If you haven’t noticed, I love board games. But there’s this problem…
You see, whenever I play a game, I get sucked so deep into it that to me, it’s real. The characters I control, the decisions I make…if I don’t do everything just right, someone’s life will be ruined. For me, it’s more than just a game. It’s an immersive journey in which I control my fate.
In a lot of games, the stakes are high. In Pandemic, for example, if we don’t work well together, the world will be overrun with epidemics that will kill all life as we know it!
In Survive: Escape from Atlantis, it’s sink or swim (literally) as the island crumbles beneath us and sharks, whales, and sea monsters wait in the ocean’s depths to do us in. And if you get in my way (or steal the boat I was just about to climb into), you can be sure I’ll sick the Kraken on you.
Tokaido isn’t a game of backstabbing, lying, and being a general nuisance; it’s a peaceful journey. And I want to paint all the pictures, meet all the people, and eat all the food. When I let my little wooden character token take a dip in the hot springs, I begin to feel just as relaxed as that token does.
Creeped out yet?
My point is, board games tell stories, and as the players, we are crafting these stories turn by turn. There’s no outlining or editing, which makes every move that much more critical. If I make a blunder early on in the game, I’m going to need a serious stand-up-and-cheer moment later on. As the game progresses, my character develops, much like one would in a novel or short story.
For me, board games are alive, and I want to see them grow and expand. That’s why I’ve started writing stories based on these games. The themes demand to be explored, the characters developed, and the locations visited.
Video games are something probably more people can relate to, and board games share many similarities with their digital counterparts. As the player, you control a character, explore maps, fight for your life, and complete all manner of tasks for coin, prestige, and experience. There are even books written about various video games, and since board games share so many similarities, why not write about them as well?
Every good world deserves to be explored. Every interesting character has a history that needs to come to light. And every good story–whether acted out digitally or on cardboard–demands to be told.
And that’s why I write stories based on board games.
What’s your favorite board game, and how does it draw you in? Tell me in the comments!