On Why I’ll Never Have a Favourite Board Game
On Why I’ll Never Have a Favourite Board Game
By Antoinette Mason
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Hello folks and welcome to board game inquisition where we are fanatical about everything board games! Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Antoinette, the high inquisitor around here. I’ve been playing board games for a number of years but have gotten more seriously into the hobby over the past few. Mostly, I play games with my husband, and when we can manage it bigger groups.
As far as individuals go I’d like to think I’m a pretty open person. I’m the girl who asks ‘what’s that? Teach me!’ instead of leaving the unknown to be mysterious. Through this method I decoded the RPG speak of always go left, bring a ten-foot pole and never split the party. I mired myself into Warhammer Fantasy, 40k, Warmachine and Hordes, Mordenheim and Blood bowl. I drowned myself in Magic the Gathering (so proud of my trip to the Pro Tour), Legend of the Five Rings, dot Hack the CCG and the unforgettable tiny ships and dice in Pirates of the Spanish Maine. The idea is I throw myself into all sorts of things, some of them last and some of them don’t. And while I’d love to believe of myself that I’m very committed to the endeavours I take (sometimes this is actually the case) I think I’m at my happiest when I can hop between the things I love and not wear myself out on them too quickly.
While I was willing to try anything in gaming as a whole I was increasingly discerning when it came to board games. For whatever reason, I developed a snobbery of games. I felt some were beneath me (apologies to Munchkin and Fluxx in all its formats), others were too plain and complex to ever be considered as fun and some I downright hated from birth (that honour goes to Splendor). Staying with games my group liked and I enjoyed may have given me games to play but they never really got me excited about the hobby. So Ticket to Ride and Dominion stayed firmly behind the other activities.
As you grow some hobbies wax and others wane, I moved on from the heady world of collectable card games and large-scale war games. My husband’s birthday came around last year and he talked about getting some new board games, being more in the loop than I. Suddenly talk of being radio operators in a submarine and running a fast food company seemed incredible. I started looking online… watching all the shutupandsitdown reviews over a few days and wondering why The Dice Tower had so many videos. A boardgamegeek account was created, I made a wish list and I started trading. We had friends over to play as often as we could while running out of shelf space. I fully expected to burn out on games, I told myself it wouldn’t last.
When last we met I talked about collections and how they are intimately related to their collector. Without me, my games have a different meaning. Board games are entirely unique, each one says something different to every collector or player. Collections are a direct reflection of our choices and ourselves. Meaning that those games we jibe with the best or connect with become favourites. Pulling those game down is like meeting an old best friend.
This works well for others more dedicated or focused than myself but I think I love things so strongly I burn them out. Some people do better with less, I require more options. For me, a fickle (no I hate that word, I just thrive on variety) gamer the notion of having a favourite game appals me. Why would I single out one game above the others when they all can offer different experiences? By allowing myself to not have a favourite game suddenly everything could be a favourite of sorts. I don’t have to ally myself with a single box and then have it lose its status in a week or two, rather all games are stars at different times and places.
Once I opened myself to everything that board games had to offer I had more fun. Suddenly I found myself enjoying heavy euro games and small filler games I would never have looked at. I didn’t have to feel guilty about the lesser played games, I knew I’d get back to them. This broader approach to games, and probably life itself, has changed my play times and how I understand myself. I’ve never looked back nor been more excited about gaming.
My collection reflects me in all my moods, shades, on and off days. I don’t have to force myself into something I’m not in the mood to play. It soothes me, elates me and inspires me that there will always be something that suits ME to play. That’s what a collection should be all about, your carefully curated gang of smile-inducing boxes. I’ll play five games of Viceroy then ignore it for months. Or hop from Gloomhaven to Azul to Millennium Blades to Jaipur… and all the way back again. Revel in the myriad of possibilities your games provide.
So when something or someone asks me what my favourite game is I don’t have an answer. Not because I don’t know which one to save from a burning fire, but because I’d simply have to save them all.