The world marches on under stay-at-home orders in most states, which means that connections are largely happening in a digital format. The technology is incredible and serves to link gamers together for some online play when necessary. But for all the miracles of modern science, a few things lack when games aren’t able to be experienced in person. Here are a few things we’re really missing as it relates to board games…
Preparing a new game
In this digital-first world we live in, few pleasures are as sensory and satisfying as plucking pieces out of cardboard from a freshly minted game—especially if there are dozens if not hundreds of them to be punched out. This makes for a great icebreaker when bringing different groups of friends together for game nights, introducing such topics as: “Have you ever played this game before? What does this piece do? How many paper cuts have you accumulated?” Fast friends aren’t far behind.
Snacks and drinks
Since the dawn of the game night, participants have split duties between those who supply the games and those who bring the accoutrements. In today’s climate, each player is responsible for providing their own. On the one hand, no more fighting over the dip or needing to phone ahead to determine who likes what type of beer and who’s gluten-free. On the other, that’s a lot of effort and money to put into something that would prove far more efficient when shared. Plus, how can you create a distraction by spilling all over the pieces? Must you be relegated to soiling merely your own lap?
Everybody has a tell. For some, it’s a furrowing of the brow or wiping sweat from the palms. For others it’s standing on a table erupting in applause. Whatever the case, most tells are subtle, and successfully being able to read those tells can make the difference between a swift defeat or a slow, steady victory. Because most tells happen in the blink of an eye, it’s nearly impossible to notice them over Zoom—especially when folks change their background or sit just offscreen for a moment. Tells are truly unique to individuals, which means that without the ability to monitor them how can you be sure your opponent on the other end of the call hasn’t been replaced by some sweet augmented reality tech?
It may seem small, but the thwack of hand against hand can make for a satisfying end to a game or validation of an incredible turn you just pulled off. It provides a nice button ending—the kind of place where you might insert a freeze frame should this gaming session turn into a movie (and it should). The giving of a high-five serves as the universal symbol for good sportsmanship, too, and demonstrating that level of kindness means making gaming partners for life.
Other people’s pets
Zoom bombs don’t do that little puppy justice. Who’s a good boy? WHO’S A GOOD BOY!?!