Game People Calling: Board Gamers: The New Hardcore

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For me time does not equal hardcore.
Skill=Hardcore

BobisOnlyBob:
You'd be surprised what depth there is to them. Besides, even the most complex and abstract strategy game I know - Go - takes a mere five minutes to explain the rules, perhaps even less.

I wouldn't be surprised, because I'm pretty well familiar with board games. :P I'm not saying board games aren't deep, I'm saying that the far majority of the popular ones take only ten minutes of learning the rules before you can start playing. Go isn't entirely a good example of this, because even though the rules are simple, even basic strategy is pretty complicated.

Obviously there are hardcore communities for lots of boardgames. But that's a whole different thing from saying all (or even most) board gamers are hardcore, like the article does. Like all forms of entertainment, most people do them pretty casually.

I like to get serious at boardgames, so I love games with plenty of strategic depth. But I hate overly complex rules, because they're too cumbersome. My favorite games are Domaine and Citadels, both which can be played pretty hardcore, but have very simple core mechanics.

So basically I don't think we have a much different view on board games, I just didn't make myself clear enough. :P

Game People:
Game People Calling: Board Gamers: The New Hardcore

With videogames pandering to our gaming wants, board games offer a last taste of that old-school hardcore experience.

Read Full Article

Agreed, (console) Games for me are all too often watered down and too soft-core for my taste.

I like epic fantasy settings and for me that means fallout and dragon age are my main meals but for every great game with great internal mechanics (e.g. oblivion) there's 20 more whose are A.D.H.D.-inducing/hacky-slashy/slop-for-wits (fable 2, I'm looking squarely at you).

also story's and their worlds are better told in board game's
(look at "a game of thrones" by Fantasy flight Games, based on books by George R.R. Martin)

books also have better stories IMO
(again check out "A Game of Thrones", very highly recommended)

Ulminati:
Board games are a very, very broad term.

For coparsion, let's compare Ludo, Monopoly, Kalaha and so forth to "casual" games.

Many people are familiar with light and friendly board games like settlers, smallworld, carcassonne, frag, zombies, ave caesar, power grid, eufrat & tigris and the like. These typically take 10-15 minutes to explain to a new player, and a game can be played in an hour or two. Following the previous classification for "casual" board games, these are the wiiware/xbox live arcade games. Anyone can pick them up and enjoy them, even if they aren't (board) gamers per se.

After that, you have slightly more complex games. Things like Le Havre, Puerto Rico, History of the World, Arkham Horror, Space Hulk, Doom or Betrayal at the House on the Hill will easily take 3-4 hours to explain, set up and play for new gamers. These are your "console" board games. They have a fairly broad appeal, you can learn them with a little time investment, and they can keep you entertained for ages.

If you have the time to learn them, games like Twillight Imperium, Battlelore, Android, StarCraft (Yes, they made a board game of it), Battle for Armageddon, Through the Ages, Memoir '44, Junta (Viva el Presidente!), Titan (We once had a game stretch to 14 hours), Britannia or Shogun will easily take a full evening of your time. These are the board game equivalents of old-school PC games. You'll have to keep that poster-sized map handy, and the reference booklet as well as the manual.

But if you have a truly impressive beard and still remember wether your AdLib or SoundBlaster used IRQ 5 or 7, there are the Old-Schol "hardcore" boardgames. We're talking things ike Avalon Hills Advanced Squad Leader. Diplomacy. Empires in Arms (best played 2 weekends a month over the course of 9-10 months to finish one game). Gettysburg and many others. These are the games in which hundres upon hundreds of little cardboard tokens battle for supremacy on hex grids. Where rulebooks come in several volumes, and grognards thoughtfully consider the effects of encumberance when deciding their next move.

For what it's worth there once was a geek quiz with a series of questions that went along the lines of:
Have you ever played a board game? yes/no
Did it have hex spaces? yes/no
Did it have over 200 pieces? yes/no
Did it take over 2 hours to set up? yes/no
Did it take over 24 hours to actually play it? yes/no

The scary thing is that there was a company that specialized in these kind of games back in the early/mid 80's.

I don't really tink you can seperate or categorize gaming in terms hardcore and casual. Board games are seperated by Age groups and preference. and even then there are still exceptions. Older gamers (25-30) like myself play a wide variety of board games all the time. Casual games are for everyone and hardcore games are for everyone, presuming you like it and old enough to understand it.

