Players sometimes ask me what soundtrack I recommend to listen to when they play one of my games, like Stronghold or Robinson Crusoe. I am known as thematic designer, my games are all about story and engagement of players and soundtrack seems like obvious choice.
Well, it is not.
I don’t play with soundtrack.
When I was playing RPG games I was all about building atmosphere and building tension and I was using music like a madman (or rather like DJ). I was changing songs and CDs all the time, I was playing slow music, fast music, epic music, depending on scene, depending on scenario I had everything earlier prepared – whole OST with different songs for each part of scenario. I was crazy.
Today when I play board games, I don’t use any music, I just focus on rules, games mechanism and I don’t want to be distracted by any soundtrack. OK, except the moment when I play X-Wing. You just can’t play it without OST, right?
Being that said…
Last week I watched Ricky Royal video dedicated to Voyage of the Beagle. And I have to say, little, subtle trick Ricky did struck me like a bolt. Ricky did not use a soundtrack. He used sound effects.
Play from 5:18 to see what I am talkin’ about. In a split of a second the theme is build. The same trick in his second video. Watch at 3:06
I think I am still not for soundtrack and music when I play board games. But such a special effects here and there… That would be freaking awesome. Watching these movies, hearing these sounds I felt like I was there. It was just a subtle touch, but hell, it worked!