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​Why Board Games Are Beautiful

The best thing about board games, hands down, is the people. I don't just mean the sorts of people who play board games, I mean that more broadly: Playing a tabletop or board game means spending time with your friends, your family, your loved ones. Board games are about people.

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This video, from Shut Up & Sit Down editor and sometime Kotaku board game columnist Quintin Smith, is beautiful. It's also very sad. In it, he takes a pause from his site's usual run of (excellent) board game reviews and reflects on the recent passing of his father, as well as his favorite gaming memory.

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He's absolutely right about what makes board games—and other types of games—special: Whether it's a crazy game of Risk: Legacy or a hilarious couple of hours with Divinity: Original Sin, the people we play games with share so much of our joy, and help us make memories that, clichés aside, will last for the rest of our lives.

If you wanted to share your own favorite gaming moment below, I wouldn't hold it against you. Be excellent to each other, y'all.

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DISCUSSION

Battlestar Galactica has to have some of the best and worst moments in board gaming for me. This game is essentially about survival, with the kicker that there is a traitor among you (think Mafia). I'll only share the best (the worst was a boring slog with people who couldn't make decisions):

I was playing with a new group and one close friend, and I had never played before. My friend had never seen the series, and he picked Baltar because it meant he could start as president (for those of you who don't know, he's the character everyone loves to hate). I picked Admiral Adama. So, at the beginning of the game, I accuse my friend of being a Cylon, with some flavor gaming. The others buy into it, and halfway through the game I find out I'm a Cylon. Since I already laid the groundwork, I keep the pressure on my buddy, and my friend protests too much for his own good. Because I get to pick the destinations as Admiral, I slowly start to subtly sabotage us, to the point where we are extremely critical on fuel.

The other Cylon is less subtle and reveals himself, which actually helps me because I was against him, not realizing he was my partner. Eventually, my friend gets thrown in prison because I convince everyone that he has too many of the President cards to not have something useful, therefore he must be sabotaging us. There is a vote for the new president, and every unanimously wants me to become president. I tell them all "I take on this mantle for the good of all humanity" without even cracking a smile to give myself away. I proceed to use President powers only to help us in areas we don't need (I was focusing on the fuel issue).

One jump away, everyone is sure they've got one Cylon in jail and the other is 'dead'. Being new really helped, because I could ask questions without coming across as suspicious. I pretended to examine the cards closely and asked 'All I need to do is pick one that doesn't run us out of fuel, right? If we use up all our fuel on this jump we're all dead?'. The table all obliged with a yes, excited for a human win.

I promptly picked the destination that used up the last of the fuel and cracked up maniacally, in the most sinister laugh I've had in my life. My buddy, to this day, will not believe that I wasn't a Cylon from the start.