When people talk of boardgames, the things that would come to their mind would be the common staples such as Monopoly or the Game of Life. Many fail to realize that boardgames tend to encompass a broader genre than these and offer a lot of styles and variants that can cater to every possible gamer in the world.
Boardgames are designed to be played over long periods of time and often requires huge space for players to gather into and sling it all out between one another. Weekends are usually the best time for these things, as this is the time when players take a break from the week’s torture at work and the time where they can unwind and enjoy with their friends. Here are a few things that an aspiring game master should note when in such a position to entertain his friends or family through boardgames:
• Setup is important – just consult the rulebook of every boardgame and you will find that their first among the things to do is to always perform the game’s setup. Arranging the game board and its pieces is always important to facilitating a smoother gameplay later on. Make the pieces easily accessible to players, and lay all the card decks out. This also gives players the time to prepare themselves for the incoming game, such as turning off their business phone or getting snacks for the hours ahead, for instance.
• Explain the rules simply – condensing a 10- or 20-page rulebook might sound like a mouthful of information especially when talking to beginners, but try your best to highlight the important features of the game such as the objective to winning and how that can be achieved. Note the phases that the players undertake in the game, if any, and give a bird’s eye view of every feature that they can utilize in the game. It’s not important for players to grasp everything at the start, as they can pick up these little things as they play the game.
• Allow for player interactions within the game – most boardgames offer negotiations between players or cooperative play discussion. Allow an environment where every player can freely voice out his or her ideas to others or to discuss deals and negotiations with other players in the table. This not only builds camaraderie for cooperative games, but also enhances player communications with one another and even helps build friendship for people who do not know one another.
• Supervise and arbitrate – when things start getting too complicated and require ruling consultations, be that person to iron out the kinks and straighten the game back up. Many a game has been disrupted by poor rule handling and ends with the players having a gap in the enjoyment; a point that they never really fully understood within the game. Make sure you have mastery of the rules for your players that whatever happens, you are prepared to set things right and let the game move on once again.
Running boardgames is an experience unlike any other. It gives game masters that feel of imparting his own geeky knowledge to his players and facilitates a dynamic and engaging gaming environment for his players. Try it; it’s awesome!