Gaming was forever changed with the introduction of Monopoly. A game literally made to try and show the “evils” of capitalism that has been the most capitalized game of all time, Monopoly was originally titled The Landlord’s Game. More variations of branded Monopoly exist than any other game on the planet. From almost every Disney property to your local community it probably has it’s own Monopoly board.
Although Monopoly wasn’t the first game to explore the movement and random event concept its combination popularized a new type of game. Concepts in Monopoly inspired many other games including Life, Clue, Trouble and hundreds of others. It also novelized many concepts of the “American Dream” and was built as a warning about gentrification and wealth displacement. This was done all the way back in 1904, trying to warn us of major issues we are dealing with today.
Monopoly popularized a new genre while giving proof that games could become mainstream. At the same time sticking it’s thumb in the eyes of the public who so adored it. The world of random roll and move games have increased vastly since, but it’s legacy still stands in regard to popularity and the amount of tongue in check that good games extrude. Unfortunately the randomness of mechanics hasn’t really stood up to the test of time. The results of these games are perfect for when you really don’t wan’t to work to hard to play hard.
Backgammon is by far the oldest game that inspired these rules, and if you don’t know how to play it you should learn. Like Chess and Mancala their are some games you should just know how to play! Their mechanics are so simple and they are so universally known. At the same time they are hard to master, easy to learn that is the greatest strength of these games!
The main concept is in the name, you move and then do something. The name I would have choose is move and react, but alas I was not born when these games where developed! In general that is the basic concept, you move and then you react to the spot you landed on. Shoots and Ladders is an even more generalized concept of movement and roll. One of my favorite games of all time Tales of Arabian Nights. A move and react game with an expansive choose your own adventure book added in.
Most games in this genre are defined by having a specific board and track that you move along. How you move is usually dictated by the dice, but can be based on character or cards. Typically these games are good recommendations for Tweens and older. Mostly because the games concepts aren’t typically difficult but still require a base ability to understand global game rules. The amount of luck intrinsic in the majority of these games to a successful strategy can be off putting.
Typically newer versions of this game include new mechanics. I enjoy mechanics based around landing in the same space, or ones that give an extended objective outside. Extending the abilities of those characters quickly turns the game into a psudo RPG. Amazing games like Pandemic sit in between the move and react with War Games strategy.
Executive Functioning – These games are great starts into learning emotional control, planning and prioritizing as well as constructive thinking.
Social Flexibility – Games that are mostly related to luck typically seem “unfair”. Dealing with this injustice can lead many to learn how to “roll with the punches” of life.
Theory of Mind – Many of these games require that you put yourself in your opponents shoes to understand their strategy. This increase ones ability to learn from another perspective.
As most older gamers will attribute, roll and move made up many of our first interactions with games. Lots of the games already discussed such as Monopoly, Backgammon and Shoots and Ladders were my first intro into what gaming was. Even Mouse Trap, which I’ve never enjoyed, will get me to play only for the feeling of nostalgia.
The Game of Life, Orient Express and Pictionary are all high on my list of games you should play. Games that you should try but probably never heard of are Colosseum, Merchant of Venus, and A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game. To add to that list is Tales of Arabian Nights, which again I love.
Deep Sea Adventure is amazing on the go. Camel Up is a great roll and play game. Princess Bride: Storming The Caste is one of my wives favorite games and it replaces the dice mechanic but is in a similar vein. Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan share similar mechanics and have proven the test of time.
Will you like it?
These games typically have a great functionality but limited theme. Graphics are typically basic but inviting. Replay value of these games can be wavering. After mastering the mechanics their is typically only one real winning strategy. Most the time how well you do at that strategy is luck. None-the-less they constantly dole out that feeling of achievement, which is a good feeling on a lonely day.
Functionality only matters in these games if it’s really badly designed. Because most of these games follow the same mechanics, it’s extremely easy to pick up and play. Theme is a key selling point to these games but usually doesn’t change much. Because they are easily modified branding is also easy to do.
If you are looking for games with low gravity than pick one up. They are friendly to introduce to new gamers and easy to explain. Want to spend some time without putting much thought or effort into what your doing? Then it is a great time to play. See what the Randomly Generating Gods think about your strategy today! But be warned they can be fickle!