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Scene Selections: Board Games

, and | Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Claire Kopischke | The Observer

Whenever you’re tired of living in this modern world and you need some form of entertainment that doesn’t exist on a screen, turn to a board game. Board games promote old fashion values like healthy debate, capitalism and world domination, and are the perfect way to spend hours with friends.

Secret Hitler

By Mike Donovan, Scene Editor

Fascism has been out of fashion for quite some time now, and for good reason. The movement has a history of fanaticism, and some of its sustaining ideals are, needless to say, questionable. If you aspire to politics (a noble pursuit!), you’re better off staying away from the whole Fascism thing.

If you do get an authoritarian itch every once and awhile (doctor’s note: Don’t scratch these. You’ll only make it worse), screw politics! Try your hand at a quick round of Secret Hitler instead — the only board game that allows you, the player, to invite a slice of 1930s German parliamentary conflict into the comfort of your own home.

Just imagine you, your friends — wasting the night away — locked in a heated legislative battle, the outcome of which will decide whether Germany ascends to liberalism or spirals into authoritarian madness. Oh, the lies you’ll tell. The friendships you’ll destroy. The faith you’ll lose in the inherent goodness of humanity. Will a secret Hitler become Chancellor? Will the liberals assassinate him before he gets the chance? Who knows! Embrace the uncertainty, my friend. And bathe in the simple joy of a casual ideological stalemate.

After all, it’s not every day you get a chance to save democracy (or watch it burn, if that’s more your speed). The time to be a 1930s German parliamentarian is now.

 

Monopoly 

By Ryan Israel, Associate Scene Editor

No video game, board game, sports game or any other game better represents the ideals of American capitalism than the classic Monopoly. Without Monopoly, how else would young children learn the importance of an economy that rewards wealth creation versus one which allows monopolies to operate under limited restraint? Without Monopoly, how else would young children learn the fundamentals of real estate, that two properties in a good neighborhood (Park Place and Boardwalk) are sometimes better than three properties in a bad neighborhood (Connecticut Ave., Vermont Ave. and Oriental Ave.)?

Monopoly gets a bad reputation these days for a number of reasons. First, people joke that Monopoly can “ruin friendships” or “destroy families,” but any friendship or family that can’t survive a little capitalistic greed isn’t one that can survive the test of time. Second, people lament the excessive time required to complete a full game of Monopoly. But honestly, what else would you spend your time doing? Making actual money? I doubt it.

 

Risk 

By Nia Sylva, Scene Writer

It may not promote cooperation between individuals or instill within impressionable young people any appreciation for human dignity, but Risk has definitely taught me everything I ever needed to know about world domination. I mean, what good game doesn’t revolve around the merciless conquering of territories? Not one I’d want to play, that’s for sure. And is it true that every game of Risk I’ve ever played has inevitably ended in either a tearful outburst, a screaming match or both? Sure. But there’s just something alluring — at least to me — about the combination of chance and strategy, the opportunity to forge an alliance during one turn and betray my “ally” in the next.

No matter how many times I am backed into a corner, so to speak, rolling nothing but double ones and losing all my territories except Kamchatka and New Zealand, no matter how many times my sister and mom team up against me, no matter how many times I attempt to conquer Europe and fail miserably, I find myself reacting with the same old enthusiasm when my brother pulls that half-flattened box out of the family room cabinet and places it on the table with a resounding plop. Maybe it’s just some deep-seeded thirst for dominance, one that the evolution hasn’t yet wiped away, that keeps me coming back. I don’t care. Because if I keep playing, then someday I might actually win.

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About Mike Donovan

Mike enjoys good words.

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About Ryan Israel

Ryan's favorite album is "Blonde" by Frank Ocean and his favorite movie is "Dazed and Confused." He's also a junior double majoring in Sociology and Television, but that's not as important. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryizzy.

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About Nia Sylva

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