by David W.
| published Tuesday, September 26, 2023
There’s been a lot of talk recently around the use of AI in the tabletop world. It’s being used to produce art for tabletop games, and it’s being used to design and develop games (check out here, here, and here for just three examples it took me less than two minutes to find).
But what no one has done, as far as I know, is to find out what an AI might know about tabletop games. About what it thinks about tabletop games. So I set about to rectify this. What follows is a verbatim and unedited conversation I had with ChatGPT about tabletop games; aside from some formatting changes and post-interview commentary (which I have marked as such), it is unaltered. (If you want to check on me to make sure I haven’t deleted or changed anything, the link to the conversation is here.)
What is your definition of a boardgame?
((Comment: I used the term boardgame instead of “tabletop game” out of a fear that ChatGPT might not recognize the latter term.))
A board game is a structured, rule-based game that typically involves players moving pieces or tokens on a flat surface, often referred to as a game board. The outcome of the game is usually determined by a combination of strategic decisions, chance (such as rolling dice or drawing cards), and player interaction. Board games can encompass a wide range of genres, themes, and complexity levels, and they may require various degrees of skill, strategy, and luck.
((Comment: I think this definition can be read broadly enough to include games that use only dice or cards–if you allow for the “flat surface” to be a table–as well as role-playing games. You may disagree.))
Key characteristics of board games include:
Rules and Structure: Board games have defined rules that dictate how players interact with the game components, how turns are taken, and how the game progresses. These rules provide a framework for gameplay and often include win conditions.
Physical Components: They typically involve physical components like game pieces, cards, dice, tokens, and a game board. These components are used by players to interact with the game world.
Player Interaction: Players usually compete against each other, but some board games also involve cooperation or have elements of both competition and cooperation.
Strategy and Decision-Making: Players make strategic choices throughout the game that can influence the outcome. These decisions can involve resource management, tactical positioning, and long-term planning.
Chance or Randomness: Many board games incorporate an element of chance, such as rolling dice or drawing cards, which introduces an element of unpredictability.
Winning Conditions: Board games typically have a defined goal or set of conditions that, when met, determine the winner(s) of the game.
Board games can cover a wide range of genres, from abstract strategy games like Chess and Go to thematic games like Settlers of Catan or Risk. They can be designed for various numbers of players and may last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
It’s worth noting that with advancements in technology, there are also digital versions of board games that are played on computers or mobile devices, often allowing for online multiplayer experiences.
((Comment: I think ChatGPT’s definition and list of key characteristics holds up well. I also note with interest their comment that winning conditions are “typical”–implying they are perhaps not necessary–which led me to my next question.))
What is the difference between a boardgame and an activity such as knitting or solving a crossword puzzle?
((Comment: I tried to tease out whether ChatGPT would assert categorically that victory conditions were essential to the tabletop experience–as well as find out where it would draw the line between games and other experiences.))
The main differences between a board game and activities like knitting or solving a crossword puzzle lie in their nature, purpose, and key characteristics:
Nature of the Activity:
Board Game: A board game involves structured gameplay with defined rules, often including elements of strategy, competition, and interaction with other players. It usually requires physical components like game pieces, cards, dice, and a game board.
Knitting: Knitting is a creative craft that involves using needles to interlace yarn or thread into fabric. It is a hands-on activity focused on creating physical items like clothing, accessories, or decorative items.
Crossword Puzzle: Solving a crossword puzzle is a mental challenge that involves filling a grid with words or phrases based on clues provided. It exercises cognitive skills like vocabulary, word recognition, and pattern recognition.
Goal and Purpose:
Board Game: The goal of a board game is typically to achieve a specific objective set by the game’s rules, which often involves winning against opponents through strategic decisions and gameplay interactions.
Knitting: The purpose of knitting is to create tangible items from yarn or thread, such as clothing, blankets, or other handcrafted goods.
