As a result of deciding to live in Melbourne, most my last two years have been spent in lockdown.
Prior to the most recent COVID wave, my friends gathered roughly once a week for a game or two of Blood Rage. Nothing fancy: just a board game, some friends and maybe a few beers. Simple, yet surprisingly good for the production of serotonin in my little brain.
But Melbourne’s repeated lockdowns ended all of that. We haven’t been able to play board games for ages, making it increasingly apparent how important board games really were.
Board games won’t end COVID or rectify any of the other crisies enveloping ourselves right now. But what it does is give you a few hours a week to switch off and forget about your troubles. Rather than trying to solve all of the world’s problems, you can focus on solving just one.
In the case of Blood Rage, you are a viking seeking glory for your clan before Ragnarok.
For a few fleeting moments, you get to just fully immerse yourself in the story, have some genuine face-to-face interaction with your friends, share a beer or two and just … not think about the crumbling world around us for a little bit.
Not to mention, if you play in a no-phones-during-board-games house, it also gives you a reason to log the fuck off from doom-scrolling for a minute and actually be present with your loved ones instead.
As a journalist and otherwise dangerously online human being, I’m not about to lecture you about screen time. I quite literally log up to 18 hours a day. But maybe your phone isn’t an issue for you and you possess this weird thing called self-control (never heard of her, tbh).
But even if you don’t think you have a problem with social media use, it truly just feels good to step away from the digital prisons in which we live our lives. Video games are good for this, but taking time out once for a physical, tactile experience that requires strategy and forward planning just truly hits different.
Organising a regular board game night with friends is good for the brain and a stellar way to catch up with friends. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that we probably didn’t value this time enough when we actually had it. And when we’re still stuck in lockdown and can’t legally gather for fear of enormous fines, recent weeks have really got me missing those regular interactions.
So I guess what I’m saying is: take this as a sign to organise a regular game night with your friends. Cook up a good feed. Open a bottle of wine. Focus on solving just one problem within a pointless board game to give yourself a little break from the endless list of problems we face in real life. Trust me, you will not regret it.
And I highly recommend Blood Rage, which you can purchase here.