Board Games as Social Lubricant

About 15 years ago, when board games entered a renaissance, I was excited about the social possibilities of board games. It would be fun to go out and meet new people while doing a thing I love. I imagined really finding my people.

As much fun as I’ve had playing games, the social promise has never fulfilled its potential. I play board games mostly with my family. So am I a misanthropic outcast? Are board games a bad way to hang out with new people?

They can be. It depends on the kind of game being played. For instance, I’ve played Cards Against Humanity many times with people I don’t know, and have had a blast. I’ve also had a good time with lighter games like Avalon.

A heavier game is a different animal. A longer playtime is a bigger commitment. More involved activity is better with an already established group of people for me. It also helps if they already know the game because learning a new game can be slow painful work.

So are board games a good social activity? Yes, depending on the whether the game fits the situation.


Author: seanspangler

I am co-creator of the board game Sol: Last Days of a Star. I will talk about board games, design, and other stuff I enjoy. I'm always on the lookout for artists, app developers, and other designers. If that is you, say hi!

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