Board Game Year in Review – 2021

So much has changed for board gamers in 2021, you’ll have to forgive our sentimentality as we approach the end of the year. The return to normalcy has officially begun, and we couldn’t be more excited about the following promising signs that board games are back in all their glory. Here are three things giving us energy as we prepare to ring in 2022:

1. A Theme Reemerged

In March 2020, jokes were made that now would be a fantastic time to kick off a round of Pandemic (the board game)—with the joke being that, clearly, it was far too soon for such a thing. Well, time has passed, and for much of 2021 we lived in a world where COVID vaccines were in high supply and precautionary measures were now second nature. Though the pandemic is far from over, there existed a sense that one chapter had closed and another was beginning. Copies of Pandemic were dusted off and busted back out—heck, any game involving infectious diseases or epidemiologists once again felt like a legitimate option. The pandemic might be the new normal, but board games continue to offer a respite from the real world by allowing players to conquer it.

2. Competition Raged

Board games offer every level of competitive fervor. Some players prefer to engage in cooperative games while others opt for opportunities to decimate and humiliate other gamers (all in the name of good fun, right? Right?!). But having done so much gaming remotely, that spirit of competition had somewhat diminished. It’s tough to get your game face on when there’s a lag on your Zoom screen and your camera keeps going out. Turns out, staring into the eyes of your opponent as you decimate their dreams is just as satisfying as it has always been, made all the sweeter by its scarcity these days. Welcome back to your nightmares…

3. Wrist Muscles Bulged

One of the concessions we make in gaming remotely is abandoning the chance that it will be tactile in any way. This deficit extends to all game pieces, including standard ones like dice or Meeples—our digital computer overlords in 2021 not only automated game pieces moving around the board, but the act of dice rolling had been all but abandoned, replaced by random number generators. It has been clear from even the first real-life dice roll that our wrist muscles have sorely missed the shaking and flinging motions we’ve grown to love so much. Continue pumping that plastic!

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