Crossword Puzzle: The goal of solving a crossword puzzle is to fill the grid with the correct words or phrases based on the provided clues, which requires word knowledge and problem-solving skills.
Level of Interactivity:
Board Game: Board games usually involve direct interaction with other players, often in a competitive or cooperative manner. Players make decisions that affect the game state and the outcomes of their actions.
Knitting: Knitting is a solo or group activity, but it doesn’t involve direct interaction with opponents. It’s a creative and skill-based endeavor focused on crafting.
Crossword Puzzle: Solving a crossword puzzle is primarily a solitary activity that exercises mental skills without direct interaction with others.
Rules and Structure:
Board Game: Board games have structured rules that govern gameplay, including how pieces move, what actions players can take, and how the game progresses.
Knitting: While there are techniques and patterns in knitting, they are more flexible and open to interpretation. There are no strict rules comparable to those found in board games.
Crossword Puzzle: Solving a crossword puzzle follows a set of rules for filling in the grid based on the provided clues.
Outcome and Creativity:
Board Game: The outcome of a board game is determined by the players’ decisions, strategies, and interactions within the framework of the game’s rules.
Knitting: Knitting allows for creative expression, as individuals can choose patterns, colors, and styles to create unique items.
Crossword Puzzle: Solving a crossword puzzle is a mental challenge that exercises language and problem-solving skills, but it doesn’t involve creative expression in the same way as knitting.
In summary, board games are structured games with defined rules and often involve competition or cooperation with other players. Activities like knitting and solving crossword puzzles are more individual or creative pursuits that may not have the same competitive or strategic elements found in board games.
Does a boardgame need to have victory conditions? Is winning or losing an integral part of the boardgame experience?
((Comment: although the previous answer was comprehensive, I still felt I needed a specific answer to my question.))
While many traditional board games do have victory conditions, it’s not an absolute requirement for an activity to be considered a board game. Victory conditions, winning, and losing are common elements of the board game experience, but there are exceptions.
Here are some considerations:
Victory Conditions and Winning:
Common in Board Games: Most board games are designed with specific victory conditions. These conditions determine how a player can win the game, which often involves achieving a certain goal, accumulating points, or outmaneuvering opponents.
Examples: In Chess, the victory condition is to checkmate the opponent’s king. In Settlers of Catan, players aim to reach a certain number of victory points.
Non-Competitive Board Games:
Cooperative Games: Some board games are cooperative, where players work together to achieve a common goal. In these games, victory is often defined by the success or failure of the group rather than individual players winning or losing.
Examples: Pandemic is a popular cooperative board game where players collaborate to fight off global outbreaks of diseases.
Some activities classified as board games may not have clear victory conditions. For example, certain open-ended creative games or activities like building with Lego blocks or improvisational storytelling may not have a defined win/lose scenario.
((Comment: To me this answer implies that ChatGPT agrees with Amabel Holland’s recent YouTube video that victory conditions are not an essential part of the tabletop game experience. However, ChatGPT also emphasizes that games which are built on improvisational storytelling–such as RPG’s–are games despite not having clearcut “win” or “lose” states.))
Artistic or Abstract Games:
Artistic Expression: There are board games that focus on artistic expression, such as Dixit or Pictionary, where the goal is more about creativity and interpretation rather than strict competition or victory conditions.
((Comment: I agree with the choice of Pictionary here as an example but not Dixit.))
Some board games focus on exploration or narrative rather than winning or losing. These games might be more about the experience or the journey rather than a specific outcome.
((Comment: two excellent examples of games that exemplify the idea that a strong narrative thread can be enough to make a game work even if there are, theoretically, victory conditions to pursue.))
In summary, while victory conditions and winning are common features of board games, they are not strictly necessary for an activity to be considered a board game. There are exceptions, such as cooperative or artistic games, where the emphasis is on different aspects of gameplay. Ultimately, what defines a board game is a structured set of rules that govern player interactions on a flat surface, whether or not it includes explicit victory conditions.
