While most American games have resources in the form of currency, many games on the euro scene go for something a little more creative – treasure, coins, minerals, etc. This allows for a bit more creative art, as well as various implementations of strategy when a variety of resources are needed. This you probably already know.
Me, I often come up with short-form ‘nicknames’ so to speak for what to call things. Android has “bus passes,” Dominion has “money” and Catan has Logs, Rocks, Bricks, and Sheep, as well as Super Secret Cards. Admittedly, I occassionally choose a confusing word (I sometimes catch myself calling any Treasure card in dominion “Gold” because of the card color, regardless of the card value… which is not very good) but for the most part, I keep my [own made-up]terminology straight.
I attended Gencon this past year for the first time, which was quite an exciting event for me, an event that inspired me further and deeper into gaming with some side-effects that include starting this blog. However, there is one small, unimportant, yet still memorable moment from Gencon that was somewhat unpleasant.
I had finally managed to jump in a game of Catan on Microsoft’s Surface – an expensive coffee-table-turned-computer, loaded with Mayfair’s crown game. The game itself wasn’t the best experience I’ve had with Catan – personally, I prefer the actual, tactile pieces, but as a tech guy on top of a board game guy, it was a novel experience, and the technology was pretty cool (Best part: rolling actual dice that the computer could interpret).
Anyways, as I jumped in to fill another player’s spot (finding myself with only 3 points to most of the other players’ 6’s and 7’s) I immediately launched my strategy of trading and building up. “Anyone got Logs?” I asked when my turn came around and I had some cards to trade.
“Call it lumber!” another player demanded, and it was not quite friendly. It was sort of a grumpy growl, actually, and quite off-putting. See, I thought games were played for fun. I didn’t realize the terminology of the game was so strict. Lumber, Wood, Logs – to me, it wasn’t like there was anything to confuse that word with. Is it Sheep or Wool? Well considering the other options are a far cry from anything fabric-like, it shouldn’t be that confusing.
I guess my point is this: lighten up, people. It’s a board game. A game. If the rules call it a “development card” and I toss my resources in for a “super-secret card,” it’s not a game-breaker. There’s only one kind of card in the game that might give a player abilities beyond the norm, which is kept hidden until played. It’s okay. If you have nicknames for cards, words that you find easier or more fun to say, then do it – as long as it’s not confusing. If you catch me calling Treasure in Dominion “Gold” then call me on it (unless i’m actually playing or buying a Gold card) – but if I call it “the monies” or something silly like that, I think we’ll all make it through the game just fine. After all, it is a board game – it’s about using your imagination. Oh, and having fun.
Do you use your own “slang” when playing board games? Do you hate it when other people do that? Leave a comment!