Saturday, March 18, 2006

They say Risk? You say .....?

You are talking with some non-gaming friends from work who have no clue what eurogames, grognards, or meeples are, and somehow the conversation shifts to talking about SABG and how you play boardgames once/twice a week... Very casually you try to explain to them what these games are about, that it's not just a "kid's thing", and tell them how good and different they are compared to your usual suspects (monopoly, battleship, etc). All of a sudden they ask "Oh you mean deep and strategic like Risk?"

My questions to you my fellow SABG'er:
1. How do you respond to that question without showing signs of hurting from the naive comparison? Is there really a different mainstream game to compare "our games" with?
2. How do you make them understand what this hobby is about? ... understand that these games are different (euro's in particular) and can be enjoyed by adults?

I'll post my own answers later tonight.

Disclaimer: I can force myself to enjoy some of the fancier Risk games, but I can't tolerate the dryness of vanilla Risk.


At 1:16 PM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

BTW, my intern just asked me about the website I was just looking at (Columbia Games's forum), and I had to explain to him what the games were about. He then asked "oh, like Risk then...."

At 4:25 PM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Chad said...

Almost all of my friends are gamers of some sort or geeks who are familiar with the various types of geekdom. Even the less-geeky among my friends are video game fans, so I make a comparison to a game they're familiar with ("Descent is like a board game version of Gauntlet" or something like that). That usually does the job.

As for people totally unaware of this sort of thing I compare it to Dungeons and Dragons. A good number of people seem to have at least a rudementary understanding of what D&D means so I go that route. It isn't the perfect response, but its close enough for me.

In all honesty, when it comes to talking to co-workers and the like about interests I just start talking about movies. Its a lot easier to explain liking "indie" and foreign movies than it is to explain rpgs and board games.

At 7:43 PM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Kendahl is the person I know who has had the most success with this at work. He's built himself a mini-game group out of his coworkers. They're downright viciously good too!

I've tried to get coworkers and other friends interested in board gaming, and usually they say they're just not into that kind of thing. Most now spend their freetime with World of Warcraft or ESPN.

To me there's three main groups of folks that might start playing board games:

1. The Lost Flock: Those that used to play games but for some reason set the hobby aside (career, family, other hobbies). This was me in the 90's. Probably the easiest group to suck back in, because they already understand how fun it is.

2. Gateway Gamers: Those that like similar hobbies (i.e., computer games, RPGs, history/sci-fi/fantasy books, etc.) or maybe have played lots of board games in the past.. maybe even games like Axis and Allies, Heroscape, Risk 2210.

3. You play what? With who? Those that have never played many games and have other interests. The toughest nut to crack. Surely some of these can be converted too...

At 1:52 AM, March 19, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I laughed when I read this entry, great anecdote. I'd personally be at a loss for words, which is specifically why I attempt to sidestep the subject with company I feel would be most perplexed. Usually I think about springing boardgaming on people way in advance and try to work in what I think appeals to their personality or way of thinking best. Always start really simple and work up. It isn't a hobby for everyone...

Thoughts of the TWO AND A HALF HOUR game of Fearsome Floors I played with my girlfriend's family chill and dissuade my highest hopes of total assimilation.

At 7:50 PM, March 19, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Well, for lack of a better example, I do end up using Risk as the comparison when talking about wargames or games like Conquest of the Empire and AGOT.

But to explain what euros are is a lot harder. There's no obvious mainstream game to compare them to. The conversation usually starts like "There are these designer euro games that are just different..." and ends with different degress of success. I definitively need a better way to describe them.

Of course, since the birth of "SABG" I haven't had the need to make any of my workmates a convert, but it would still be cool.

At 3:44 PM, March 20, 2006, Blogger Kendahl said...

I actually tricked all my co-workers into playing games. I started up a newspaper column and told them I needed help "playtesting" the games. They all obliged. One is hooked -- every time I talk to him he asks when we are going to play a game.

I think a lot of people have played Settlers and if they have, you can compare a lot of games to this -- "not like Monopoly, more like Settlers, but with more strategy and less luck" or something. I also use Risk occasionally, but I always include the caveat, "but it doesn't take as long." Most people won't play Risk because they are remembering hour-long marathons.


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