Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MK Q&A: Why Don't You Review Digital Board Games?


It's that time again. This one I am filing away as an MK Q&A, but it can double as a Tackling Tough Topics. I only choose Q&A so I can hopefully stop seeing the requests to review digital adaptations of Tabletop Games. So, here is our MK Tabletop Talk Blog of the week...

MK Q&A: "Why Don't You Review Digital Board Games?"

With the rise of the digital gaming industry there was speculation that soon it would completely replace Tabletop Gaming. Many companies began early preparations to close down undeveloped projects with the replacement teams all specializing in Digital Gaming Formats. As soon as people realized there was money to be made in games called Applications, or "Apps" for short, you had an overabundance of digital options pop up all but overnight. The alarming rate at which these games were gaining popularity (based on the number of downloads) put a bold and underlined template on the thoughts of social gaming genocide.

Much like a blade forged through fire, Tabletop Games have looked upon their doom and answered the challenge with a half smile and a statement of ...watch this. 

Tabletop enthusiasts have not only doubled their efforts to increase exposure for lesser known great games, but they have truly upped their game (yes, that is punny). The games currently being released as well as those in development are way beyond the half-dozen game style options you had with the classics. Some concepts have been blended together, while others are of an origin and unique mechanic all their own.

There are many famous long-time supporters who have dedicated their life to Tabletop Awareness and bringing the precious gems of the realm into the light for all to see and know (we are looking at you Wil Wheaton). The sales in Tabletop Games since 2010 have steadily increased by 15-20%.

Did people really think that sitting alone, quietly in your room staring at a brightly back-lit screen while cussing at the eight-year-old currently handing you your glutes was a threat? How can that stand up to the time-tested social interaction known as playing a game? Some claim that digital games have "transcended the traditions" and become "a class Tabletop Games could never compete in".

The new bully on the block aimed at the wrong Dorks, found out they had stepped up and responded to the threats of harm without fear. Now awkwardly walking away, the bully is trying to set itself aside as some sort of "elite gamer".

The truth? Connecting worldwide is amazing for the concept of "I know a guy in (insert exotic location here)", but it is no replacement for social interaction. Considering the wealth of options currently available, there is a game out there for you and your friends. I have a blog on How to Pick the Right Game if you want to check it out. Just know, if you want to find the perfect game for you and your group, it is out there!

I know, as an introvert you wonder why I of all people would chose social interaction over the option of anonymous un-invaded personal space. The answer is a bit more scientific than you would think.

Social interaction with others is very important in the development of children. It takes social interaction to allow children to begin to establish their own “self” and to learn the concept of expectations. Most social interactions usually occur within the family. As children grow, learn and become more developed, they become more interested in interacting with other children, and the benefits of allowing them to do so are grand.
When playing with others, children learn appropriate social behaviors. Sharing, cooperating, and respecting the property of others as well as learning communication, cognitive, and motor skills. Most opportunities for social interactions among young children occur during play. This opportunity to play with others is critical if a child is to develop appropriate social skills, and Tabletop Games are the perfect way to get them aiming down the right path.

Research studies have shown a strong correlation between social interaction, health and well-being among older adults and have suggested that social isolation may have adverse effects. Interleukin-6 is an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer. Positive indicators of social well-being have been associated with lower levels of interleukin-6 even in healthy people!

Isolation and loneliness have a negative physical and emotional impact. Think about this a bit. People who are lonely frequently have elevated systolic blood pressure. Loneliness is a unique risk factor for symptoms of depression. Loneliness and depression have a synergistic adverse effect on well-being in middle-aged and older adults.

I do not wish to cover this today. Too much information for one blog! I am attempting to give simplified facts. If you want to read a little deeper yourself, here are a couple of articles on the positive effects of social interaction.
Benefits of Social Interactions - The Importance of Being Social

Take a moment to send yourself back to the last time you sat in front of the TV all day. It doesn't matter if it was binge watching a show on Netflix, or powering through that epic video game you have been wanting to finish, the question is: How did you feel when you were done? A bit sluggish? Maybe even brain dead? Perhaps you had your own version of the Homer Simpson face going?

 So when it comes to digitally adapted board games, I for one would always rather sit down with a group in the same room and enjoy the benefits of social interaction. I would rather feel like I was energized by the experience. I don't want that "Un-occupied" look in my eyes. I don't want to feel jet-lagged.

Now I have written this blog with an obvious opinion. I stand on one side of the fence, you might be on the other side staring at me in contempt for attacking your favorite time-filling activity. Know that I too do love to play video games! I have quite a few that I just keep playing even though they are over a decade (or two) old. They are that good. But I do not believe that if I had to choose between Tabletop Games and Video Games, that it would be a hard choice. Nine times out of ten I would rather open the box around the table with friends. With such skewed percentages, my choice is obvious.

So to bring this back around and answer the question (finally); Why Don't I Review Digital Board Games?

Personally: I prefer to share the experience. It just isn't as fun without a few good friends! Sitting alone in front of the computer a Dragon appears. You find yourself whispering "Oh crap". In a room full of players a dragon appears and you get to share in the resounding "OH, CRAP!" that explodes from the group. I choose to advocate for the social interaction of Tabletop Games.

Professionally: This blog is funded by MKTabletop.com. The very title of the blog is MK TABLETOP Talk. Our focus is to bring more awareness about the benefits of Tabletop Games and the vast, excellent options available. If I was to start reviewing digital versions of Tabletop Games it would be a direct contradiction to the mission of MK Tabletop Talk and the company that created it. 

I sure hope this gives you an answer that satisfies your question. If not, please do ask for any clarifications in the comments! Have a question you want to see featured in our MK Q&A series? Let us know! As always do feel free to like/+1/share/re-tweet, etc. Help us spread the word of the almighty Tabletop. lol

Until next time ...Game ON!