It’s never easy explaining a hobby game, for lack of a better term to differentiate mainstream stuff like Monopoly from what you would find in the average local game store, to casual passers-by. They want to know what it’s about and there never seems to be a good way to explain because the goals or theme are so different from what you find in the most well known board games. Usually I try to make a weak analogy, “It’s like this other game you have probably heard of, only different,” and that satisfies them enough to go away feeling like they got an answer.
One night, I played Antike with two others at Muddy Waters. It’s a big ol’ Eurogame about classical Mediterranean civilizations jockeying for territory and power, as they were wont to do. Three or four times, people passing by our table asked what game we were playing. After the first inquirer ventured to ask if it were a version of Risk, that became our go-to answer.
The moment that threw me most was when one person pointed out Israel on the game board. He seemed so pleased by the notion that Israel was a force in a Risk-like game that we didn’t have the nerve to tell him that region wasn’t Israel, per se.