5.03.2007

I'm Board.

I've shared my love for Catan -- recently released board-game-turned-videogame on Live Arcade -- with a few people now, and an important misunderstanding has been brought to my attention. Apparently, board games are okay...at parties; videogames are newly acceptable to many; but board games ON an XBox? Super. Badass. Dorky.

So here is a post for all the video-board-game skeptics. Oh, you laugh at me, but I laugh first, because playing a fantastic board game like Catan on a console is revolutionary. Here's why:

1) No Assembly Required
Many of the more complex (see: not Taboo) board games out there require a decent amount of setup. In Monopoly, you have to distribute money, pick pieces, roll for first turn, choose a banker, etc. In some games, such as Settlers of Catan, you even have to assemble the board. Not so on a console. You can get started before Dan gets distracted by a football game or his dire need for Chipotle. Setup is instant and can be chosen or randomized. You're up-and-playing in no time.

2) No Friends Required
Don't get me wrong, I prefer people to robots, but it can be pretty tough to get 3-4 people together with the promise of an invigorating board game. With a videogame, you can either play online with strangers (or friends), or just play against the computer. Don't give up on the flesh and blood, though. I haven't lost a friend to an XBox yet, and I'd like to keep it that way.

3) Win When You Want
I consider myself a fairly skilled gamer, but every once in a while, I'm not looking for a challenge; I'm looking for a victory -- a swift, effortless, feel-it-in-your-chest victory. While your friends may not be willing to throw the game for your amusement (see #2 for my warning against forsaking real people), the A.I. sure is. Set it on easy and enjoy your slaughter.

4) Zoink!!
A board game can be long and laborious, so what better to spice it up than KOOKY SOUND AND VISUAL EFFECTS?! Playing a card to win the game? Fun. Playing an exploding card to win the game? Epic.

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