Are boardgames an art form like cinema, literature, or portraiture? Why or why not?
Board games can certainly be considered a form of art, albeit a unique and interactive one. Here are some arguments for why board games can be viewed as an art form:
Creativity and Design: Board games require a high degree of creativity in their conception and design. This includes crafting compelling narratives, designing aesthetically pleasing components, and creating engaging gameplay mechanics.
Aesthetic Elements: Many board games incorporate elements of graphic design, illustration, and physical craftsmanship. The visual aspects of a board game, from the artwork on the board and cards to the design of the game pieces, contribute to its aesthetic appeal.
Narrative and Storytelling: Some board games, particularly those in the genre of “thematic” or “story-driven” games, place a strong emphasis on narrative. These games often feature richly developed worlds, complex characters, and engaging storylines.
Emotion and Experience: Like other forms of art, board games have the potential to evoke emotions in players. They can create a sense of immersion, excitement, tension, or even contemplation, depending on the nature of the game.
Cultural Expression: Board games can reflect the culture, history, and values of their creators. They may incorporate elements of folklore, mythology, or historical events, providing a means of cultural expression.
((Comment: notice ChatGPT says ‘can reflect’ rather than ‘do reflect’. Some might argue this is too weak–but in my eyes it’s at least asserting that such a reflection is possible.))
Innovation and Experimentation: Board game designers often push boundaries and experiment with new mechanics or concepts. This spirit of innovation parallels the creative exploration seen in other art forms.
Subjectivity and Interpretation: Like art, the experience and interpretation of a board game can vary widely among different individuals. Players may bring their own perspectives, preferences, and emotions to the game, shaping their experience in unique ways.
Impact on Society: Board games have the potential to influence and shape culture. They can serve as educational tools, promote social interaction, or provide platforms for exploring complex issues.
((Comment: very impressed with these last three points, especially the last one!!!)
However, it’s important to note that not all board games are necessarily considered art in the same way that, for example, a novel or a painting might be. Some board games are primarily designed for entertainment or strategic challenge, with less emphasis on artistic expression.
Ultimately, whether board games are considered an art form may be a matter of personal interpretation. Some may see them as a creative and expressive medium, while others may view them primarily as recreational activities. The classification of board games as art is a subject of ongoing debate and discussion within the fields of game studies and cultural criticism.
((Comment: So in the end ChatGPT shies away from making a sweeping assertion that tabletop games are an art form, period. ‘Others may view them primarily as recreational activities’ is code for ‘it’s just a game’. I would point out that similar counterarguments have been and continue to be used about other art forms too.))
Board games seem to have been a part of human life since the dawn of recorded history at least. Why do you think that is so? What role do board games play in human society? What socio-emotional needs do you think they meet? Are they just another example of the human need to “play” or do they have a unique function in the human psyche?
Board games have indeed been a part of human culture for thousands of years, and their enduring popularity can be attributed to several factors:
Social Interaction and Bonding: Board games provide a structured way for people to come together, interact, and engage in a shared activity. They promote social bonding, facilitate conversation, and create opportunities for meaningful interactions.
Cognitive Stimulation and Skills Development: Playing board games requires mental engagement. Players must think strategically, plan ahead, problem-solve, and make decisions based on the game’s rules and dynamics. This mental stimulation can be both enjoyable and intellectually enriching.
Entertainment and Recreation: Board games offer a source of entertainment and leisure. They provide an enjoyable way to pass the time, whether with friends, family, or even solo. The variety of themes and gameplay styles means there’s something for everyone.
Competition and Challenge: Many board games involve a competitive element, which can be emotionally engaging. Competition encourages players to strive for success, test their skills, and experience the thrill of victory.
Escapism and Imagination: Board games often transport players to different worlds, whether fantastical, historical, or abstract. This element of escapism allows players to step outside their everyday lives and immerse themselves in a different experience.
