Board Games in the Writer’s Life

Quarantine sucks.

No way around that. No way to sugar-coat it. Being forced to stay inside your home with no semblance of routine or normalcy in your day is a surefire way to push most of us to the edge of sanity.

Some people are built for solitude. They are the people God put on this earth to be snipers.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. I need people around me. I need my scenery to change. I need to hear new conversations. My imagination needs the fuel. My muse needs to spread her wings.

Well, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

So, I have found other ways to fill my creative need. I’ve started painting minis with Mer. I’ve started watching Clone Wars with Henry. Kate and I are working on her story. And to top it off I’ve started playing more board games with the kids. Our newest foray into the realm of board gaming is Star Wars: Imperial Assault.

The game revolves around a campaign in which a group of adventurers takes on the Empire. Sounds daunting, but there is a fun story and the characters grow through the flexible adventure.

This led me to wonder about the connection between board games and writing.

When I was a kid there were the normal board games: Risk, Clue, Monopoly. Then at the other end of the gaming experience existed Dungeons & Dragons.

I never got into the deeper games as a kid, but about seven or eight years ago, Jordan bought me Firefly: The Game.

I never looked back.

In the past couple decades the gap between light and heavy games was filled by some amazing medium ranged games. I fell in love. Many of the games I play have campaigns with impressively written stories.

The perfect example of this is a game I bought for Mer. Mice & Mystics comes with a 55 page story book. The whole game is story and action driven.

So back to my first question, do board games and literature overlap?

Short answer – yes.

I recall books from my youth, namely Dragon Lance, Warhammer 40k, and Forgotten Realms. These book series all find their roots in board games. They tend to come from open world adventuring games, but there are more and more that I can pull up. If you want to go the other direction, from book to game, there are even more.

When I evaluate my writing I can see influences from games I’ve played and interactions with other players, especially when they play through the persona of their game character.

Game design and art has leaped forward lightyears in my lifetime.

For this I am thankful. Board games give me a creative way to act out ideas and storylines in my head and it gives me a way to connect with my children.

In these trying times, find ways to connect with your family. Find ways to feed your muse. Don’t forget to stay in touch with loved ones. Conversations have sparked short stories and scenes in my writing life.

Remember to keep reading and keep flying the Black.

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