Board games can offer escapism for players. Indeed, before the advent of video games, this was a major part of playing board games – getting so ‘into’ the gameplay that all else outside the game disappeared. Nowadays of course it is harder to get people this deeply immersed and focused on a board game due to all the other noise and gadgetry around us.
But roleplaying can be a powerful way for people to learn about others, to empathise, to fantasise, and merely to have fun. Dungeons and Dragons is a classic example of how taking on a role and stepping into a fictional world can be very compelling. Today Dungeons and Dragons is heading towards the 50th anniversary of launch, and the underlying strength of the gameplay pattern and mechanisms remain as strong as ever.
At the lighter end of the spectrum that ol’ favourite Game of Life stands tall. Players take on a new persona and follow their character through life’s ups and downs, through life stages and try to head into a happy retirement. Game of Life has sold tens of millions of copies since launch back in 1960, and several generations have enjoyed playing their way through their own life journey with this iconic board game.
Game of Life proves that role playing doesn’t have to be for hard core gamers only.