Board Games vs. Video Games

There has been a growing debate on how board games match up to video games.  Both types of gaming have their advantages and disadvantages.  This article is a discussion of the role of board games and video games and ultimately, which one is better.  Though it would be cool for me to disclose my preference, I think that my decision could sway yours and thus, you should make the decision on your own.

First, let’s talk about video games.

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Video games have their significance in our world today.  From the stylistic attributes to “Let’s play” videos to the plot to the improvement in graphics as time goes by, video games are great!  Let me point out that video games have specific genres like RPG’s (role-playing games), FPS’s (first person shooters), MOBA’s (multiplayer online battle arena), and party games.  Each individual video game is different from another (unless it is the series Call of Duty games).  Each video game also has its own goal for the player to achieve.  For example, I would argue that World of Warcraft’s goal is to reach level 100 using the concept of the society of the server that the player is on, but Tetris’s goal is to destroy little blocks as more little blocks come rushing down faster and faster until the blocks stack up and the player smashes his/her face into the screen.  Especially with next gen consoles like the Xbox One, the PS4, the Wii U, and the ever improving PC, video games are bound to transcend their boundaries by the month as better graphics and processors come out all the time.  Also, with the expansion of online gaming, video games have become more interactive than before.  The diversity of different types of video games are endless and at this point in time, there is no possible way to play all of them.  The downsides to video games are that the developers have to overcome obstacles.  For the developers, certain things must be scratched all the time due to programming errors.  The developer’s original idea is likely to be mostly scratched and replaced.  Another downside is that mobile games are more often played than other games.  Most mobile games use programs like GameMaker to make games with little stylistic appeal, but somehow a unique intent (I’m looking at you, Flappy Bird).  If you do like simple games, however, that’s fine because the beauty of video games is that it is all about the preference of the gamer.

Now, let’s talk about board games.


Magic: the Gathering

Let’s go back to where I said that technology poses a problem to the video game developers.  If they can’t communicate their idea perfectly to the other developers, the idea gets scratched.  Recently, a lot of mobile games have come into the picture with not much content, but even here the designer could scratch off ideas if the other developers do not like it.  Board games have the greatness of having the final product usually the same as the initial idea.  With board games and card games, the accessibility is so wide that when you buy a board game, what you take home is the original concept.  If you walk into a game/hobby shop and look at some board games (not Monopoly or Scrabble, but real hardcore nerd stuff like Dungeons and Dragons), you will see that all of the games are original and have a following of its own.  Sometimes the goal of a board game is for all people to work together to defeat a giant boss and other times the goal is to defeat your opponent using strategic combinations to your advantage.  The problem with board games found in a hobby shop is that no one buys these games.  A huge success for the average board game would be something a little two dozen thousand copies.  What this tells us is that the designer is not just doing it for the money, but rather for the passion.  A lot of board games today start with small ideas and become a moderate success today because the designer actually cares about the content – they playtest the game many times and they have fun doing so.  My personal favorite board game/tabletop game is Magic: the Gathering, the first of the genre of games known as CCGs (collectible card games) or TCGs (trading card games) that came out in 1993.  It is a card game based of strategy in which two players battle it out assuming the role of a planeswalker, a powerful wizard with the goal of defeating the opponent through powerful spells.  My favorite part of this game is the amount of creativity that was put into it.  The artwork on the cards is amazing, the lore behind the game is awesome, and the actual gameplay itself is quite fun.  Board games are the option if you want to really see the original intent of designers and you want to stray away from video games for a more traditional style of gaming.

Overall, both gaming formats are great.  It really comes down to what your preference is at the moment – do you want to play a intense, digital video game or would you rather settle for a more hands on board game.  Whichever you choose, you will know if you made the right decision.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @MohitPuvvala

Categories: Games

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