It’s All About That Connection
I originally intended to write and continue on some of my thoughts on board games and the concept of luxury. However, over the past week I have been thinking about several different topics. One in particular I have been thinking about is the concept of connection and how we as people connect with each other.
One of the main goals of B.A. Games is to build community. One of the most important things to have in a community is to have connections between everyone in that community. The more connections you have, the stronger and the better your community is.
I believe that the tabletop community is an amazingly strong community. This isn’t to say there isn’t problems and that things don’t need improvements, but overall, there is a lot to commend and there is more than just the love of board games that tie us together.
I bring this all up due to a recent experience I had. I traveled this week to Virginia for work. One of the things I like to do when I travel and have the time is to find the Friendly Local Game Store and make contact with my fellow gamers. I always enjoy the experience of meeting my fellow gamers, and if possible, getting in a game or two of our shared tabletop love.
So, I pulled up my trusty Maps App and typed in ‘board games’ to see what popped up. I found several near me and away I went exploring. As I went exploring there was a game/comic store that had a small section near the entry way for people to leave business cards. I always enjoy supporting local businesses when I can. As I was looking, I saw a business card with a very handsome meeple on it. Lo and behold it was a business card for a local podcast called “The Dapper Meeple”. (more of their links at the bottom)
Always being on the lookout for content creators and media opportunities I immediately grabbed the card to look at when I got back to the hotel. I immediately start going to the links to see what is happening on their podcast and if there might be an opportunity to set something up in the future. I was not in Virginia very long, but due to technology this didn’t matter.
I send off an email expressing an interest to talk to them and to meet and see if there is a way to talk and if they would like B.A. Games to be a guest on their podcast. I was surprised that within the hour I ended up with a reply back. “Hey, if you are in town, you should give us a call. We can chat.” I call back and I am immediately invited over for the next day to record a podcast, and to just hang out and play some games.
Needless to say, it was a great experience. I met Jim and Josh, two brothers who are doing a podcast because they love gaming and just enjoy being a part of the community and want to be more involved in that community. After the podcast we played Dice Throne (a very enjoyable asymmetric dice game) and just had a general good time as we hung out, chatted and formed connections over common interests.
I also want to make sure I give a shout out to their mom. A super awesome lady, a kind lady, and who introduced me to the term “Meeple Mom.”
One of the things I want to mention, and probably the most enjoyable part of this experience, is that I created two new friends, and this was mainly due to our shared love of what gaming brings to us, shared experiences, and interaction with our fellow gamers.
So, what is the point of all this? Why am I telling this story? What does this have to do with connections and gaming outside of connections between people is good?
I bring this up for two reasons, but before I list them and expound on them, a little bit about what I mean about connections and games. Humans, in general, feel things first and then apply reason. This is just part of the human condition. When interacting with the game and each other during a game there is the potential for a wide variety and depth of emotions. It is one of the reasons we play games, to feel those emotions. These emotions are our connections.
As we connect and create connections during games, we can learn a lot about ourselves and each other forming bonds through these connections. As a player, the best moments I have experienced in gaming have been from these connections. As a game designer I am creating a game that creates those connections or create the opportunities for those connections to be made.
First, if people would look for and concentrate on our shared connections the world would be a better place and we would all have a little more understanding towards each other, even when we have differences of opinion. Plus, more games would definitely get played and I am always a fan of that.
Second, when designing a game be intentional with the connections you are creating. As you design you are creating connections in the overall design, game layout, player interactions, mechanics and components. It’s an important to keep in mind of how all these things are coming to together and what kind of connections they are creating.
The above are all tools that a designer can use to create these connections in their game. Instead of going into all of my thoughts on how each of these apply and what they can do, I am going to leave you with a few questions that I think designers should be asking themselves.
- What kind of connections are you trying to create as players interact with each other and with the game?
- What do you want players to feel when they see your game?
- How should players feel when they unpack and set up your game for the first time? Second time? 100th time?
- Do the connections that are created fit into the theme of your game?
- Are the type of components and the player’s interactions with the components creating the connections you want?
- As the game is played, is the layout creating the connection you are looking for?
- Are mechanics creating connections between players? Are they the right connections? Do those connections add to the overall game?
There are a lot more questions that could be asked but, in the end, the point is to make sure the game you design creates the connections or feelings that you intended and adds to the overall experience.
Ed “Duke of BAzlandia”