Board Games and Technology
Board games have been integral in many societies in the world. Most board games were developed as indoor games but a few have turned into outdoor activities. In most societies in the recent past, board games had turned into outdoor games that were played by large numbers of people in parks and other communal meeting places. In Africa, market places and popular shops in villages were the places where board games such as checkers, also called draughts, were played by both the old and the young.
Most board games are about skills and systematic strategizing. The more experience a person has in playing a certain board game, the easier it is for them to win. Such skills gave people social rankings amongst the peers with whom they played. In most societies that had adopted board games as games that brought people together, competitions would be organized and the games used to promote several important socio-cultural issues.
The growth of board games into communal outdoor games has however faced a challenge with the rapid development and uptake of technology. With more people shifting to technological platforms for interaction and social connection, the role of board games as a tool to bring people together has faded quite rapidly.
Board games have been taken onto the digital platform and can now be played on computers, mobile phones and other devices that are electronic in nature. Playing of these games is possible both online and offline. Some online gaming platforms allow for multi-players to compete against each other in environments that greatly simulate natural environments where the board games were played previously. Offline gaming platforms also have allowances for multi-players to compete with each other via local networks that are quite easy to set up. Another feature used by electronic gaming is where a player selects a level of skill to play against an electronic player and then the score is sent to the internet where it is compared and ranked against the sore of other players from the world over.
The mainstay and lifeline of board games was the ability of youths to learn the games, play them and then as they age, they could pass their skills to the younger generation. Today, youths have shifted to the internet and online gaming for their leisure and sporting activities that involve board games. Indeed, even mainstream sports such as football have also been incorporated onto the digital platform. The fact that youths are active on the internet and other electronic platforms is what has led to the shift by game developers to adopt the old board games to the electronic platforms and the conception of new board games is now largely based on the electronic platform. Even in Africa, the youths are increasingly getting onto the electronic gaming world and the old village gaming places are getting increasingly empty and less populated as the members of the old generation die and there are no new players to replace them or to pass their skills to.
While it may have its negative effects, the shifting of board games to the electronic platform has its positive benefits too. The shift has led to a loss of skill that was nurtured over many years and potential socio-cultural erosion in societies and communities. On the other hand, having board games on the electronic platform improves interactions and enhances the way the games are played. Players are able to connect and test themselves against players from other places in the world. In this way skills are improved and spread over large areas.
Another benefit of having board games on electronic gaming platforms is that the game itself gets standardized. With the spread and adoption of a game, rules may change from location to location. Having to play on an electronic platform and the ease of spreading an electronic game requires standardization of the game. Standardization allows for all the players from any place to compete on an even ground since all the players will be familiar with the same rules and expect game play to progress in a defined manner.
Technology has had its effects on board games and their development. It is probably better to adopt the changes and embrace them as progress since the benefits outweigh the negatives of the change. It also enhances versatility and the innovation of game developers, platform creators and maintainers.
The author is a research paper writer at Essay Jedi in the gaming niche where he has written numerous games and gaming articles.