Games · Social Hobbies

The Dos And Don’ts Of Playing Board Games (Or How To Know When You’ve Gone Off The Deep End)

The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for aspiring board game hobbyists. All items have been assessed through trial and error. Ignore at your own caution.

Do play games with your partner.

Now that we have a shared hobby, Adam and I actually spend our evenings in each other’s company, rather than watching Netflix/football in separate rooms of the house. It’s also ok to embrace the full glory of your new obsession because at least you still have each other. In fact as I write this, Adam is lying in bed, drinking a beer, and watching YouTube videos of other people playing Star Realms. (I still somehow find this man attractive.)

This is Star Realms. Truth? I just like all the pretty colors.
Don’t play competitive games with your partner.

Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Battle was a TON of fun. And while it definitely created it’s share of arguments (due to to someone having a Type A personality and someone else taking too long to play his hand!) the collaborative game play was a revelation for our relationship. The same cannot be said for competitive games where each player is supposed to win at all costs. (I’m just going to leave it there for now. You’ll be filled in later.)

I also don’t recommend getting mad at your partner because you decided you didn’t need to read the directions. It has now been pointed out to be that this is not, in fact, his fault.

Do include friends.

After a few rounds, we managed to figure out the best strategy for winning as a 2-player team pretty quickly. (It consists of misreading/not understanding the directions for half the cards until you get to game 7…and then continuing to ignore the real rules so you can win.) Once we beat the Harry Potter game though, we decided to bring in a few friends and it’s seriously an entirely different game with four characters in play. So much so that when it’s just the two of us at home, Adam and I now play as two characters each. (No really. If you’d walked into our house 3 nights ago you would have found two fully grown adults playing a board game based on the dramas of being a teenage wizard, each acting as two separate characters.)

Even more important, we’ve seen a lot more of our friends since we coerced them into becoming board game fanatics as well. Plus scheduling time to hang out as four busy adults somehow seems like less of an obstacle when you have an activity to look forward to.

Don’t include friends after Adam has beaten you 3 times in a row and you’re hangry.

You can’t expect me to be all nice and social after you look up winning strategies online and trounce me handily three times in a row. I am way too competitive for that and you know it! Also, I was hungry.

Do invest in your new hobby.

One of our new board game accomplices (some people might call them “friends”) mentioned to us that he’s concerned about how many games we’ve bought in a short period of time. In the last week, we’ve bought 2 or 3 and he and his wife have done the same. I don’t actually see anything wrong with this. It’s more than ok to have something you’re passionate about. In fact, we’ve spent 3 of the last 5 evenings playing games with these friends and it cost us less than going out for dinner or to see a movie. Even if we don’t pick up the game for another 5 years, we’ve already gotten our money’s worth out of it and it won’t cost us any extra when we decide to play again.

Don’t buy from large chain retailers.

Not because they’re bad but because shopping local is so important. Totally personal preference – yes – but I love our local hobby/gaming place and would hate to see them disappear. I especially love the sweet old man behind the counter who was super friendly and helpful even though he admitted to knowing nothing about board games. (Seemed more like a model trains kind of guy.) His talents would be wasted at a Target or a Barnes & Noble.

Do get excited.

This is fun! It’s supposed to be fun! Go have fun!

Don’t get so excited that you make spaceship noises every time you lay down a card.

Yeah. This happened. As you can probably guess from the title, Star Realms is a Sci-Fi themed card game. This has caused Adam to get super into the backstory and he now makes spaceship noises whenever he plays a card. This will cause everyone in the room to stare at you in silence. (Also don’t keep doing this expressly because it embarrasses your girlfriend, ADAM.)

This is a Blob Ship card from Star Realms. Every time one is played, I now have to listen to Adam say, “BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHB! Pew pew.”
Do take a break once in awhile.

You can totally have too much of a good thing. It’s ok to not want to play every night.

Don’t quit.

Just don’t let those games collect dust for too long.

12 thoughts on “The Dos And Don’ts Of Playing Board Games (Or How To Know When You’ve Gone Off The Deep End)

  1. Really cute post. As someone who plays MOBAs with my friend, I can totally vouch for your second point. That stuff can ruin relationships.


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