Just from reading the title, I bet you have conjured up the imagine of a sweaty nerd, sitting at his desktop with a freshly popped Mountain Dew and a bag of Doritos. Well, joke’s on you, I got a chocolate milk and bag of Sørlandschips staring at me from behind the screen so I’m at least 65% less sweaty. Regardless of my cardinal sins of mixing chocolate milk and chips with my palette, I am here to explore, showcase and perhaps even convince you that there is a vast, wonderful world out there filled with board games that go beyond the scope of Monopoly, Catan and Ludo. Especially now that it’s too cold to be outside and it’s socially acceptable to be inside 95% of the time. Much like video games, board games have broken out of their niche appeal of being predominantly for the grandest of grand nerds, with board/card games like Card Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Secret Hitler and more, they’ve proven that they have a place in the mainstream.  

However, with such a broad and vast catalogue, where do you start? And more importantly, how sweaty do you want to be? And even more importantly, how susceptible are your friends to being lured into what could possibly be a 3-hour experience, where everyone feels too exhausted to continue, but persists as to not let the past 180 minutes go to waste? Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll have the answers to these questions, and maybe we may have a new board game addict among us, ready to wreak havoc on Outland or forcing your group of friends to play obscene board games with you. 

 

Step 1: What Games Do You Like? 

When looking for board games it’s easier to filter out and decide where to start based on what you like. Do you want a social deduction game like Secret Hitler? Do you want a dice game, where the gameplay mainly revolves around the combination of physics and cursed white squares? Do you want to build the ultimate card deck to crush your opponents’ hopes and dreams? Do you want to experience the epic highs and lows of a story-driven adventure? A good way to figure this out, and just in general, go to YouTube and watch videoes of some of the most-talked about board games within the community (Terraforming Mars, Wingspan, Root, Carcassonne, Mansion of Madness, 7 Wonders etc.) Taking a gander in a store and looking for board games that has an art style that appeals to you is also a perfectly appropriate way to determine if this may be something for you. But before you pull out your credit card and do the final tap of doom, let’s head to step 2. 

 

Step 2: Do Your Research! 

Take it from a veteran who’s just bought whatever seems even slightly appealing, do some form of research before deciding on a purchase. Board games are a costly affair, they can range from 400kr all the way up to 2500kr (yes, I have spent that on a single board game, no I do not want to talk about it). Some board games may seem obscenely good from their production value (art, components, dices etc.), but as soon as you lift the lid, you realize that the budget went to the marketing and the box and not towards playtesting and the actual “fun” factor of the board game. So, before you even consider violating your credit card, sleuth around on the internet, watch reviews, see what kind of game it is and potentially what it excels at and where it falls flat. A fantastic website for this is BoardGameGeek, where you can read other people’s reviews (people on the internet are usually bashfully honest) and it even rates how complex a board game’s mechanics and gameplay is.  

Also, do check the different pricing! It can vary greatly depending on the website. I often use Prisjakt.no to gauge the prize on board games. Outland may have most of the popular ones, but in my experience, they’re also the most expensive. Gamezone on the other hand is usually more reasonable, and their headquarters are in Kristiansand meaning that when you order online, it doesn’t take forever to get here. Proshop I’ve had a god experience with, and if you want something more exclusive that they haven’t gotten to Norway yet, Zatu Games works too (UK based)! 

Step 3: Learning the Board Game 

You might be used to the easy life of Monopoly that has an instructional booklet with a maximum of 5 pages. Well, for some of the more advanced board games, you might be looking at the entire chronicles of Narnia, cause these booklets can be T H I C C. One of the largest I’ve seen thus far is 30 pages. And we all got enough studying to (not) do at university, so it might not be too tempting sitting at home and reading for hours, almost taking notes. I learned this the hard way, instead, look up YouTube tutorials. It’s much easier to get the grasp of the basics when someone explains and shows it, and then consult the booklet when you encounter specific problems during your first play session. 

And make sure you do this before you play it for the first time with your friends. If you’ve already been able to lure a susceptible and gullible group of friends to join you in this tantalizing activity, make sure not to waste their time, or you guys try to learn the game together. It’s quicker and more fun if one person already knows the basics or at least, knows where to find the answer in the booklet.  

Step 4: Luring in the Friends 

You don’t have friends? Make some. On a more serious note, board games aren’t for everyone. You might have friends who aren’t too into it, then you might have to find some on Facebook groups, Discord servers or maybe meet a group at Outland. But, if you’re like me and have some nerds in close proximity, they can be an easy target. Make sure to be upfront about what you want to play, if your group isn’t prepared for a 3-hour board game session, then it will drag on and some won’t feel too inclined to participate during the session and definitely won’t be lured again.  

Try to make more out of the night as well! We usually start by cooking and eating dinner together while talking about whatever. Place the board game that you’ve planned for the evening on the table so they can have a look, peek inside the box or flip through its booklet. Board games are even better with some snacks and soda, make this day your cheat day. Even alcohol can be quite fun, just avoid getting hammered, it would be a travesty for one little spillage to ruin an entire game worth about 1500kr.  

Step ???: Protect your Babies 

I am a sinner in this category. A good investment for the longevity of your board games is to sleeve the cards. This means stuffing them into protective plastic that ensures your cards won’t get worn out. Personally, I haven’t felt the need to do so yet, but I do think it’s a great investment if you have one specific game you play a lot and love. 

Step 5: The Intoxication Starts  

Once you start loving board games you never go back. But take it from a recovering addict, make sure that before you buy a new board game, that you know it will make it to the table. If you have a group that despises social deduction games, maybe not buy the new one that just dropped to raving reviews that you think looks cool. Or don’t buy 5 new board games in a month, and only play 2 while the rest gathers dust in the corner. It’s like you’re hit with a little rush of dopamine when you receive a new one, but make sure to combat the urge with rationale, otherwise you’ll end up with an empty bank account and a crippled wallet.  

Step 6: Have Fun! 

There’s nothing more to this step, welcome to the wonderful world of board games and I hope I haven’t (completely) ruined your life. If you’re a bit unsure still on what to start with, here are a few of the board games in my collection that I absolutely adore! 

Everdell  

Flamecraft 

Smallworld  

Stardew Vallet: The Board Game 

Bloodborne: The Board Game 

Betrayal at House on the Hill 

Blood on the Clocktower 

Forfatter

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