My impression is that the average Mormon plays more board games than does the average non-Mormon. I suspect that, just as we use ice cream as a substitute for alcohol, we use board games as a substitute for drinking games.
One of my favorites is Settlers of Catan. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. You might want to read more about it, or if you have a lot of faith in me, just skip right to buying it. But the simplest way to get introduced to Settlers is probably to just ask around among your Mormon friends. I suspect you will find that some of them already play it.
Why is Settlers so much fun? One reason is that the game board changes from one play to the next. Another reason is that the game rewards different strategies. For example, in Cities and Knights, you can win by building up to metropolises or by building out to get lots of settlements and the longest road.
The game also mixes skill and luck nicely. I don’t tend to enjoy games where the outcome is mostly a function of luck. I want to feel at least somewhat in control. But on the other hand, I also don’t like games where the outcome is mostly or entirely a function of skill. Chess is a perfect example. When I get beaten at chess, I have nobody to blame but myself–no dice or cards random board setups. When playing Settlers, though, I feel enough in control to enjoy the game, but there’s also enough luck involved that when I lose, I don’t have to attribute it (properly) to my failure to strategize correctly. I can delude myself and think that I played as well as could be expected, given that the dice refused to come up with my numbers.
Finally, I like Settlers because it moves slowly enough that it leaves plenty of time to chat. And what are most board games, after all, if not an excuse to enjoy the company of people we like?
So does anyone else play Settlers? Or do you have other games to recommend?
- 26 August 2006