The evening among friends, the party. With its refreshing laughter, its incessant banter—it already has its perfect moments.
Adding a game to that? But why?
What game could survive a group of ten people or more, without being reduced to a mere activity?
An orchestra, a theater company or a sports team are groups that can actually play—but their members have been selected and trained together. And they have a leader to tell them where, when and how to play.
The pleasure of group entertainment is pure, obvious and irreplaceable. But it mostly comes from the good company. When it comes down to the group or the game, the group always wins.
The game I’m after is one that shies away from two extremes.
One such extreme is the monster wargame that, with its square meters of maps and binder upon binder of rulebooks, stifles, crushes the game—any chance of a game—under an insane mass of details.
The other is the party game which, in order to accommodate any random gathering of people—players and non-players alike—must hand the stage over to them, and can’t go much further than bringing a tint, a faint shade to the fun those people were already having. And it does so by eliminating as many options, decisions, and as much detail as possible.
A game so diluted, beyond recognition, a game that has been made undetectable, trace amounts of a game leave us with no other choice than to imagine that we’re still playing a game.
That’s not gaming anymore—that’s homeopathy.