Learning and Education: Some board games are designed with educational purposes in mind. They can teach skills like math, logic, critical thinking, and even historical or cultural knowledge. These games serve as a fun and interactive learning tool.
Emotional Regulation and Relaxation: Engaging in play, including board games, can be a means of stress relief and relaxation. It allows individuals to unwind, have fun, and take a break from the pressures of daily life.
Cultural Expression and Tradition: Board games often reflect the culture, values, and traditions of the societies in which they originate. They can serve as a form of cultural expression and may be passed down through generations.
In terms of socio-emotional needs, board games can fulfill several important aspects of human well-being:
Social Connection: They foster social interaction, strengthen relationships, and create a sense of belonging within a group.
Challenge and Achievement: Board games offer opportunities for mastery, achievement, and personal growth through strategic thinking and problem-solving.
Emotional Engagement: They can evoke a range of emotions, from excitement and joy to challenge and sometimes even frustration, providing a healthy outlet for emotional expression.
Creativity and Imagination: Some board games encourage imaginative thinking and storytelling, allowing players to express their creativity.
While board games share similarities with other forms of play, they also offer a unique experience. Their structured rules, competitive elements, and cognitive challenges contribute to a distinct form of recreation and social interaction. This makes board games a valuable and enduring part of human cultural expression.
What are the primary differences between board games and video games in terms of the kind of experience they provide for players? Are board games in danger of being made obsolete by video games? What about digital implementations of board games played face-to-face? Or do you think will there always be a need for games with tangible, physical components?
Board games and video games offer distinct experiences for players due to differences in their medium, mechanics, and social interactions. Here are some primary differences:
Board Games: Board games are physical, tangible objects that require players to interact with physical components like game pieces, cards, dice, and a game board. They often involve face-to-face social interaction.
Video Games: Video games are digital software programs designed to be played on electronic devices like computers, consoles, or mobile devices. They are experienced on screens and may involve virtual environments.
Board Games: Board games often emphasize face-to-face social interaction. Players physically gather around a table, and there is direct communication and engagement with fellow players.
Video Games: While some video games offer online multiplayer options, they can also be played in isolation. Online interactions can be less immediate and personal compared to face-to-face interactions.
Board Games: Board games rely on the physicality of components and players’ imagination. They tend to encourage imaginative play and may require players to use their creativity to fill in details.
Video Games: Video games often provide a highly immersive experience through graphics, sound, animation, and sometimes virtual reality (VR) technology, creating a more visually and audibly rich environment.
Board Games: Board games tend to be more accessible in terms of understanding the rules and mechanics. They often have lower entry barriers for new players.
Video Games: Video games can have a steeper learning curve due to the complexity of controls, interfaces, and in-game mechanics.
Regarding the potential obsolescence of board games:
Risk of Obsolescence by Video Games: While video games have become immensely popular and have a massive industry, board games continue to thrive. Both offer unique experiences, and there are aspects of board games (such as social interaction, physical presence, and tactile engagement) that video games can’t fully replicate.
Digital Implementations of Board Games: Digital versions of board games, whether played face-to-face on screens or in virtual environments, can enhance accessibility and convenience without completely replacing the physical experience. They may introduce new players to board gaming and provide options for remote play.
Continued Need for Physical Components: There is an enduring appeal to the tangible, physical aspects of board games. The act of handling pieces, physically moving on a board, and the sensory experience of the game add a unique dimension that digital experiences may not fully capture.
In summary, while video games offer their own immersive experiences, board games continue to hold a distinct and valuable place in gaming culture. The rise of digital implementations complements rather than replaces the physical board game experience. As long as people value face-to-face social interaction, tactile engagement, and the unique qualities of physical components, board games are likely to remain a cherished form of entertainment and recreation.
Name five games published since 2020 that have introduced original mechanics into board game design.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here are five board games published since 2020 that introduced original and innovative mechanics into board game design:
“The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine” (2020): This cooperative trick-taking game introduces a unique mission-based mechanic, where players must work together to achieve specific objectives in a series of hands, all while adhering to limited communication rules.
