Saturday, December 29, 2012

A dazzling world

As mentioned in the previous post, I started going to a board games meetup in Bangalore primarily to play Monopoly. I recall the first meeting I attended. I was early and I saw games on the table I'd never heard of. I recall seeing Cranium, Power Grid, Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples and Innovation, among others.

However, since a group decided on playing Monopoly Deal (a card game version), I joined in. And after that game, played a round of Scrabble. Since there was still time, I wandered around as a spectator watching ongoing games at other tables. The one that caught my eye was Ticket To Ride (abbr. TtR)

TtR has a large board and the game mechanics of set collection followed by network building while keeping the target routes a secret was quite fascinating. By the time the game finished, it was also late into the night but I remember thinking how awesome TtR was compared to Monopoly.

At that point, I didn't know it, but TtR was my gateway game. A gateway game is one that can be used to pique a person's interest in board games (beyond the most popular ones) and demonstrates at least one interesting game mechanic.

(More on my favourite gateway games in a future post)

In the next few meetings, I played TtR, Risk, Apples to Apples, Cranium, and was hooked. There was typically enough variety available in each meeting that you could play at least 2 different games every time and still not finish all available games in 2 months.

I wanted to have more games that I could take to the meetup, so I browsed online and real world stores. I soon realized that despite the deluge of imported products, the variety of board games available in India was fairly small. The following were the most commonly available games:

  • Chess & Checkers
  • Scrabble
  • Monopoly (plus variants)
  • Scotland Yard
  • Cluedo
  • Pictionary
The only way to increase my collection was to have a game shipped to someone coming from the US to India. Between July and November, I procured many games in this manner and was fortunate enough to find people accommodating enough to carry 1-2 games each.

My current collection of games is listed here.

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