Ep 6: Theme, A Conversation
After a bit of a hiatus, we return with a rambling conversation about Theme and the language we use to describe board games. We talk about how the word “theme” is often used as a catch-all term for board games and how, as board games evolve with more complex stories and gameplay, the term doesn’t quite work as well anymore. We talk about how it may be beneficial to discuss board games with a broader vocabulary the way movies and literature are discussed.
This makes it sound dense, but we ramble through things, constantly stumbling on the fact that the point can be argued in either direction. It’s just a conversation to start a conversation in the end.
We mention our love of Lords of Waterdeep, the idea that themes within a game might change, in the literary sense, with games like Dominion simply by changing the components you are playing with, How Spirit Island touches upon important themes as a counterbalance to the recurring theme of colonialism in games like Catan. We wonder if “space” is really a theme or more of a setting or a genre and so much more.
Give a listen and let us know what you think. Is there a better way to discuss board games than trying to blanket things into a “theme” based on the subject or setting of the game?
- First off, I mentioned Zombies while talking about Dead Men Tell No Tales and that’s just not right. It was unfair of me to lump all undead into the “zombie” category and I apologize. You are fighting a Skeleton Crew, represented by skull tokens, not a zombie in sight – I misspoke. Sorry.
- Not really a correction. Steve mentioned Caylus as possibly being the first worker placement game and it is definitely a contender but not a solid consensus. It does seem to get credit for coining the phrase, or at least that the phrase was coined around it.