While youth centers, libraries and even some churches are implementing video games as a way to entice youngsters into their folds, some groups are taking a different gaming tact: board games. Robert Fix, the director of board games for Metro Detroit Gamers, is trying to stir up interest amongst Detroit's youth by offering board game nights at local libraries. But, can actual human interaction on a board compete with the rich, in depth worlds a video game can offer?
"They may look at it and go 'Phhht, I get more out of a video,' " Fix said. "But board games can always change; video games like Halo or Guitar Hero always have the same result. ...We're not saying there's anything wrong with video games. They can be fun, but there are some great board games out there."
Interestingly, I had a similar experience with a board game gone virtual recently. I had grabbed Carcassone when it was free on XBLA a while back and while I was staying with a friend, I got him to play with me on occasion. We wanted to include some other friends who weren't apt to pick up a game controller, so I went to the local board game store (who coincidentally refuses to carry any video game related items like Eye of Judgment cards) and picked up a boxed copy the game. I brought it back to the house and the hold it had on the various roomates was astonishing. Everyone in the house became instantly addicted and i found myself much preferring sitting down at the table and playing than using the XBLA version. It was a much more engrossing experience and I found my strategy was much sharper when faced with flesh and blood opponents.
While I'm not prepared to make the bold statement that board games are greater than video games, they certainly have their charm and for a truly social gaming experience, they can't be beat. Sitting around a table with friends and the tactile nature of the game with its tiles is an something you just don't get with video games. And on a side note, if you ever want to really hate your friends, get The Tower expansion pack. Friendship to bitter enemies in thirty minutes guaranteed.
New games come aboard [Detroit Free Press]