Multiplayer solitaire. Two words that more often than not are used these days to condemn a game, as if automatically making it somehow worse than any a design that will have players at each other’s throats in a matter of minutes – or at least make players fight tooth and nail for scarce resources or territories.
Last week I talked about harsh games: games like Spyrium or our own Praetor that will require experience, forethought, and an ability to screw with ones neighbour. Today, I’d like to talk about a very different type of games – and about the type of player that loves them. A player I like to call a Boardgaming Hobbit.
Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace a quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
I myself am an omnivorous gamer: I do like my dungeon crawling, my adventure gaming, my war games, and my games of building, developing, expanding – and rarely brushing elbows with my opponents. In my case, it often depends on the surroundings: during the long winter nights I love to wage war or tell epic tales of exploration and combat, and on hot summer days, I often become a Boardgaming Hobbit myself.
It is during those days I will more happily sit down to a game like Shipyard, Glen More or even Caverna: games that will have me interact with other players, but never in a truly destructive way, never to take away something that belongs to them or destroy what they had been building. I will gladly play our own Progress: Evolution of Technology without the mini expansions, or Versailles, which allows to build and profit of other players’ actions – but never makes you take things that belong to them.
So, what I’m saying here is that there’s nothing wrong with playing aggressive, in-your-face games – but there is also nothing wrong with being a Boardgaming Hobbit. And if you are one, either only sometimes (like me), or most of the time – don’t worry. Maybe it’s a little bit out of fashion these days, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. And most certainly, NSKN has got your back.