Have you ever thought about how weird we boardgamers are? And I’m not painting us all with the same brush here or stereotyping, most of us are probably healthy, sane people with an interest in gaming. But we can be pretty weird. We do weird stuff, particularly when we receive a new game. One of my friends made me realise it when he unpacked his copy of Dice Hospital and immediately smelt the cards. I’d never taken notice of how odd an action it was, at the time it looked like the normal thing to be doing, until my partner actually asked ‘What on Earth are you doing?’ It was like a snap back to reality after accidentally eating a whole box of chocolates. You know what you’d done, you enjoyed doing it, you’d do it again, but can’t fathom why you did it.
The reality is that I do weird stuff too. When it comes to boardgames, there are some things that are strangely satisfying. I hate to admit it but there’s no better smell than that new card smell. There’s no better feeling than removing the cellophane from a fresh Kickstarter. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting all the miniatures out, inspecting the details on every one and feeling good knowing the game is yours… then inevitably packing it all away again as you aren’t playing it straight away! I particularly enjoy peeling the gold film off the cards to remove the plastic. I’ve met someone who reads the entirety of the rules before even looking at the components, but smells every page as the turn it (I’m not that extreme). My partner’s favourite thing is to pop out all the cardboard tokens from the main board. A normal person would see it as a tedious job but gamers relish in those tasks. It’s strange as I’ve never thought about it as weird until I started unpacking a recently delivered Kickstarter… I opened the box really really carefully, spent time watching the lid come off the base and even found myself taking a big breath in as the box opened. Some people adore the smell of a new game.. I can sort of see why.
It wasn’t weird until I noticed myself doing it though… like stating aloud that it wasn’t a normal thing brought me crashing back to reality where sniffing a game makes you a nutter. But the concerning thing is that I know I’m not the only one! I’ve watched others unpack new games, taking their time and delicately removing each element, going through the different motions of removing piece after piece, feeling the cards, appreciating the different elements… But it’s different depending on whether it’s a bought game and a kickstarter. Sure, you take you time with a store bought game, it’s still a game and the excitement is there, but a Kickstarter is different. You followed the process of production through updates, worked alongside other backers to attain stretch goals and upgrades, and then you received the final product.. and that is satisfying. It’s different because you have more attachment to it by being part of the reason it exists (in terms of funding it that is). That doesn’t give us excuse for being strange, normal people would probably put you forward to be sectioned or something.
Maybe it’s that initial opening and the excitement associated with it? Or maybe it’s just that we’re all weird. Either way, it is satisfying. Do you do anything weird?