The Dangers of Gateway Games

It starts off innocently enough; a mild interest, or reminiscing. Maybe you visit your parents and come home with an armful of ‘soft games’: Connect 4, Kerplunk and Cluedo. They sit, neatly tessellating on the shelf till one rainy day you get them out. You play ‘Connect 4’ five or six times until you feel it’s too easy. You need something harder.
As you chat, you remember you once owned Downfall. And it was good. Then to e-bay and oooh – they don’t just have Downfall but also Deflection. You haven’t heard of it but it says MB so it must be good. I mean, that’s the dealer you got Connect 4 from and while you couldn’t identify him in a line up, he was reliable and he’s only asking for a bit more money for Deflection.
Deflection arrives with Downfall. They are beautiful. Exactly what you needed, much harder. Before you slide the tray or turn the wheel you are thinking carefully, planning your moves. No more glibly dropping counters for you. You have progressed.
You need to speak to someone, so you ring your sister. She reminds you of Bank Holiday weekends playing Monopoly and you crave that time again. You read online that Monopoly is no longer cool. The new board gamers you associate with in board game dens under railway arches (draughts!) laugh when you mention it. They assume you are being ironic and you are too scared to admit the truth. Secretly, you order it on e-bay. It’s just the travel version. All your games still fit on one shelf. You’ve got this. You’re in control.
You spend your days scouring the charity shops. You buy Game of Life, Go for Broke. You lie to your new friends. Which turns out to be easy because not only do you want all the retro games but you need the latest, strongest new games too. You love playing Codenames, and Ultimate Werewolf. You were delighted when the Exploding Kittens Expansion Pack arrived.
Once you went cold turkey and spent a week not going on Kickstarter. They sent someone round to check you were still alive; that your groaning shelves hadn’t collapsed, trapping you under the plethora of games you now own, leaving you surrounded by loved ones who miss you but know it’s the way you’d have wanted to go.
You need these new friends in your life, they understand that you lie to your family about the cost of games. You’re currently working with one of them to formulate a justification for buying Pandemic before payday. He recently spent his wedding fund on some netrunner cards (his fiance was complicit). If anyone can bail you out, he can.
Before you know it, your games don’t tessellate, your daily e.mails from kickstarter are out of control and you can no longer afford the extension you so desperately need to store all your board games in because you spent all your money on board games.
Need help? Is your habit out of control?
Get in touch. We can’t help you, you’re beyond that but we can empathise, and we can recommend some games that will take the edge off…
Come along to a Cards or Die event and play some games!

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