Battle Grounds: Table Top vs Video Games

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Table Top Games vs Video Games

Dear reader, welcome to this week’s fight here at Clash of the Nerds, today we have a special guest, our news writer Frank Wirsing who will be covering the world of Table Top Gaming for us.  So I thought what would be a better topic for today’s Battle Grounds than the age old debate, what is better, Table Top Gaming or Video Games?

Frank, since you are our newest writer, please, begin this friendly squabble.

Frank: Well I would say the crux of this debate as it is for many things in this age is the debate of digital versus analog

I was born in a time before Nintendo, the Internet, and cell phones.  Now for all of you reading this, I am not as old as young Joshua would like to make you all believe.  I was born in 1980 but was raised in the middle of the Midwest. My brother and I shared a Nintendo we received for Christmas in 1989, had an Atari, and a Sega.  However, my video game console ownership really ended there.  I have never owned an Xbox, Play Station, and have not even set up a computer in my house in over 5 years.

Yes.  I know I am odd.

Table top games though I have a ever growing collection of board games as well as role playing game books.  Right now half my great room in my house is taken up with miniature models we are painting for our Kingmaker Campaign in Pathfinder.  Stay tuned for the antics in that campaign will probably become a weekly blog on this site.

Board games, and trust me we left Monopoly behind years ago, would be more analogous to Video Games I believe.  There are a clear set of rules, a box to stay within so to speak.

My preference is for strategy games.  Games that take an afternoon to play such as Axis and Allies, Risk, Catan, and many many more.  These are very complicated games that take myself and my roommates usually three tries to even make sure we have the rules down right.

RPGs on the other hand have long been a passion of mine because they allow the endless expression of the imagination.  Yes we have rule books to show progression and show where you go from one level to the next.  You do not start off with the ability to do everything and you have to grow and evolve with the character.  There is a mark of pride from surviving from level one to like in our Pathfinder campaign my character Zaigon is now level 8.  Through guile, luck, and teamwork I have survived and the character has evolved greatly

Josh: RPGs and Table Tops are all well and good, though they’re not my cup of tea.  Their biggest flaw though is that you have to have other people to play with.  After a long day of work I can unwind by just turning on my Xbox One or Wii U and just play a game.  A game where I don’t have to rely on anyone if I don’t want to, one where I’m totally immersed in the world that I’m playing in, and one where everything happens in real time and I don’t have to squabble with anyone over the rules of the game or deal with a

Dungeon master who may or may not be a sadistic prick.

And like a table top game Video gaming can be a communal thing.  I can play online with friends or strangers and I can also have friends over to play in the same room as well.

Frank: Yes you can sit there and play with yourself, if you enjoy that type of thing, but I, however, prefer the communal and social aspect of games.  Yes you can play solitaire but is not poker a better game?

If I play video games, I prefer multiplayer but not online.  The internet I find lets people become assholes.  The faceless quality of it lets a person who is an impotent little man in real life try to be a big man in a virtual world.  Especially games like World of Warcraft which seem solely based on PvP have no interest to me.

And then you look at the cost of game play.  You have to an exorbitant amount for a console made by some child in a sweatshop overseas and then they still charge you $75 for the game and if you want to pay online hello monthly fee

The Pathfinder core book is technically all you need to play the game and it is less than $32 and you have a world only limited by your own imagination

However, that is just the hook and I can show you my bookcase full of other companion books and a table full of minis we are painting…. it’s a gateway obsession

Josh: Sure you can play a table top or RPG alone but it’s not the same experience.  Like you said about solitaire not being poker, but when I play say Madden or FPS at home by myself or online against someone the experience is the same.  You’re right some folks on the internet are assholes, actually most are, but video games allow me to have those experiences on a whim.  I can come home hop on the Xbox and bam I’m in the game.  With table top or RPGs you have to plan out a time for everyone to get together and in this day of age (not to mention us being adults) getting a group of four people together becomes increasingly tough.  Your best bet for a game is a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, so usually at best you’re looking at twice a week you can play. A video game however you’re not limited by other people’s schedule or if they can make it to your house.  The wonders of the internet allow friends who have moved away to still play games together.  You or I would have to get on a plane if we wanted to play a table top together.