Flying-Emu:
Interesting article.

Here's the thing about board games that instantly make them more "hardcore" (to use a term I despise) than almost any vidjamagame around: The time commitment required to even START most of these games is mind-boggling, especially to a person raised on the quick in-and-out of the modern game. 90% of video games, you turn on for the first time, and are right in the action (or strategy, or roleplaying, or whatever). For a lot of these board games, not only do you have to track down obscure manuals, codexes, pieces and parts, you also have to struggle to understand all of the material and bring it to a playable format in your own mind.

I'm not an avid board gamer, but I have played Settlers of Catan. I guess, once again, it comes down to what you consider to be "hardcore": Time commitment, I would assume is the above author's qualification.

Time commitment is certainly one element of being inducted into the "hardcore" class of gamers, but that's not the only thing I gather from this article. There are no more than twenty-four hours in a day, and both the ten year-olds playing Mario on the Wii can spend those twenty-four hours on a game as well as the board-gamers. But while those playing the Wii are stopped by their parents--and that can't be helped--board-gamers are hindered by physiological needs. The difference is that most of the people actually spend that time playing the game, while the board-gamers spend their time setting it up.

So it's about appeal, I think, and since not many people are particularly attracted to board games, and those that do are called "hardcore." It's just like the word "insanity;" it's just doing things differently than the majority of us.

My experience with boardgames is actually exactly that it is a small club. Throughout my life I have loved boardgames. As a small boy I loved them but I had no one to play with. My class mates didn't want to play them, my parents didn't want to play them. I could get my brother to play sometimes but to be honest for most of my childhood I had a craving that was never fulfilled.
This changed when I got out of my home town. I moved to a larger city (still minuscule one the world stage) and here I found like-minded people to indulge hobbies that were considered boring where I came from. Boardgames, role-playing and a bit of LARP'ing. It was glorious. So through my time I have played a fair amount of board games (and card games). Hmm I think it would be fun (for me) to list them of the top of my head:

Britannia, Maharajah, Age of Renaissance, Advanced Civilization, magic the gatering, Rage, Vampire The Eternal Struggle, Twilight Imperium, Diplomacy, World in Flames, Space Hulk, Mutant Chronicles, HeroQuest, Decent, Arkham Horror, Betrayal atHouse on the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, Talisman, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40k, Epic 40k, RoboRally, Last Night on Earth, Zombies, Blood Bowl, Necromunda, GorkaMorka, Samurai Swords, Kremlin, Junta, Axis and Allies, World of Warcraft the boardgame, Illuminati, Kings and things, Space Crusade, BattleFleet Gothic, Once upon a Time, Age of Gods, Race for the Galaxy, Munchkin (various versions), family business, Car Wars, Risk: Lord of the Rings, Frag, Sid Meier's Civilization: the boardgame, Supremacy, Chez Geek, Car Wars the Card Game, Puerto Rico, Agricula, The Settlers of Catan, Netrunner....

I suppose that is it... I think there are more but I can't come up with their names I suppose - or I blocked them out on account of how lousy they were. Thank god I moved to a bigger city.

Stackle:
Arkham Horror FTW.

Hell yeah! I just had my first experience with it last night (along with the Innsmouth expansion.) While I didn't fully grasp all the little things I could and should've done during the game it was still a lot of fun and I'm definitely looking forward to playing it again. There were so many little pieces, tokens, cards, and some beautiful gameboards; certainly worth the $60 price tag.

The game I've been wanting to buy/play for some time now is Tannhauser (also distributed by Fantasy Flight Games) as it looks like it'd be a fun one and all the bits you get in the box are pretty cool...plus, who doesn't wanna battle Nazis wielding found alien technology, robots, and Tesla-designed devices?!

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=28&enmi=Tannh%C3%A4user

Nice article.

Have to say my favorite board game is Axis and Allies, hard as hell to learn, a ton of rules, and hard to find people to play with, but when you get a game going its better then any video game out here.

I love board games :D
Only problem is that when your collective collection between friends get large it's a bitch to decide what to play, and some games gets left behind :U

Puerto Rico is the best game evar. I could play it forever but all of my friends are sick of it.

I'm sure fans of the Civilization series would have the patience.

