Down and Nerdy: Board games!

IN WHICH great minds truly do think alike.

Briana’s pick: competitive dominos

The last time I ever saw anyone get worked up during a domino game was when Ice Cube played it in Boyz n the Hood. So when I heard the BBC report about Jamaica’s passionate quest to make the game an official Olympic sport I was intrigued. I mean, I already know that dominoes is a popular game. They’ve got domino federations and events all over the globe….Heck even the Rubik’s Cube has a world organization and championship (August 6-8th in Cambridge!). And yes, judging by Ice Cube’s exclamation, the game is quite competitive. But dominoes as an Olympic sport? Really? Of course, this isn’t the first time a “mental sport” has been considered for inclusion in the Olympics. Chess and bridge enthusiasts have been petitioning the International Olympic Committee to recognize their game for years.

I guess stranger things have happened. I was pretty surprised when baseball was dumped from the 2012 London summer lineup. What will go in its place? Here’s hoping that dominoes does one day enter the field of Olympic competition. Along with chess, bridge, Scrabble, D&D, rummy, cacho, beer pong, and geocaching.

James’ pick: board game nostalgia

Truly, great minds think alike. Briana and I did not plan to both talk about board games this week. But here we are!

As I mention to her, there are a lot of things that we remember fondly from childhood, things that when we try to revisit as adults, all we end up doing is finding out how lame those things were, how suspect our memories are.

But this is not one of them: Going to a board game store, looking around with wide eyes, finally taking something home (perhaps after saving up the money for a few weeks), peeling off the shrink wrap, savoring that smell of cardboard and ink that comes out the first time you open it …

Yeah, that stuff never gets old, and it’s just as awesome when you’re an adult as when you’re a kid.

My favorite outpost for board game fetishism online is Board Game Geek, a truly remarkable site. It’s got everything. And lots of background info, and photos, and downloadable/printable components, and a really active community.

One more thought: If you don’t have friends that are game (tee hee, see what I did there?) to play with you, there are sites like Game Table Online and VASSAL (warning: the latter of those two has a much steeper learning curve) that let you play strategy games across the net. Not the ideal situation, but perhaps better than nothing.

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