Rolling the dice on new board games
THERE'S a revolution afoot in the old-fashioned world of board games.
Popular classics such as Monopoly and Risk - once the mainstay of rainy holidays - may be losing ground to a new crop of games emerging from Europe.
The new generation of games, colloquially dubbed "euro-style", are similar empire-building games like Monopoly, but fans say they're faster, fairer and more fun.
The rock star of this latest trend is Klaus Teuber's Settlers of Catan, which has sold 15 million copies since its release in 1995 and trans- lated into 30 languages.
Liam Fraser-Quick, owner of Lismore's board and card game specialty store Overdrive Gaming, said he chose not to sell Monopoly because so many people were getting into the euro-style game revolution - and Settlers of Catan is his number-one seller.
"If anyone asks me what game to get if they've got children, Catan is an obvious choice," Mr Fraser-Quick said.
"It's very easy to learn. It has such a small rule book, you don't really need to go into detail, but it's got absolute playability - the board is different every time you play the game."
"Monopoly has so many design problems … it makes the game boring to play for people who are on the losing end … and it goes for so long - most of the time you are sitting there doing nothing," Mr Fraser-Quick said.
"Catan is full of exciting moments; every roll of the dice something can drastically change in the game."
Trent Boyd, 25, has been into board games his whole life, but since playing his first euro-style game five years ago he's been hooked. He's a big fan of Settlers of Catan as well as other cult hits such as Ticket to Ride.
"I think the big change from older games like Monopoly to the euro-style games is the level of randomness has been curtailed to benefit every player … and you have a lot more choice and power," Mr Boyd said.
"For example, the resources in Catan are generating randomly, but what you do with those resources is up to you and can really influence the game."
Pundits are now predicting Settlers of Catan to be the classic of the 21st century, with the Washington Post describing it as "the board game of our time".
"I don't think there's ever going to be a time when people won't play Settlers of Catan … it's now such a classic that people will always love it," Mr Boyd said.