Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Not So Bored Games

Over the Christmas period there were iPads and iPhones and crappy TV but we had most fun playing Scrabble and Monopoly. There has been a resurgence of interest in board games. Depending on your point of view, this is either due to a backlash against technology or simply just because they're fun, social and vaguely brain involving – the latter three I find myself not indulging in enough nowadays.

London's first board game cafe, Draughts, opened recently in Hackney, naturally (other recent themed cafes to the area include the Cereal Killer Cafe and Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium), claiming to house more than five hundred board games. Its website informs us there are board games cafes all over the world but none in London until Draughts. Even so, I've noticed a lot of pubs and cafes around the capital do have board games for punters. At a cafe in Vauxhall recently I noticed was half full of people huddled round a table playing a fantasy board game; the other half were playing draughts.

Like chocolate bars now coming in a thousand different varieties (when only one is really needed), so does the traditional board game now come in many various guises (and, of course, available on tablets and phones). Monopoly, especially, seems to have the, erm, monopoly in bizarrely themed editions. Aside from the mainstream Disney, Lord of the Rings and Batman editions, there is a Swindon Monopoly (yes, the town), a Bass Fishing Monopoly, a Sun Maid Monopoly (yes, the raisins), a Blackberry phone Monopoly, a QVC Monopoly (yes, the shopping channel) to name just a few.

Hipsters and other such folk are actually making quirky homemade board games. Indeed, two friends of mine have recently made their own: one, an Alton estate-themed Monopoly game (Altonopoly); the other, a self-proclaimed pointless and retro-feeling game called Meritocrazy (see image above, and here for more details).

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