Thursday, October 3, 2013

Interactivity: Where is it?

These little wooden circles are INTERACTING!

A couple months ago, I read this review of Alhambra.

Alhambra is a pretty good game, but there's an aspect of it that really sticks in my craw. This is a game where player interactivity is really going out the window.

I feel like more and more of traditional euro-style games are going in this direction.

What happened to a central "board" where all the action takes place? Nowadays we all have our own little boards we play on. We might place workers on a center board. We might bid for reasources off a central board. But the actual action for the game is going on in our own little bubble universe while our friends do the same things.

Who is to blame?

The Internet? Violent Video Games? Heavy Metal Music?

At some point, we all need to reign in this crazy individual player board phenomenon, struggle back to a central board, dudes on a map, building a city, whatever. And we need to sit down and actually COMPETE for space and position again.

A great game that came out before Alhambra was the old faithful Carcassonne. A game so awesome it forced me to learn how to spell its name properly. In Carcassonne you play your meeple all together on the center playing area slowly being created bit by bit by the placement of tiles.

What about worker placement? Try Caylus. In Caylus, you buy buildings and put them in places where your opponents were hoping to play THEIR buildings! And then you make them pay you commission to use those buildings! Or you can bulldozer down the house they were planning on using and build a residence instead. Which does NOTHING!

How about dice games? I love The Castles of Burgundy. But after a while, don't you wish you could step out of your stupid little player board and actually go interact with your opponents?

Troyes is a great game where you fight for the same buildings, the same occupations, and you can even kick other players out of their places, out into the dirty gutter where they cry for the rest of the turn. And then you steal their dice! What a concept!

Like I said, Alhambra is a great game. But what would make it even greater? If you could reach down, grab a tile out of your friend's city, and throw it in the garbage. Might get his attention, right? Too often, people are stuck rearranging their little tiles, gazing off into la-la land and planning their next acquisition regardless of what the other players are doing. And I am sick of it!

Coming soon: Top 10 Games Where Everyone Gets Into Each Other's Business

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