Star Trek Catan.
Have there ever been three words better suited for this blog?
Coming this March Star Trek Catan will take the settlers off of the island and into the stars. No longer content to mine ore, herd sheep, fell trees, harvest wheat and make bricks, players of Star Trek Catan will be able to fill their coffers with dilithium, tritanium, food, oxygen and water.
I could not be any more excited.
I spent this past weekend on a retreat with the volunteers in our student ministry. It was a great time to get away, strengthen relationships, think about our vision and play some games. Since it was a Christian retreat, we obviously played many games of Catan. I only played twice and lost both times, which didn’t ruin the weekend but did upset me.
Board games have tremendous value because of their ability to facilitate relationships. Like a meal, board games involve people gathering together for a common purpose. The game provides an opportunity to interact with each other, have conversations that aren’t always related to the game and just strengthen or form relational connections.
Board games do this in a way that video games just can’t.
I love playing Halo with a bunch of people but it’s just not the same as sitting down to a game of Monopoly, Risk, Apples to Apples or Star Trek Catan.
In Halo or other video games everyone is staring at the screen instead of at each other.
In Halo conversations are limited to breaks in the game instead of woven throughout the game.
In Halo we spend more time interacting with the controller than we do other people.
I even saw this dichotomy this weekend at our retreat. I played Ticket to Ride, an amazing board game, on my phone with two others. Instead of sitting together around the board, we all sat staring intently at our phones. We barely conversed and simply played the game to finish. If the goal of a game is to finish, then we accomplished that goal.
More often than not, though, the goal of a board game isn’t to finish.
The goal is to spend time together.
The goal is to laugh.
The goal is to talk.
The goal is to meet our God-given need for relationships.
Board games are great way to build and strengthen community. I can’t wait to do that with starships instead roads and Klingons instead of the robber.
What games have been great at building relationships for you?