Let’s play… outside the box
It was a game of Elysium. I didn’t pay enough attention when the rules were explained and it cost me a lot from the very beginning—I had no idea what to do.
And then I saw a card with an artwork by my favorite illustrator—Vincent Dutrait!
I grabbed that card and looked through the deck if there were any other cards that he illustrated. Indeed, there were.
I smiled. I had my goal for that game! Collect cards illustrated by Vincent Dutrait. Those cards only, and none other.
As you can imagine, this tactic didn’t bring me many Victory Points, but my tableau looked amazing and I called the game a win!
We sit and play a board game with an obvious and clear goal—to win. If we play with a different goal in mind, we may ruin the game for somebody else at the table. Other players assume that our actions will be reasonable and lead us to victory. They adjust their strategy accordingly to that assumption.
If we start playing like a madman, doing random stuff, play in an unpredictable way—we will ruin the game.
That’s bad. That’s not why we play at all. But…
If we come up with a little twist for our strategy, if we announce that new goal and we make sure we will not spoil game for other players… it might be worth a shot. Build 7 buildings during a game of Citadel, each with a different value on it. Collect the most monsters in Kemet. Pick only the ugliest spouses possible in Legacy and build the ugliest family in the game.
Did you ever try playing outside the box?
Which game? What was your goal?
I really appreciate this post because playing outside of the box intrigues me and also frustrates me. When I have an out of the box goal, it is normally a sub-goal to winning, hence kind of defeating the purpose of out of the box goals. I am always cognizant of ‘spirit of the game’ strategies – just because something is within the rules, should I do it? The answer for me is yes and no. Yes, because after all, it is just a game and whatever… if we have fun that is the point. No, if the goal is making the game a bad experience overall.
As a kid mum and me would play “life” by spinning the wheel and seeing who could get to the end of the track first (happy memories 😊)
It brings a deeper question though: How essential is “winning” in a board game? If you remove that does it become a toy or a simulation? And is that bad?
I play take top rpgs not to win but top have fun (create a story). I think there is a lot to be exploited in board games here as well.