“Calico” (2020): In this tile-laying game, players compete to create the most aesthetically pleasing quilt by placing various fabric tiles on their board. The game introduces a spatial puzzle mechanic, where players must strategically arrange tiles to meet specific scoring conditions.
“Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile” (2021): This asymmetrical strategy game introduces a dynamic narrative system where players’ actions and decisions in one game have consequences that carry over into subsequent sessions. The evolving story and player-driven world-building mechanics are central to the game’s design.
“Dune: Imperium” (2020): Combining deck-building and worker placement, “Dune: Imperium” introduces a unique mechanic where players use a shared deck of cards to determine their available actions. The game integrates politics, intrigue, and resource management in a way that is distinctive within the genre.
“Lost Ruins of Arnak” (2020): This deck-building and exploration game introduces an action selection mechanic where players choose between two actions on a shared board, combining elements of worker placement and deck-building. The integration of these mechanics provides a fresh approach to the genre.
Please note that the board game industry is continuously evolving, and new innovative games are released regularly. There may be other noteworthy games with original mechanics that have been published since 2020. For the most up-to-date information, I recommend checking board game forums, review sites, and publishers’ announcements.
((Comment: First of all, I was surprised to see that ChatGPT’s knowledge base was over two years out of date–in general, let alone for board games. Second, I wonder where it drew its recommendations from, because only two of the five games (Oath and The Crew) really exemplified what I would call true innovation. The others–all perfectly good games, mind you–merely combined existing mechanics in different ways in my opinion.))
Name five games published since 2020 that have introduced original themes into board game design.
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here are five board games published since 2020 that have introduced original and innovative themes into board game design:
“Dune: Imperium” (2020): This game is set in the science fiction universe of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series. It combines elements of deck-building and worker placement, allowing players to take on the roles of factions vying for control on the desert planet of Arrakis.
((Comment: I’m sorry, but what?? The original edition of Dune came out in 1979.))
“The Search for Planet X” (2020): This deduction game introduces a theme centered around space exploration and astrophysics. Players take on the roles of astronomers competing to discover the location of a hypothetical ninth planet in our solar system.
((Comment: A solid choice.))
“The Quacks of Quedlinburg” (2018, but English edition in 2019): While not from 2020, it’s worth mentioning for its original theme. This game puts players in the shoes of medieval quack doctors, creating potions with ingredients of dubious efficacy.
((Comment: Mmmmm…okay. Brewing potions is not really a startlingly new theme, but medieval quackery gets a pass.))
“Calico” (2020): In this tile-laying game, players compete to create the most aesthetically pleasing quilt. The game introduces a theme centered around the art of quilting, which is a unique and original theme within board game design.
((Comment: Untrue. Patchwork (2014) for one obvious choice came first.))
“Fort” (2020): This game revolves around a group of kids building their own treehouse forts. It combines elements of deck-building and tableau-building with a nostalgic childhood theme, introducing a fresh and original concept.
((Comment: Excellent choice.))
Please note that the board game industry is dynamic, and new games with innovative themes are released regularly. For the most current information, I recommend checking board game forums, review sites, and publishers’ announcements.
((Comment: Two (and a half, including Quacks) out of five–mediocre showing.))
Name three challenges facing the board game industry as of September, 2023. Those challenges could be financial, philosophical, ethical, or some combination of the three.
As of September 2023, the board game industry may face several challenges, including:
Supply Chain Disruptions:
Financial Challenge: The global supply chain has been facing disruptions in recent years due to various factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, transportation issues, and geopolitical tensions. These disruptions can lead to increased production costs, delayed releases, and difficulty in sourcing materials for board game production.
Environmental Sustainability and Ethical Concerns:
Philosophical and Ethical Challenge: There is a growing emphasis on sustainability and ethical considerations in various industries, including board games. Consumers and stakeholders may demand more environmentally-friendly materials, ethical sourcing, and sustainable production practices. This can pose a challenge for companies to adapt their production processes and sourcing strategies to meet these expectations.
