Board games, even in their most basic form, all have a story behind them. We’re not simply given a set of rules and instructions and expected to follow them. Rather, we’re drawn into the immersive worlds built by their creators.
There are characters and extravagantly developed settings, motives, and storylines. We’re pulled into a carefully crafted realm where we need to complete a task for a specific reason. As with books, TV shows, and video games, there’s an element of imagination involved.
The setting is integral to our enjoyment, and many creators do a large amount of world-building. While some are fantastical, others are inspired by history and real events and happenings. These often prove massively popular, with titles with a historical slant being produced over and again to sate audience appetites.
We look at what it is that makes these history-themed games so appealing.
A popular theme among content creators
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that historically-themed content isn’t only popular in the board game industry. There are many other examples out there, from TV shows such as The Great to video games and slots.
Let’s use the latter as an example. Of the titles found in the portfolios of popular slot providers, at least 50 percent will typically have a historical setting, even if this is blended with elements of the modern world. The Book of Dead, which sees players raid ancient tombs in search of priceless treasures, is one popular pick. Others include Bonanza, which takes place during the California Gold Rush, and Gonzo’s Quest, set in 1541.
This proves beyond any doubt that those who consume populist content have a real and enduring interest in history and historically themed forms of entertainment in general. So, what factors drive this?
A love of learning
While many of us believe we leave the desire to learn behind when we exit formal education, this is often not the case. Whether we’re aware or not, most of us love to educate ourselves. Our brains are a rich and fertile ground for soaking up new information, and the best way to expand our knowledge is by sparking our interest and doing something we find enjoyable. Historically themed board games help us to do this, teaching interesting new facts while enjoying playing the game and socializing.
A desire for escapism
There’s also an element of escapism. By their very nature, board games are a way to distract ourselves from reality. While history may really have happened, what once existed is still a world apart from where we are now. It blends the familiar with what can feel fantastical, and this often makes it fun to explore.
History can be stranger than fiction
Another reason we love historically themed content is that history has some great stories to share, like these listed by Factinate. The adage that “history can be stranger than fiction” often rings true, and there are many grisly and gruesome happenings that it delights us to learn about.
History has everything: beautiful love affairs, impossible victories, and dark tales to strike terror into our hearts. It also has stories, from fantastical myths and legends to wise and worldly fables. It thus offers rich pickings for those wanting to create a believable and immersive setting for players.
There are so many genres and titles out there when it comes to board games, but those with a historical theme are among the most popular. Above, we’ve explored just a few of the reasons why. If this article has whetted your appetite for more, it might be time you tried a new one or returned to an old favorite.