Board Gaming Through The Decades

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In a few weeks, we will be fully into the 2020s decade—no more can we claim that the decade is just beginning. As depressing as it may seem, time marches on, and at this point something as recent as the 1970s was 50 years ago. Yikes! 50 years before that, we hadn’t fully hit the Great Depression yet. It’s all quite mind-blowing and begs for some reflection on just how far we have come. What have the last five decades been like (or could have been…) for gaming? Let’s take a look…

The 1970s

Sitting for a board game becomes a hazardous affair, as bell bottom jeans and long, dusty hippie ponchos threaten to cause falls or, worse, a variety of pungent and curious odors. Platform shoes, made from real platforms, exacerbate the trend. In the background, a young Michael Jackson belts tunes over the radio, causing goosebumps and an aggressive level of shuffling cards when pondering what might be in his future. Board games all end after 5 minutes when the “kind bud” proves not so kind.

The 1980s

Neon abounds! Players are unable to actually see the game boards, for their pupils have been seared by what appears to be the color of a radioactive, rotting lemon. Instructions are impossible to convey when everyone is on their Walkmans (Walkmen?) pushin’ it real good. A gaggle of slap bracelets escapes from the zoo, injuring 700.

The 1990s

The Beanie Baby economy is in full swing, allowing players to exchange stuffed toys for bootleg copies of Life and Yahtzee (now with dice!). Board gamers who lose receive a bit of TLC as they are consoled by their Furbies and Tamagotchis with the promises of world domination once we get this whole Y2K thing sorted out. No one’s in a gaming mood, though, because Alf is no longer on the air. He was quite the space gamer, we hear.

The 2000s

Y2K turns out to be an even bigger deal than imagined, and at midnight on January 1, 2000, the world wide web collapses entirely, shrouding the United States in darkness. Chaos reigns for nine-and-a-half years, making board gaming a dangerous proposition when the alternatives are things like collecting clean water and giving up to filter your own urine into clean water. Death Cab for Cutie serenades us in our sadness. A few years after its release, Settlers of Catan becomes popular in the US just in time for the building of the war machines.

The 2010s

After a decade of darkness, the new decade brings an unrelenting amount of light as the sun expands to six times its original size, expediting global warming to a time period of a few hours. The ice caps disintegrate into the oceans and the rising sea levels threaten to take Los Angeles and a New York-owned garbage barge for themselves. Board games become entirely mental thought experiments, as the corrugated cardboard has already been melted down and refashioned into protein bars, now with lack of protein!

The 2020s

At long last, science triumphs over adversity and the state of the world is restored in March 2020. Masses of board game starved people line up for in-person slugfests and open breathing/coughing environments. Truly, we have reached the age of board game enlightenment and there’s little anyone—or anything—can do to stop us.

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