In my first post, I touched on the idea that what board games are these days is pretty far removed from what the cultural idea of board games is. I mentioned board games without boards, which… like, is that even a board game, at that point? I mean, the word “board” is literally in the term “board game”. At that point, we’re just talking about “games”, surely?
And, yeah, kinda. There are three main factors in play: first, there’s a lot of crossover between people who like board games, tabletop RPGs, wargames, card games etc, so although we’re a “board game” group, we actually get lots of different people wanting to play lots of different things. Secondly, an increasing number of these sorts of games fall under multiple of those categories (or none at all!); there is really clear dividing lines between RPGs, and wargames, and board games, etc etc etc. Finally, a lot of those individual terms are themselves pretty distant from what pops into people’s heads when they here them… Something like Aye, Dark Overlord! is technically a card game (in that it’s a game played with cards), but it feels far more like a fast and loose RPG than anything like the box of cards that it physically is, while X-Com is a board game and card game and world-wide miniatures wargame, all at the same time.
I can’t do much to change the language. What I can do is help show just how wide the gulf between the word and the meaning is. To that end, lets look at some fun, genre-defying “board games” that stretch the term far beyond breaking point. Let’s see how far board games have come.