Friday, June 13, 2008

Our inner vulture -- or return to boardgames

I've been buying used board games lately, so my alter ego Devon talked to me about my thoughts and experiences on this current fad.

Devon: I know you like reference books. So what got you interested in trivia board games?

Dave: I was searching for information on a tile-shifting board game called The Amazeing Labyrinth. That lead me to discover the tile-placing board game called Carcassonne, which in turn peaked my curiosity in boardgames in general. I had played board games when I was young, but have not played it as an adult. This new curiosity to revisit something new yet familiar, combined with an interest in reference and trivia information, and the thrill of getting a bargain at a thrift store, lead to the purchase of some used, question-based board games.

Devon: I see from your list of games there several are from the Trivial Pursuit family.

Dave: Having been to only two thrift stores, I can non-scientifically state that the game of Trivial Pursuit is a staple item in thrift stores. I suppose the nature of question-based games lead to their non-replayability after awhile, so its off to find them a new owner. I did notice that the original Trivial Pursuit (Master's Game Genus Edition) tend to have more copies than its many other editions and expansions.

Devon: TP was very popular, but given its popularity, why wouldn't there be more used sequels available?

Dave: My guess is that since trivia fans will collect the games, they won't be giving up their gems easily. Thus it is up to the general public to release their copies. But the non-trivial-buff public probably would have bought only TP, played it and enjoyed it but not so much as to buy more of the same because they only know a minority of the answers and what's the fun in looking like a hermit around the smug know-it-all's. Hmm, come to think of it that's why I didn't get into the Trivial Pursuit craze.

Devon: So why are you buying questions-based games now, given that you actually have little interest or time or trivia comrades in playing them?

Dave: The hunter-gatherer experience encoded in our genes can be expressed, or in modern parlance get dead stuff for less. The essence of questions-based games are in the questions. Through years of blood, sweat and tears the game creators came up with intellectual property that now lie in decrepit boxes and can be had for one dollar.

Devon: That sounds like a sad ending, like the dinosaurs.

Dave: I say that not as a statement of lament, rather as a statement of joy. Those games' journey are not yet over, for they, like used books, have found a new home where their eclectic knowledge can sit side by side with universally recognized tomes such as dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Devon: So your inner vulture is just an admirer.