Market Saturation and Competition:
Financial and Philosophical Challenge: The board game market has seen significant growth in recent years, leading to increased competition. While this indicates a thriving industry, it also means that publishers and designers face the challenge of standing out in a crowded market. They must find innovative ways to differentiate their games and maintain profitability.
These challenges reflect a combination of financial considerations related to production costs and market dynamics, as well as philosophical and ethical concerns related to sustainability and meeting consumer expectations. Adapting to these challenges may require industry stakeholders to implement new strategies, invest in sustainable practices, and find creative solutions to maintain growth and relevance in the evolving board game landscape.
((Comment: The first two points I predicted I would see, but the final point about market saturation was a surprisingly good insight.))
I can’t help but notice that you didn’t list AI and its uses as one of the challenges facing the boardgame industry. It’s pretty clear that AI is already disrupting the boardgame industry. Recently a major Kickstarter campaign from Stronghold Games (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/strongholdgames/more-terraforming-mars) was beset by criticism due to its use of AI-generated art. What benefits and pitfalls do you foresee for the use of AI in boardgame design and production?
You’re absolutely right, and I appreciate your insight. ((Comment: The devs have clearly taught ChatGPT to be conciliatory and gracious.)) The integration of AI into the board game industry is indeed a significant development, and it brings both benefits and potential pitfalls:
Benefits of AI in Board Game Design and Production:
Efficiency and Automation: AI can streamline various aspects of board game development, from playtesting simulations to procedural generation of game components. This can save time and resources for designers and publishers.
Enhanced Game Design Tools: AI-powered tools can assist designers in creating and balancing game mechanics. They can simulate large numbers of playtests to refine rules and optimize game balance.
Art and Graphic Design Assistance: AI algorithms can generate art assets, layouts, and graphic design elements, potentially reducing the need for extensive manual design work.
Personalized Player Experiences: AI can be used to create dynamic, adaptive gameplay experiences that adjust based on player behavior and preferences, providing a more tailored experience.
Pitfalls and Challenges:
Loss of Artistic Human Touch: As seen in the case of the Terraforming Mars Kickstarter campaign, the use of AI-generated art can be divisive. Some may feel that it lacks the unique touch and creativity that human artists bring to a project.
Ethical Considerations: The use of AI in game design raises ethical questions about authorship, credit, and fair compensation for artists and designers. It’s important to ensure that the contributions of human creators are valued and recognized.
Over-Reliance on Automation: Relying too heavily on AI-generated content or simulations could potentially lead to a loss of creativity and innovation in game design. It’s crucial to strike a balance between automation and human creativity.
Quality Control: While AI can generate content, it may not always produce high-quality, cohesive, or thematically appropriate results. Human oversight and intervention are necessary to ensure the final product meets desired standards.
Accessibility and Inclusivity: Depending on the complexity and accessibility of AI tools, there may be concerns about inclusivity and accessibility for designers who may not have expertise in AI technologies.
In conclusion, the use of AI in board game design and production offers exciting possibilities for innovation and efficiency. However, it also raises important considerations about creativity, ethics, and quality assurance. Striking the right balance between AI-powered automation and human creativity will likely be a key challenge for the industry moving forward.
Can you foresee a time when a boardgame will be entirely designed and developed by AI? Why or why not? Do you think this would be a good thing for players?
It’s theoretically possible that a board game could be entirely designed and developed by AI in the future, given the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence and its application in various fields. However, there are several factors to consider:
AI’s current capabilities in creative fields, such as game design, are still evolving. While AI can assist in aspects of game development, like playtesting simulations or generating content, it’s not yet at a point where it can fully replicate the creative and intuitive processes of human designers.
Human Element in Design:
Board game design often involves a deeply creative and intuitive process that stems from human experiences, emotions, and cultural insights. These qualities may be challenging for AI to replicate, as they require an understanding of context, empathy, and aesthetic judgment that is currently beyond the scope of most AI systems.
