Shreyas Saboo / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: Board games are a great use of money and time

Tabletop games are an excellent pastime, but college students often overlook them. The stereotypical view of tabletop and board games is that they are either extremely nerdy or generally boring. In reality, they are so much more.

While there are many classic board games like Monopoly or Sorry, there are some you may not have heard of, like Sheriff of Nottingham –a Robin Hood themed game where players bluff their way past the others to get the most coins – or Exploding Kittens, in which players try to be the last one standing by throwing their friends under various metaphorical buses. 

Board game lovers have benefited greatly from crowdfunding websites, because now people get to support the creation of games that they are really interested in. As of 2017, two of the top 10 most funded projects on Kickstarter were tabletop games. 

This has resulted in board game designers getting to publish games they are passionate about and that people genuinely want to play. Board games can cover a full range of play times and difficulty levels: From challenging and immersive to light and easy, lasting only 15 minutes. The sheer variety of games out there means that you’re almost certain to find at least one you like.

In comparison to other evening activities, tabletop gaming – though it may have more of an upfront cost – is cheaper in the long run. For example, Pandemic is a cooperative game where players save the world from diseases. The game sells for $40 on the developer’s website. According to a crowd-sourced cost of living site, movie tickets for two in Columbia can cost $22 for one and a half hours of entertainment. 

So, if a person gets 4 friends together to play Pandemic for 45 minutes two or three times, they’ve gotten a better deal. And by buying Pandemic, they can decide to go try and save the world whenever they please and it’ll be a little bit different every time, whereas if they buy the movie or watch it in the theater multiple times, they see the same thing over and over. 

Tabletop gaming also allows students to connect better with friends on campus. College students have to juggle homework, classes and clubs, but board games are a way to take a break from everyday life, and work with – or against – one another to do something more achievable.

A tabletop game generally has set rules that give each player a fair chance, and someone wins. When playing a tabletop game with people, the players get to learn more about one another. They get to have a discussion over a problem that they are all facing, and the competition of it is exhilarating. 

When people finish a movie or go out to a bar, there is no achievement to look back on, but when someone figures out the best way to lay tiles down in Azul, then there is something to be proud of. Even if they didn’t win, players have gotten to spend time with friends, and have funny stories or, better yet, inside jokes to look back on. Board games give players that chance to craft a story with their friends, instead of just watching someone else’s story. 

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