I'm an avid board gamer. The 'casual' vs 'hardcore' debate is just as present (and useless in my opinion) in board games as video games (although there's a bigger divide on type of game(r): Euro vs Wargame vs Abstract vs etc.). There's different games for different people. Some require huge time commitments, others take 10 minutes to set-up and play.

I enjoy both video games and board games immensely and for different reasons. I don't care what I'm called or considered, I just enjoy playing.

Sure, some board games sell well, and it's players might be 'hardcore'. But one vital point is overlooked: board games and videogames both have 'games' in their name, but they are not the same kind of thing. There are a few characteristics that overlap (especially with games like d&d and classic western videogame rpgs), but there are way too many differences to be able to compare them like this.

Guitars sell well, and a lot of good guitar players could definitely be called hardcore, but does the use of the word 'hardcore' in both the music industry and the game industry enable us to compare these genres like this?

Great article. I like to play board and card games. I will agree with the opponents to a point: Board games are not hardcore, at least the basic version of the games. For example, Killer Bunnies Blue starter deck is not hardcore in itself. It takes a little bit of time to explain the rules, but it's simple enough that anyone can play. Even with the prepackaged yellow deck the game is quite simple. The game in question, along with many board and card games, start getting hardcore when you start adding expansions which adds new cards, peices and rules. Some games are simple even with the expansions (say like Gloom perhaps), while some are complicated, like the expansions to the game Munchkin. All in all, it's fun regardless how much time and money you invest in one game title.

Namewithheld:
Me and my friends have never finished a single game of Twilight Imperium. It is...so...fucking...LONG.

But I still enjoy it.

You think that's long, try Talisman.

Enigmers:
I'm a bit of a board gamer, though I've really only got three games, plus a set of WH40k miniatures I never use.

If you are looking to sell your WH set, let me know.

Talisman doesn't take more than two hours with non-mouth-breathing-wastes-of-skin and Diplomacy is best played online. Twilight Imperium also plays well if you're playing with people that know how to game.

Chipperz:
I painted all the pieces for the World of Warcraft board game, does that count? Still haven't got round to painting the figures from Burning Crusade yet, but fuck, that's a bastard to learn AND play - you have to remember all the rules, while questing so you can level up to do the final raid... While racing the other team! And the game gets more rules, addendums and caveats the higher up you go!

I like to think I'm a fairly smart guy, but my mind just shuts down trying to play the World of Warcraft boardgame...

Don't feel bad, this is both the beauty and the tragedy of Fantasy Flight board games. The rules are intricate in order to achieve the desired theme, but FFG also tends to make them opaque for some reason. That's sort of their hallmark: expensive games in big boxes with tons and tons of bits, dripping with theme and looking gorgeous, but kind of fiddly to play until you figure out the rules after a couple games of "oh, wait, we played that rule wrong".

Starcraft is from their line, and currently it is probably my favorite board game. While you can't really recreate the feeling of a twitchy RTS, it still captures the overall feel of the Starcraft universe well, and the game mechanics are superb. The only place it really falls down is that the rules for cloaking are kinda lame. But I don't think I have played a FFG board game I did not like: Marvel Heroes, Arkham Horror, TI3, Battlestar Galactica, Chaos in the Old World (a fantasy Warhammer game), War of the Ring, and so on.

For my part, I play all kinds of strategy board and card games, but I don't have the money to invest in tabletop minis games, and I don't have the patience to push around chits for 12 hours playing wargames. But I'll play just about anything, from the lighter fare like Ticket to Ride to the brain-burners like Race for the Galaxy or Power Grid, to the fun themed games like Cutthroat Caverns or Mwahahaha! ... seriously, the name of the game is Mwahahaha! You play mad scientists building doomsday devices, natch. Also a huge fan of the Dominion card game.

And anyone who likes the battle system of Memoir '44/BattleLore/Battle Cry, I invite to check out the now-out-of-print-and-hard-to-find Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit. It rather unceremoniously borrows the Command-and-Colors mechanic from these Memoir-style games, and it recreates the multi-pronged battle at the end of Episode 1. It is a MUCH better use of your two hours than watching the movie itself.

Aiding in my recent fascination with the boardgaming hobby is the fact that one of the largest boardgaming clubs on the planet is right here in Columbus, OH. Not everyone is so fortunate, but if you can track one down in your area, or consider starting your own, there are much worse things to do with a few hours a month than to sit down with some friends over a fun board game (and you can enjoy the elitist sensation of turning your nose up at the likes of Monopoly and Sorry).

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