Paul and I get asked all the time where to start with boardgaming. People want to get into the hobby, but at the time of writing there are 52,942 games listed on the BoardGameGeek.com database. Which one should they buy first?
Until now, Paul and I would produce answers like two men fumbling meat products out of an open window. “Uh, you could try Pandemic? No, Settlers of Catan.” “Maybe Dominion. Or, uh…”
Now, I have a better answer. Darling budget boardgame publisher Cheapass Gameshave started releasing entire chunks of their catalogue online, for free. You just print out the papery components and the manual, cut it all out, stick the heavier playing pieces onto cardstock, and that’s it. You’ve got game. Adorably, for some of these games Cheapass even offer box designs that you could print out and put on an envelope or shoebox or whatever.
Finally, you drop a donation their way, depending on your income, how much you like the game and whether or not you are a dragon.
Yes, they made a chart, just in case you forgot that this is the geekiest hobby on the face of the Earth. Click it to see it bigger!
The thing is, if you’re trying to usher your non-gamer friends into a board game night and they’re yet to be sold on the idea, the fact that you’ve spent money on a game makes the whole evening a little more pressured. You bought this game. With money. So if people don’t like it very much, they don’t want to say anything. It’s all a bit Soviet, y’know?
No such pressure here, and you’re bound to find something you like the sound of in what Cheapeass have released online so far. There’s Deadwood, a game of pretending to be terrible bit-part actors in Westerns. The Big Cheese, a bidding game where you assemble teams of people to work on a project, and the more people on a team the longer the project takes (“Just like real life”). FALLING, a game where all the players are falling and scrambling over one another and the last player to hit the ground wins. And that’s just the start.
Do go have a look, and have a good, long sniff of what Cheapass are doing here. It smells like the future.