The benefits of tabletop games are delved in to, and I work through an amazing tv series called Psychoville.

Benefits of tabletop games

Someone at the community centre was expressing a distaste about tabletop games because there’s an impression that there are more beneficial things that they could be doing, but I’ve found that there are several benefits to be found from them.

  • Resource management – many games give you a limited amount of information or resources to work with, such as Alhambra where you have a limited amount of currency to choose buildings from, and Firefly where doing jobs in the ‘verse can end up more costly than initially intended, and you have to figure out ways to most effectively make best use of such limited resources which is a handy resource management skill to train up on.
  • Deduction – From just a limited number of clues you can figure out large amounts of information, such as in Shadow Hunters where you don’t know at first if an opponent is an ally or not until you use hermit cards to learn information about others, and Inkognito where you can interrogate opponents about certain aspects of their character until you figure out which one is your partner. Honing such skills can be key to improving your situation, not just within the game but also without.
  • Visualisation – several games require visualisation of how your future play will affect things, such as Carcassonne where planning of the placement of your roads and cities strongly affects the success of others, and Ticket to Ride where you can plan a single backbone that can reach several destinations in your hand. Being able to visualise several future possible plays and their outcomes can be vital to success.
  • Adaptability – you won’t always be able to achieve your desired outcomes due to other players in the game, such as with Jamaica where the person leading the round gets to decide the number of actions for each day, or 7 Wonders where your path to victory depends on not doing that which your neighbours are. Being able to take in a situation and adjust your approach can be vital.
  • Stress relief – some games provide a positive way to relieve stress in a friendly group setting, such as Kakerlakenpoker where you try and bluff others about cards that you have, and Munchkin which is a controlled level of craziness as you attempt to clamber ahead of your opponents.
  • Competitive play – being competitive with others while maintaining a good relationship with them is an important skill to hone for daily life, and in cooperative games such as Flash Point or Eldritch Horror, they provide good training on how to work together with others in a team.
  • Social interaction – there is a friendship and camaraderie that builds between the people playing, especially with 4 or more players such as in 7 Wonders or Resistance. This is because you don’t directly have an opponent, but instead have a situation with several people where everyone is trying to maximise their own situation.

Achieving the above benefits wrapped up in some fun can be the best way to learn such skills. There are many games out there that are designed to just be time wasters, but the decent games also provide some of the above benefits and are well known to tabletop gamers.

Many of the games mentioned above are relatively new ones from within the past 10 years so may not be known to the general public, so the upcoming International Tabletop Day that’s occurring this Saturday April 5th is good opportunity to find out more about them. See if there’s a Tabletop Day happening in your local area, and get along to it if you can.

Psychoville

Yesterday I caught the entire first season of Psychoville (2009), and while initial plans were to see it a bit at a time, we ended up going through all 7 episodes in one sitting.

Psychoville is a black comedy in the style of League of Gentlemen. A range of seemingly unrelated characters all receive a mysterious note saying “I know what you did”. The characters are all interestingly gruesome and twisted to a certain degree:

  • Maureen and her son David are serial killer experts, having read and memorised all the material but don’t have a taste for the real thing. After David takes part in a murder mystery dinner and gets fired coming home saying “I did a bad murder”, mum misunderstands and helps him to get rid of the murder mystery cast members.
  • Joy is a birthing coach nurse who is very honest about issues that will be faced, and lost her baby using a toy baby called Freddy as a replacement, taking things far too far as she believes it to be and treats it as a real baby, and even has her own website at freddyfruitcake.com
  • Tompkins is a dwarf working on a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, who may be telekinetic. Smittened with the lead actress, when she awakes from a coma with some memory loss he convinces her that they’ve been engaged for some time.
  • Oscar Lomax is a blind millionaire with assistance from Michael on community service who oscar calls Tealeaf. oscar needs only one things to complete his collection of 1st issue beany toys, that being snappy the crocodile, which turns up for sale, but competition arrives in the form of Siamese twin sisters that took his eyes from a previous deal.
  • Last but not least is Mr Jelly the clown (commonly confused with Mr Jolly) who lost his hand in a tragic operating room incident. His surgeon quits and becomes Mr Jolly, competing with Mr Jelly.

This is an incredible series that anyone with an interest in black comedies such as Black Books or League of Gentlemen will find great enjoyment in.

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