Here's a quick quiz:
a) What are the last three board games or card games that you played?
b) Was everyone playing over the age of 16?
If you're like most Australians your answers might be:
a) Monopoly, 500, and some game the kids had that you can't remember. Or maybe Chess, Scrabble and Cluedo.
b) No - aren't there better things for a group of adults to do?
Now the two questions are not as disconnected as they might seem.... all of the games 'you' answered in (a) are more than 50 years old! In fact the youngest of the five is Cluedo from 1949.
Like everything else in life, board games have developed a lot over the last fifty years.Although some of us may be familiar with music and films made before 1950, for most of us the vast majority of our viewing and listening time is spent with more recent material. For various reasons this has not held true for board games, where many of us are caught in a time warp.
Two more questions:
c) Did you know that the “Hollywood” for modern board games is Germany, where family gaming is very popular and there are "Oscars" of boardgaming are awarded with big fanfare and called the Spiel des Jahres?
d) Have you heard of two or more of these blockbuster games: Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Alhambra, Dixit, Bohnanza, Pandemic, Zooloretto or Dominion?
If you answered "yes", you can pat yourself on the back, but you're probably already feeling good because you've enjoyed many wonderful hours with family and friends playing some of these games.
If you answered "no", don't feel bad, you are certainly in the unlucky majority. Unlucky!? What does that mean? Well what these modern games share in common is that they:
- are easy to learn and play,
- generally last less than an hour,
- almost never reduce anyone to tears or provoke a family fight!
- generally favour strategy over chance,
- encourage social interaction with friends and family,
- give everyone the chance to work towards a positive goal rather than just aiming to wipe out the opposition,
- offer a lot of variety each time you replay them.
Where these games differ is in nearly everything else! Some are based on team-work like Pandemic, some on trading like Bohnanza, some on puzzle-like tile laying like Carcassonne. Some are about buildings zoos (Zooloretto) or railroads (Ticket to Ride) or developing an Island (Settlers of Catan). Although many of the games are designed in Europe, they are all available in English.
Boardgames Australia is a group of people who all stumbled onto this treasure-trove of fun, and want more Australians to be able to pass the quiz on this page! Each year we shortlist and award the best games from the world and from Australia - with an eye for the sort of game that an average Aussie family (who may not have done too well in our quiz) can enjoy after dinner, or at the holiday house, or whenever a group of friends gets together.