Playful Thoughts: Catacombs

Even if it is Saturday morning I’m in fron of tmycomputer. For the first year since they were born my two children are both at school on Saturdays and my wife is working too and then I got four hours of unexpected free time … I then decided to write some articles and reviews and on my list of things to do there are some review for ILSA Magazine on dexterity games and I’m faced with Catacombs!

For those who do not know it yet Catacombs is a beautiful game of exploration and fighting in caves where the characters have to explore rooms full of monsters trying to prevent them from reaching the ultimate goal. It does not seem anything particularly original or innovative, if we neglect the fact that the characters and monsters are represented by wooden disks that are “flicked” and all the rules of the game are built around this great and simple mechanic: the fireball is a small disk while the spell shield is a nice great wooden disk that stands between the wizard and his opponents.

Catacombs is, to all intents and purposes, a board game: has boards, cards, characters, rules. But games like Villa Paletti? Jenga? Pitch Car? Are these board games? And all those games with only cards? What is the boundary between Magic and Caesar and Cleopatra or The Lost Cities? They are so different? And the line between a board game and a role playing games ?

So, what is the boundary between a board game and somthing else ? Angiolino and Sidoti in their great “Dizionario dei Giochi” that always accompanies me in my playful thoughts, solve the problem by saying “Board games, also known as table games, nowadays are the games with a box that are industrially produced and played on a table. ” Today I can be satisfied even if there is much to say because, according to this definition, a self-produced board game is not a board game and a role-playing game with the manuals contained in a box it would be …

Good game and good weekend. See you monday!

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