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Board Games

board game is a game in which counters or pieces are placed, removed, or moved on a premarked surface or "board" according to a set of rules. Board games have been played since ancient times but the arrival of the personal computer allowed board games to be played without boards or counters - the board and counters becoming cyber-boards and cyber-counters.

Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two. Most board games represent a battle - the beating of opposing players measured in terms of counters, winning position or accrual of points (often expressed as some currency of the game).

There are many different types and styles of board games and virtually all of these have now become available to buy ascomputer versions.

Their format can range from having no inherent theme, such as Checkers, to having a specific theme and narrative, such as Cluedo.

Rules range from the very simple, such as in Tic-tac-toe, to ones which describe a game universe in great detail, such as in Dungeons & Dragons, although most of these are Role-playing games and the board is secondary to the game, serving to visualize the scenario.

The length of time it takes to learn to play or master a game can vary greatly from game to game. Learning time does not necessarily correlate with the amount or complexity of rules; some games, such as chess or Go have simple rules but mastering the stategy of playing them can take years of study and practice. If you want to learn to play chess to a competitive level, try out our sister site - Cyber-chess. It will teach you from basics right up to the strategy required for higher level play.

The reason why many board games are now available as computer games is because a board games requires a minimum of two players - you and your opponant. The computer can play with you - become your sole opponant - or play as one of several players. The computer can be programmed to play at different skill levels and this helps a player hone his/her skill.

The board can be animated and the pieces become avatars with associated sounds and actions. In Harry Potter the Wizard's Chess game is the best of both worlds - animated 3D but playable on a table - so social and tactile - type of thing that might be possible in the future as 3D-games become more possible.

Many board games can now be played online against a computer and/or other players. Some websites allow play in real time while others use e-mail to notify the players after each move. Board games such as chess used to be played via the postal system - but e-mail is much faster and playing while you are on Skype allows you to interact with your opponant.

Advantages of playing a virtual board game:
    • You can set up quickly - and never lose the pieces!
    • You can play when you are alone
    • The pieces can make sounds - and even be characterised into film or TV characters (using their voices)
    • The pieces can be animated and look like characters from film or TV
    • You can store your position and go back to it on another occasion.
    • You can decide how strong you want your opponant to be
Disadvantages of playing a virtual board game:
    • You miss the tactile quality of the game.
    • Playing with others is more fun gathered around a table than gathered around a computer/TV screen
    • Upgrade your computer and your game won't load!
    • It encourages you to be a social outcast and play alone rather than with other people.

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