Homo Ludens


I am still learning what the point with board games is. I mean, I get that it is is great for memory formation, cognitive skills, problem solving. It’s just that so far I have always been more inclined to spend my free time in conversation with someone (or on Netflix…) than absorbed with silently contemplating my next strategic move on the board. But A likes to play. So when he suggested going to the world’s (!) largest Board Game Fair in the neighboring city, I was up for broadening my horizons.

I must have been as wide-eyed as I was when I first saw the hotel buffet in Croatia. But the amount of board games offered at the fair easily outnumbered the Croatian food options. 1400 new games were presented – and I believe there were old ones being sold, too. As we walked through the fair halls (there are six. Six giant halls with board games all over), I realized I do know many game publishers. Kosmos, Amigo, Schmitt, Haba, all rang a bell so I must’ve played one or the other board game.

The two things that impressed me the most were the people playing on-site and the themes of the games. (I was also impressed with the prices of the board games…) There were large areas adjacent to the exhibitors’ booths where visitors sat and played. You know how everyone talks about people growing lonely behind their screens, wasting away their creative energy? Not here! Here I saw the joy of play in action. Play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun.

And apparently you can play with almost any theme. Exploding kittens is a big hit right now, I learned, and we contemplated buying either “Fog of Love”, a board game which is “like starring in a romantic comedy” (including expansion packs called “Trouble with the In-Laws” and “Mismatched”) or “Holding on”, in which you are a palliative care team tasked to provide care to a terminally ill person. Then there was also the educational game: Textura, about history, for schools, and with a special edition on Polish-German relations. The historian in me rejoiced: what better way is there to teach history than by becoming a part of it, playing? (Schools and teachers get it for free, by the way!)

We ended up not buying any game, but I borrowed some from the library. Apparently one (about guessing agents names) is a bestseller, it was all over the fair. The good thing with borrowing a game is that you have to play it before your loan expires. (I just have to fit that in with finishing Riverdale and lots of work traveling this month.) Let the games begin!


Post-game-morning, A took me to our favorite brunch restaurant. Their müsli is out of this world delicious.


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