Artistic and Emotional Expression:
Board games are not only about mechanics and rules, but also about storytelling, emotion, and artistic expression. These elements are deeply rooted in human experiences and cultural contexts, making it challenging for AI to replicate without a human touch.
There are ethical considerations surrounding the potential displacement of human designers, artists, and creators in the board game industry. It’s important to ensure that the contributions and livelihoods of human designers are valued and protected.
While AI can certainly assist in various aspects of game development, it’s unclear whether a board game entirely designed by AI would offer the same level of creativity, innovation, and emotional resonance as a game created by human designers. Players may value the unique perspectives and insights that come from human creators.
Innovation vs. Replication:
AI is more adept at generating content based on existing patterns and data. Creating truly innovative and groundbreaking game designs that break away from established conventions may still be a realm where human creativity excels.
In conclusion, while AI can play a significant role in assisting with aspects of board game design and development, it’s unlikely to fully replace the creative and intuitive processes of human designers in the foreseeable future. A board game entirely designed and developed by AI may lack the depth of creativity, emotional resonance, and cultural relevance that players often value in human-made games. Balancing the potential benefits of AI assistance with the unique insights of human designers will likely continue to be the ideal approach in board game development.
((Comment: Nothing really unpredictable in the last two answers. I was just curious to see how ChatGPT would lay out the arguments.))
Do you have any favorite board games?
I don’t have personal preferences or feelings, so I don’t have favorite board games like a human would. However, I do have knowledge about a wide range of board games and can provide information, rules, and strategies for many popular titles. If you’re interested in a specific board game or need recommendations, feel free to ask!
What 3 games would you recommend to someone who has played Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and Secret Hitler with their friends but nothing more complicated than that and is looking for a “more serious” board game to introduce themselves to the hobby?
If you’re looking to transition from party games like Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and Secret Hitler to more serious board games, here are three recommendations that offer engaging gameplay with a bit more complexity:
Why it’s Recommended: Ticket to Ride is a gateway game that introduces players to more strategic decision-making while still being accessible. It involves collecting train cards and building railway routes across a map, with the goal of completing destination tickets. The rules are easy to grasp, but it offers depth in terms of route planning and resource management.
Why it’s Recommended: Catan is a classic gateway game that introduces elements of resource management, trading, and strategy. Players collect resources, build settlements, and aim to achieve victory points. It’s a step up in complexity from party games, but it’s widely regarded as one of the best games for transitioning to more serious board gaming.
Why it’s Recommended: 7 Wonders is a card-drafting and civilization-building game where players construct ancient wonders, develop technologies, and build military strength. It introduces concepts like card drafting and resource allocation, providing a more strategic experience without overwhelming complexity.
These games strike a balance between accessibility and depth, making them great choices for players looking to delve into more serious board gaming experiences. They offer opportunities for strategic thinking, decision-making, and interactive gameplay while still being enjoyable for those newer to the hobby.
((Comment: ChatGPT’s recommendations for gateway games are safe and predictable. All are at least thirteen years old at time of interview–CATAN of course is almost thirty years old. Interesting.))
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
You’re very welcome! I’m glad I could assist you. If you have any more questions in the future, whether about board games or anything else, feel free to reach out. Happy gaming!
((Final comments: So there you go, reader. I hope you found this interview as interesting as I did. Only time will tell how timely or prescient it will prove to be. Maybe some of you will be inspired to have your own conversations with ChatGPT about tabletop games based on this conversation. Let us know how it went.))
David is the Managing Editor of the DWP. He learned chess at the age of five and has been playing tabletop games ever since. His collection currently consists of about 600 games, which take up way too much space. His game "Odd Lots" won the inaugural TABS Game Design Contest in 2008. He is currently Managing Editor of The Daily Worker Placement.
All in all he's pretty smug about his knowledge of games and game