1: Better

1: Better

What is the one thing that tabletop games do better than any other form of entertainment?

 

They bring people together with wine and beer but without any risk of discussing politics, religion or personal matters.

Bruno Faidutti

Tabletop games are a great way to socialize with others, while still giving people something to focus on. Whether you’re meeting brand new people or playing with your family, tabletop games give everyone a set of rules to follow and let you interact in a personal way, unlike movies and television. There’s such a variety of tabletop games that you can find one for every group and social situation.

Carla Kopp

Someone wrote: “You can know much more from someone, playing with him for an hour, than discussing with him for one year.” Games lead people to take off the mask they have in their current life. 

Bruno Cathala

They’re great at grabbing the attention of those around you i.e. people not involved in the game itself. At home this might be family members / visitors; at a Club or Con, this might be gamers who will either reminisce about their own experiences of the subject game or express interest in what it’s like and (hopefully) giving it a try sometime. In public places, you might attract the “Is it like Monopoly?” crowd and be able to demonstrate immense patience while explaining that it’s nothing like it then watch them glaze over and wander off more confused than before.

Tony Boydell

Games lead people to take off the mask they have in their current life. — Bruno Cathala

Tabletop games combine the social elements of face-to-face interactions, the tactile feel of manipulating physical components, and the mental rush of problem solving all into one package in an unprecedented way. Because they tap into our imagination, there’s no limit to what a tabletop game can do!

Seth Jaffee

So many forms of entertainment are passive enjoyment, but not tabletop games. They’re engaging in so many ways. Tabletop games let me connect with people face-to-face and enjoy a shared experience. I like that it doesn’t take electricity, has a physical existence that we interact with and, through all that, I can create stronger relationships with other people. For me and my husband, it’s definitely brought us closer together and down a path I would never have guessed we’d go – game design. Creating that which we play with is a whole other level of entertainment!

Sarah Reed

Tabletop games can be enjoyed solo, in competition or cooperation, with family, friends, or complete strangers, in complete silence or shouting, standing up, sitting down, and even in the dark. —Núria Casellas

Tabletop games are special because they are played with minimal and simple physical components. This means the barrier to entry can be very low for diverse groups of people to have a meaningful shared experience of play. It also means the game system is not hidden from the players and this foregrounds the special alchemy of how a simple ruleset can generate social fun.

Phil Walker-Harding

On the one hand, in other ways of entertainment such as books, movies, theatre or concerts, the subject is just reading/watching/listening to a story, hence he is a passive character. The subject is not directly involved. On the other hand, the subject becomes the main character in tabletop games. As he interprets a role in the game, he creates a story. The subject is part of the story. He is the story.

Eloi Pujadas

Tabletop games are exposed engineering: they don’t just let us see their nuts and bolts, they let us touch them; rearrange them. Change them. Tabletop games are never simply ‘received’, and unlike other forms of entertainment they cannot be passively consumed. They demand that we interact with them, even before the game begins. In this sense, we are not merely entertained, we are empowered.

Brett J. Gilbert

Tabletop games offer a greater variety of forms of interaction; not only social interaction between the players but also the interaction with the media itself. They can be enjoyed solo, in competition or cooperation, with family, friends, or complete strangers, in complete silence or shouting, standing up, sitting down, and even in the dark. This favours reusability: we can re-watch movies, re-read books, or re-play videogames but I don’t think it can compare to tabletop re-playability. Also, although role-playing games and videogames are interactive, board games can be so varied in their execution (mechanics, components, themes) that there is no limit to what they can explore.

Núria Casellas

Just one‽

There are so many tactile sensations that can only be experienced in the format of playing with real physical objects. Although, that can also be enjoyed with toys.

Secondly, an opportunity to make real meaningful connections with people. But this also applies to conversation.

We can strategise. Make decisions and see their ramifications. But videogames also do this.

Stories in boardgames often force us to use our imagination and creativity. But RPGS and books also do this.

So maybe there is actually nothing that boardgames do ‘best’. It’s just the cumulative total of what they can be.

Bez Shahriari

Playing a tabletop game is engaging my brain as I have to think, my body as I can touch the object, and my feelings, both during the game and sometimes even following me afterwards. — Doria Roustan

Interactivity has to be a strong contender as that single most important quality. While there are other interactive forms of entertainment, tabletop games have an added power in that they bring you face-to-face with your adversaries (or collaborators). The near endless possibilities in meta-games or emergent play that arise from a certain look, a raised eyebrow, a hastily concealed card… It’s how a game comes to life and it’s the reason why the same game can be such a different experience with different groups.

Andrew Sheerin

In addition to being federative, tabletop games allow to have a full experience of whatever concept, subject, mechanics or theme the game is about. Playing a tabletop game is engaging my brain as I have to think, my body as I can touch the object, and my feelings, both during the game and sometimes even following me afterwards. The beauty of it is also that even with very few rules, very simple mechanics and very little components it is possible to generate this full brain/body/feelings experience on any subject.

Doria Roustan

Connect humans with each other! Even when tabletop games incorporate apps or other electronics means, they still connect people on a real, tangible level. That’s something that other forms of entertainment cannot promise. Competitive or coop, tabletop is the winner in human interaction.

Adrienne Ezell

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