Video games can be pricey, but I’ve seen the price of some D&D books and table top games run upwards of $100 sometimes.  So the initially cost of a gaming system is more, but I think in the long run what you spend on the latest table top (not to mention card pack expansion for some) makes it a wash in overall spending.

Also, no monthly online fees for gaming.  PS and Xbox both do yearly subscriptions, Nintendo lets you play online for free.

Frank: Yes for our RPG game we get together once a week.  It is like waiting for the new episode of your favorite show.  It is a social event.  We bring food, drinks, and have a good time for the night.  It is a battle of wits between us the players and the game master, and many a time we have driven him to drown his sorrows.  There is quite a feeling of accomplishment when you derail his or her carefully orchestrated plans.  I find them more of a challenge intellectually because of the grand scheme problem solving.

If we are wanting more of a pick-up game we go to any of our collections of board games.  Friend calls up if they have a free evening and we say yeah come on over.  Catan we will play often, Axis and Allies is a rare event because it takes 6 to 8 hours and is exhausting.  Yay Fortress Europe. A crowd favorite is Betrayal in the House on the Hill, or as we call it you’re playing Scooby Doo.  The one I think you would Enjoy Josh is called Legendary and is a deck building game based on the marvel comic book world.

Josh: Legend…wait for it…dary huh?  So there is a game named after me, I can dig it.

Frank: I WAS WAITING FOR THAT!  I would honestly thought it would be more Candyland but believe what you will

Josh: But no, you’re proving my point about video games superiority over table top.  Table top games you have to be social, you have to plan, and I don’t have anything against that.  Certain video games we get together and plan an evening around, games like Rock Band, or when it’s an old school gaming night like N64 or SNES something like that, but with newer games like Rock Band if we can’t get together in the same house we can still play together.  And this dear read, is where our discussion ends and your’s begins.  Tell us in the comments below what you think.  Do you prefer Table Top or Video Games?

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About Josh McCain 984 Articles
Where are my manners, allow myself to introduce... ah... myself. I'm Josh, I'm a proud dad and I will probably write the majority of the content you see on this site (and editing 100% of it) because that's my background, writing. I'm an author of two books (Ripper, and Suburban Sky: American Tales) with books three and four on the way... eventually. I also have experience writing for various sites, including Bleacher Report, Redskins101, and more currently you can find me at Goingfor2.com where I write a weekly-ish satirical column. Here are the links to my books if you wish to check them out. Click here for Ripper: http://goo.gl/YGKNSj Click here for Suburban Skies: http://goo.gl/1zrZ6d So that's me in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy the site.

1 Comment

  1. While I have never been into these newer tabletop games, I have fantastic memories of playing risk and d&d as a teenager with my friends and family in the neighborhood. I think that there is a special spot in my heart for board games that video games will never be able to take away. I look at this topic from a fathers perspective, since I have two young children and a third on the way… Games have brought us closer. And in not talking about video games, I am talking about the lets sit down together as a family and roll some dice, laugh at each other, but be competitive rounds of monopoly or Chinese checkers, risk, backgammon or chess. Some of my favorite memories as a child involve my dad teaching me how to play rummy and the strategy of 5-card draw.

    Franks got it right here, the social impact of playing games, looking at the person you are playing the game with, etc Is monumental. I look at it much the same way I think of card games, no video game night, online connected with my friends can ever beat a night of getting together having some beers, playing cards and relaxing in good company.

    Josh, your point about the instant gratification of video games is right on, but if I had the option between having a game night once a week in the actual company of good friends vs putting on a headset playing a video game once a night for a couple hours to trash talk a friend or random stranger…. I’ll take the getting together every time.

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