Gaming comes full circle

The irreverent party game Cards Against Humanity brings students together for low-tech fun.
March 25, 2014

The latest entertainment craze on campus does not involve a screen or the Internet or any electronics at all. Students are gathering in the residence halls, the Rec Lounge — even a newly formed social club — to play board games and other low-tech, tabletop amusements that require actual face-to-face interaction.

Of course, this type of gaming isn’t new. But more recent titles take players way beyond the traditional stand-bys like Monopoly and Scrabble in terms of the strategy and problem-solving required as well as the fun they offer, says computer science major Craig Corlis ’15, founder of McDaniel’s new Tabletop Boardgaming Club. He says he got hooked several years ago after spending way too many hours alone each night engrossed in video games like Halo.

For starters, there’s the popular party game, Cards Against Humanity, an irreverent twist on the more politically correct Apples to Apples. Shadow Hunters is a team-based game in which players are assigned to one of three groups of characters (shadow, hunter or neutral) and work to figure out who is on their team and achieve victory. In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world and players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand. Forbidden Island puts players on a team of adventurers who work together to find four treasures while doing their best to keep the island from sinking into the ocean. Tales of the Arabian Nights hearkens to the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

“I probably have 40 games on campus with me,” says Corlis, an Honors student who transferred to McDaniel this year and has also become active in the Theatre department.  He has scheduled club meetings for every other Tuesday throughout the spring semester and says he has very little time anymore to play video games. “These games are a really good way to get out, meet new people, be social with a group of friends and not be glued to a video screen.”