a game of chess with his friend Mike Wheeler in several episodes. The scenes involving chess help establish the characters’ personalities and provide a nostalgic touch, as the show is set in the 1980s when chess was a popular board game.

The convergence of the above factors has contributed to the resurgence of chess, making it more accessible, engaging, and appealing to a broader audience.

The game’s rich history, complexity, and blend of creativity and strategic thinking continue to captivate players, both seasoned and new.

What Is The Board Game Monopoly?

The aim of the board game Monopoly is to become the wealthiest player by acquiring and managing properties, collecting rent from opponents, and making strategic decisions throughout the game.

In Monopoly, players move around the game board by rolling dice, and their objective is to buy as many properties as possible. When a player lands on an unowned property, they have the option to purchase it. If they choose not to buy, the property is auctioned to the highest bidder. Once a player owns a property, they can build houses and hotels on it, increasing the rent value that other players must pay when they land on those properties.

The game revolves around the concept of rent and financial transactions. Whenever a player lands on a property owned by another player, they must pay rent, which is determined by the property’s value and the number of buildings on it. As players accumulate properties and build houses and hotels, their potential for generating rental income increases.

The game also includes various events and elements that can impact gameplay, such as Chance and Community Chest cards, which provide opportunities for rewards or penalties. Additionally, players can engage in trading with each other, form alliances, and negotiate deals to acquire properties they need or secure favorable outcomes.

Monopoly continues until all but one player is bankrupted, with the remaining player declared the winner. Bankruptcy occurs when a player cannot afford to pay their debts or expenses, such as rent or taxes. The game emphasizes the accumulation of wealth and strategic decision-making, as players must carefully manage their finances, investments, and property development to outlast their opponents.

Monopoly is played worldwide and has gained immense popularity since its creation in the early 20th century.

The game has been translated into numerous languages and has versions tailored to different countries and regions, featuring local landmarks, currency, and cultural references.

The board game Monopoly has been widely distributed and is available in most countries, making it one of the most recognizable and widely played board games globally.

The game’s universal appeal lies in its combination of luck and strategy, as players buy and trade properties, build houses and hotels, and aim to bankrupt opponents.

Monopoly has become a household name and is enjoyed by players of various ages, from casual gamers to dedicated enthusiasts.

It has also been adapted into digital versions, mobile apps, and online platforms, allowing players to enjoy the game across different mediums and connect with opponents from around the world.

While the core gameplay of Monopoly remains consistent, local adaptations and variations of the game have been developed to suit regional preferences and cultural contexts. These versions often reflect the unique characteristics and nuances of different countries, adding a sense of familiarity and relevance to players in those specific regions.

Overall, Monopoly’s global popularity and enduring legacy have cemented its status as one of the most iconic and widely played board games worldwide.

What Is The Board Game Catan?

“Catan,” also known as “The Settlers of Catan,” is a popular board game designed by Klaus Teuber. It was first published in 1995 and has since become a classic in the world of modern board gaming.

Catan is a fictional (invented/not real) island where you and the other players take on the roles of settlers. The game board is composed of hexagonal tiles that represent different types of terrain, such as fields, forests, mountains, hills, and pastures. Each terrain produces a specific resource: grain, lumber, ore, brick, or wool.

The objective of the game is to be the first player to reach a set number of victory points, typically 10. Victory points can be earned in various ways, including building settlements and cities, having the longest road, and acquiring special development cards.

At the beginning of the game, players place their initial settlements and roads on the board. On each of your turns, you roll two dice to determine which “terrain hexes” hold resources. You can trade resources with other players or with the bank, strategically managing your resources to expand your settlements, build roads, and upgrade to cities. Additionally, you can acquire development cards that provide special abilities and victory point opportunities.

One of the key features of the Catan board game is its emphasis on negotiation and trade between players. Since players often require resources that they may not have, they engage in trading to mutual advantage. This social interaction aspect adds depth and excitement to the game.

Catan is known for its blend of strategy, resource management, and player interaction. It is suitable for players of various ages and skill levels, making it a popular choice for both casual and dedicated board gamers. The game’s success has led to numerous expansions, variations, and even digital adaptations that have further expanded the Catan universe.

What Is The Board Game Ticket To Ride?

“Ticket to Ride” is a popular board game created by Alan R. Moon. It was first published in 2004 and has since become widely recognized and played by board game enthusiasts around the world.

In Ticket to Ride, players take on the roles of aspiring railway tycoons in the early 20th century. The objective of the game is to connect different cities on the game board by building train routes and completing specific destination tickets.

The game board represents a map of a particular region or country, such as the United States, Europe, or Asia. The board is divided into various cities, and each city is connected by colored routes of varying lengths. Players collect colored train cards, which correspond to the different colored routes on the board.

At the beginning of the game, players are dealt destination ticket cards that indicate specific routes they need to connect. These routes typically involve connecting two cities with a continuous railway line. Players must strategically plan their routes and decide which destination tickets to keep and attempt to complete, as incomplete tickets will incur penalty points at the end of the game.

On each turn, players have the option to either draw train cards from a face-up pool or from the deck, or to claim a route by playing the required train cards of the corresponding color and quantity. By claiming routes, players build their network of railways and work towards completing their destination tickets.

The board game Ticket to Ride is known for its accessible rules, engaging gameplay, and a balance between strategy and luck. It combines elements of set collection, route building, and resource management.

The game encourages players to make strategic decisions regarding which routes to claim, when to block opponents, and how to optimize their train card collection.

