Are board games for everybody?

When you’ve played hundreds of board games, it can be easy to forget that we all started somewhere, that once upon a time we were all new to gaming and new to reading rulebooks or teaching others how to play the games we now love. Phrases like ‘worker placement’ or ‘area control’ which are now second nature to us were once unknown words which left us feeling confused or overwhelmed.

There are thousands of games being released every year and millions of people discovering the hobby and playing board games for the first time, that may need a helping hand. I remember back to when I started playing board games, I would often feel overwhelmed when picking up a new game, trying to make sense of the rules, hoping it would all make sense. Even to this day, I can’t seem to learn a game or understand the basics of a game just from reading a rulebook. As somebody who writes a lot about games and plays a lot of games, there are often times I have felt silly for not being able to understand the rules of even some of the most rules light games.

During the Dized Kickstarter campaign, I have noticed people mention that rulebooks are not an issue and that anybody can easily learn to play the games that are on the Dized app. This is of course true for some experienced gamers and that’s fine. However, it’s not okay to make less experienced players or others who struggle with rulebooks feel bad or stupid. There has been too many examples of this and I wanted to address this issue.

When we say that certain games are easy to learn without any assistance, we create a barrier to entry, we turn people away from our hobby without even realising it and that is something we can all avoid. Compared to other household entertainment products, board games already have a pretty steep learning curve, even before considering the pressure of having to understand things quickly.

Welcoming new people into the hobby makes it better for all of us and one of the easiest ways we can do this is to help people who have trouble reading rulebooks. Providing different ways to help people learn all types of games, from Kingdomino to Twilight Struggle, can only have a positive effect on the hobby and community that we all love. When we create a more accessible environment, we create a place that new people can come and enjoy games without feeling judged or stupid.

Take Monopoly as an example, though many people may not like it, it has opened a lot of doors for the board game industry and opened a lot of people’s eyes to the world of hobby board games. So many people shame others for liking it or for the fact that it “isn’t a real board game”, but it’s a game that is getting people to sit down at a table with their family or friends and connect or gain an interest in games and look for whatever else is out there.

And in the end, this is what Dized is doing as well: making the hobby and different games more accessible, because everyone deserves to play more games.

-Katie
Dized Kickstarter Community Manager