Paperback Board Games
One day, when I was about 6 years old, my older brother came up to me and said, “Let’s make board games.”
I still have mine. It’s terrible. The balance is off to the extent that it’s barely playable. But it was so fun to make and play… and it’s still fun to reminisce about.
I tried it a few more times by myself, but it was never as enjoyable. The experience of comparing our games and playing them together really ignited a distinct childlike joy. I came across one of my original creations while decluttering recently, and I thought… I should definitely try this with Dion.
COVID-19 has hit, we’re stuck indoors, and with less financial flex than ever. Luckily this is one of the cheapest date ideas imaginable. A dice and some counters might be the only extraneous items you might need. You can always use buttons or whatnot for counters, an app as a dice replacement, or get creative and substitute it for something entirely different, like a deck of cards. Ultimately, if you have a piece of paper and any sort of writing implement, you’re good to go.
So off we went…
Dion stuck to the traditional side of things, making a linear, Wild West themed game. It can be a bit tricky to get him to express his creative side, but he always enjoys it. The resulting game was brief, but fun! We even played it twice in a row.
Dion's piece of paper even had a stain on it. No biggie, still perfectly playable!
I got a little bit more involved with mine.
Welcome to SWAMPOCALYPSE!
I’ve never played Dungeons n’ Dragons, but using my extremely vague knowledge of it, I described it as a sort of Dn’D Lite.
You’re stranded in a swamp and your goal is to get to the oasis in the centre. Why? Why not? Everyone loves a good mangrove. Maybe. (Okay, I really need to flesh out the plot.)
To begin with, there are a set of four cards which help identify your player character. Six options are listed on each, each player’s traits determined by the roll of a dice.
Dion was a Property Manager, with a pet ferret, a unicycle, and hobbyist gardening skills. Meanwhile, I was a Pope with cooking prowess, a tortoise, and infinite jelly packets. Really sets a unique scene, doesn’t it?
Many of the squares on the board are marked with either ! or i. ! triggers a random event card, and i represents an item card.
As you move your way across the board, you collect items from the item cards to add to your inventory. These might include umbrellas, guns, protractors, motorcycles or who knows what! (Well, me I guess. I know what. But I’m not telling.)
The random event cards are where these elements all culminate, initiating a dire problem-solving situation! You must use your character and items obtained, to verbally improvise a way out of the dilemma. If you’re clever, you might even obtain some items in the process! It’s up to the remaining player/s to portray any relevant foes, and decide whether your plot is reasonable/creative enough. If not, you lose a turn!
Unfortunately in modern life, especially as relationships begin to age, there’s often less opportunity to observe your partner as an individual. As there’s more focus on careers, dependants, money, chores and other responsibilities, there’s less time to appreciate the individual traits that attracted you to your partner in the first place. This experience constantly promoted opportunities for us to express our creativity and wit, and observe each other acting outside of our society-induced, stress-fuelled standards.
We both really enjoyed the creative process, watching each other interact with and be entertained by our creations. Everyone has a beloved classic, like Scrabble, Uno or Monopoly, but there’s such a unique satisfaction that comes with making something yourself, and seeing someone else enjoy it. Granted they both could use a bit of tweaking, but it’s really fulfilling to create something tangible and enjoyable, essentially for free! Plus it’s definitely not an event you need to keep to yourselves. You could easily involve kids, other family members or friends in the process.
We now have two new board games that we’re excited to play again. We kept ours fairly basic, but you could really take this to any level you liked, 3D printing your own custom pieces, getting your game professional printed… it’s incredibly flexible, and a delight no matter what. I said to Dion, “If we just made one of these, each, once a year, in 5 years we’d have 10 new games!” Considering how well this first foray went, I might need to start allocating specific storage space now.
“★★★★★ Would date again.” – Emmy