Month: March 2015

Settlers of Catan Review or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Board Games

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Okay, maybe not love. Love is a strong word. I don’t think my relationship with board games is at that level yet. But I guess I can say we like each other. Three weeks into this course and I have bought a proper board game, so we are growing on each other.

But to continue with the main story: I walked into my first class of Digital Game Cultures, pulled up the subject outline and saw that the first week said board games. I panicked, knowing that I am not a board gamer, and wondering how the hell this can be classed as “digital”.

Then Chris trundles into the room with a cart full of board games. I panic more, as I scan the cart and see no signs of Monopoly, Scrabble, or Pictionary. My knowledge of board games from here on in is nil. I am going to have to learn how to play a board game, and try not to bomb out. Most board games are about strategy and tactics. I am about as tactical as a walrus chewing loudly and talking during a movie. Wait, is that tactics, or tact? I can’t remember. Probably both.

So I let someone else pick. Ended up playing a game called Settlers of Catan. Midway through the game I realised the placement of my initial settlements was terrible. And I ended up losing. Quite spectacularly. But, I actually had fun. I had a conversation with people I had never spoken to before and wouldn’t have spoken to if we weren’t playing a board game (remember, I am a tactless walrus). We even talked about things that weren’t related to the game! This started by someone replying “Nope, they’re forever, like chlamydia” when I asked if I could move my settlement once I had placed it. This sparked an educational talk on which STI’s are treatable, and which ones actually are forever. I am sure we all came out of this conversation feeling educated and hopeful about the future.

I am at the end of this post, and realised that this is not really a review of Settlers of Catan, but more a review of how I felt playing a “proper” board game for the first time. It was fun. In fact, a board game and I had another meeting, two weeks later. And now I have invited one to my house.

So far, it is going well.