I had been looking forward to this day for over two years. The event was originally planned for March 2020, but it was postponed (not once, but twice) due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Really though, I’d been looking forward to it for far longer than that. I think it was around 2016 when I stumbled across a YouTube video on a channel I followed, where the YouTubers had filmed themselves playing ‘Watch the Skies’ and it was there that I heard the word “megagame” for the first time. I knew immediately that I wanted to try it for myself. Six years later, and for reasons which will become clear in a moment, I was dressed like a politician, in a suit and tie (a suit which, alarmingly, seemed to fit a bit more snugly than the last time I wore it, pre-lockdown) and I was checking in at Swindon Village Hall on the outskirts of Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire.
Megagames, in case you don’t know, are like a cross between a role-playing game and a board game, with dozens of players all playing the same game, but all with different roles and agendas. ‘Watch the Skies’ is, I believe, the most well-known megagame. In our game, the players (about 50 of us) were split into teams, mostly representing nations and corporations. Between us, under the watchful eye of the expert game controllers (hi John!) from South West Megagames, we ran the world, in an exciting simulation full of drama, tragedy, and intrigue.
PHYSICISTS have observed that, when playing a board game, time passes four times as fast when it is your turn to move, than when it is an opponent’s.
Experiments under laboratory conditions found that five minutes waiting for an opponent struggling to choose the best move was long enough to hard boil an egg, but when it is you who has the analysis paralysis, the yolk is still runny.
Dr Martin Scott, of the Institute for Studies, said: “The fabric of space-time is stretched and compressed by gravity, by magnetism and by the presence of one or more opponents complaining that the game is going to take all night if you don’t move soon.
“When an opponent is thinking, times moves normally, and you have time to think about the game, or even something else if you have other things on your mind.
“In contrast time spent planning your own move speeds up, especially if your opponent just played an unexpectedly good move.”
Five Tribes enthusiast Gayle Bennett said: “When I was waiting for Gary to take his turn, I studied the position for ages, had a laugh with Emma about what the shape of some of the pieces remind us of, and then I went to the loo. When I came back he was still thinking.
“When it was my turn, I did a few calculations in my head, then glanced out the window and saw it had gone dark outside all of a sudden. How?”
BOARD GAMES are brilliant and if you disagree you must have something wrong with you, according to experts.
Boardgameologist Barry Venison said: “Sitting around a table and thinking about what you are going to do when it’s your turn is one of the greatest thrills imaginable. Also, you can drink alcohol while playing, and get completely hammered if you want to. If that isn’t enough for you then you’re operating on a level of jaded I can’t actually comprehend.”
Mr Venison, professor of studies at The Institute of Academia, has proposed that in future, anyone caught bemoaning the lack of action in board games should be forced into a re-education camp.
He said “Anyone continuing to doubt that modern board game design is the pinnacle of humankind’s achievement will be sent away and forced to watch footage of Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop series, and challenged to name anything that seems half as appealing.
“Then, for contrast, they will be forced to watch videogamers playing Red Dead Redemption for four hours straight, and instructed to write a poem about how miserable they all look.
Former videogame fan Charlie Hurley agreed: “I used to dismiss board games as being just for old men, but then I realised that what I was actually saying was it had a bit of dignity about it, and didn’t require the attention span of a mayfly. So from now on I will only be playing board games”
A MAN who has had a tough week at work is urgently searching for a new board game to buy himself to cheer himself up.
Eric Gates, aged 36, is currently browsing the internet looking for just the right game to lift his spirits with the warm thrill of consumerism.
He said: “It’s been a hell of a week. I don’t remember one like this since the week I had to buy Gloomhaven.
“I work hard, I deserve a treat now and again, but I’m struggling with deciding exactly what. I found this fantastic new Stefan Feld Euro, but then I remembered I still haven’t played the last one I bought.
“I’ve got stacks of games I’ve not played, and the number of expansions still in their shrink-wrap is approaching triple figures.
“I need a whole new category of thing I can buy to give myself that gratification buzz. Maybe I could get into collectible card games?”
Mr Gates’s desperate yearning for solace ended on Sunday evening, when he won an eBay auction for yet another Dominion expansion.
A man playing the board game Istanbul at a local game night, has been informed that he should have taken the movement tile from the Tavern at the beginning of the game.
Joe Bolton, aged 39, had just finished playing a five player game of Istanbul in which he had finished in third place, when a passing gamer gave him the news.
“I was scratching my head,” said Bolton, “Trying to think how I could have played better, when this guy just came out of nowhere and hit me with the answer. Apparently, I definitely would have won if I had taken the Movement Tile.”