Due to its popularity, Ticket to Ride has expanded to include numerous standalone versions set in different regions of the world, as well as expansion packs that introduce new gameplay elements, maps, and cards.

There are also digital versions of the game available for various platforms, allowing players to enjoy the game online or against computer opponents.

What Is The Board Game Pandemic?

“Pandemic” is a co-operative board game designed by Matt Leacock which was first published in 2008 and has gained widespread acclaim for its unique gameplay and theme centered around fighting against the outbreak of diseases.

I wonder how Matt Leacock and fans of the board game Pandemic felt, and dealt with, Covid and the lockdown..? (I checked and there is no public information or evidence to suggest that he was directly consulted or involved in any official capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

In the board game Pandemic, players work together as a team of specialists from various fields, such as scientist, researcher, medic, and dispatcher, with the common goal of preventing the spread of deadly diseases across the globe. The game is set on a world map divided into cities, and players must travel between cities to treat and cure diseases while also managing outbreaks.

The objective of Pandemic is to discover cures for all four diseases before they overwhelm the world. Players face several challenges, including limited time, limited resources, and the constant spread of diseases. Each turn, players can take various actions such as moving between cities, treating diseases, sharing knowledge, building research stations, and finding cures.

The diseases in the board game Pandemic are represented by differently colored cubes, and they spread and intensify throughout the game. Outbreaks occur when a city becomes overloaded with disease cubes, causing it to spread to neighboring cities and potentially creating a chain reaction of outbreaks. Players must work together to prevent outbreaks and manage the diseases effectively.

Pandemic is known for its cooperative gameplay, where players must communicate, strategize, and make collective decisions to overcome the challenges. Each player has a unique role with special abilities, which encourages teamwork and specialization.

The game offers multiple difficulty levels and various roles and expansions, allowing for replayability and customization. It has also inspired several standalone spin-offs and sequels, such as Pandemic Legacy, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, and Pandemic: Iberia, which introduce new settings, mechanics, and storylines while maintaining the cooperative gameplay at the core.

Pandemic has received critical acclaim for its immersive theme, strategic depth, and cooperative gameplay experience. It has become a staple in the board gaming community and is often recommended for players who enjoy collaborative challenges and a thrilling race against the spread of diseases.

Matt Leacock has designed several other cooperative games, including “Forbidden Island” (2010), “Forbidden Desert” (2013), and “Forbidden Sky” (2018). These games often feature a race against time, teamwork, and puzzle-solving elements, where players must work together to achieve a shared objective while overcoming various challenges.

What Is The Board Game Scrabble?

I had difficult learning to spell, attending additional classes after school, and spent hours and hours being helped by my Mum, who cleverly introduced me to Scrabble (thanks Mum…look at me now…a Graphic Designer, Content Writer and Blogger!)

“Scrabble” is a classic word game designed by Alfred Mosher Butts and first published in 1948. It is a game of strategy and vocabulary in which players compete to form words on a crossword-style game board using letter tiles.

In Scrabble, the game board consists of a grid of squares, each assigned a specific point value. Players take turns placing letter tiles on the board to form words, connecting them to existing words and utilizing the available premium squares to earn higher scores. Each letter tile has a corresponding point value, and the score of a word is determined by adding up the points of the letters used, taking into account any premium squares.

Players start the game with a rack of letter tiles, which they replenish after each turn. The objective is to score the highest number of points by strategically placing tiles to maximize scores and creating words that intersect with existing words on the board.

One of the key aspects of Scrabble is the use of the official Scrabble dictionary, which provides the valid words that can be formed. This adds a challenge as players must not only come up with words but also ensure that they are recognized and accepted by the dictionary.

Scrabble is a game that tests vocabulary, spelling, and strategic thinking. It rewards players who can use high-value letters, make use of premium squares effectively, and find opportunities to create longer words or words with valuable letter combinations.

The game has been immensely popular worldwide, and there are international Scrabble tournaments and competitions held at various levels. It has also inspired adaptations and digital versions, allowing players to enjoy the game online or against computer opponents.

Scrabble is considered a classic and enduring board game that continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages who appreciate the challenge of wordplay and competitive word-building.

Thank You Alfred Mosher Butts…

Alfred Mosher Butts is the man I, and millions of other people, and grateful for as he was the inventor of the game Scrabble. I wonder if he ever thought that his board game would stand the test of time and help people like me learn to spell and improve my vocabulary.

Alfred Mosher Butts was an American architect and the inventor the board game Scrabble. He was born on April 13, 1899, in Poughkeepsie, New York, and passed away on April 4, 1993.

Butts developed Scrabble during the Great Depression in the 1930s as a means to provide intellectual and entertainment value during difficult times. He combined elements of crossword puzzles and anagrams to create the game’s unique word-building mechanic.

Initially called “Lexiko” and later renamed “Criss-Cross Words,” the game went through various iterations before Butts sold the manufacturing rights to James Brunot in 1948.

Brunot, along with his wife, refined the game and eventually trademarked it as “Scrabble.” The game gained popularity over time and became a worldwide phenomenon.

Butts continued to be involved with Scrabble, offering guidance and advice on various aspects of the game. He remained dedicated to the design and mechanics of Scrabble throughout his life and was recognized for his contribution to the world of board gaming.

Alfred Mosher Butts’ creation, Scrabble, has endured as one of the most beloved and widely played word games worldwide, captivating players of all ages and promoting vocabulary skills and strategic thinking.