Music and Board Games

I hope to combine various soundtracks effectively with board games and report on the way that music can heighten the senses, and the mental juices, while playing a board game with some friends.

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Pandemic and Koyaanisqatsi

Nate Downs
United States
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For me, this is the bar to which all combinations of music and gaming will seek to meet and hopefully surpass.

Although I am sure everyone at this site has heard of Pandemic, someone who is new to board games may find themselves struggling to understand the concept. For those of you that are new to the game (and perhaps even board games), Pandemic is cooperative game in which all players are unified in achieving the goal.

Board Game: Pandemic

To this end, Pandemic is a study of the basic functions of various professions within the Center for Disease Control. Not only is the subject of the game topical, but allowing oneself as a player to embrace it creates a very dynamic tension. In fact, you may even feel that your actions as a group are truly critical for the survival of entire cultures.

The actual game play of Pandemic is relatively innovative and elegant, and there are (too) many excellent reviews of the game for a new user to read through. Essentially, each turn a player has a chance to do some good things, then, as in a potential pandemic situation, the disease spreads. This repeats until the game is either won by the players, or until the diseases have become rampant and unstoppable.

This mood is precisely why Koyaanisqatsi works so well.

From gallery of casperthegoth

Koyaanisqatsi, I suspect, has its fans on this site, but I am unsure of what a Venn Diagram of BGGers to Koyaanisqatsi fans would look like.

The film itself is beautifully shot. It comprises of famous imagery, unknown imagery, all tied together beautifully by director Godfrey Reggio. Although the images are fantastic, the music may be what the film is best known for, a score by Philip Glass.

The score ebbs and flows, much like the imagery, from intense sequences to pristine, meditative moments of pleasure. All reflecting the central theme, of both the film and the game Pandemic: "Life Out of Balance".

Below is a YouTube video for Prophecies, from the soundtrack. It is the climax of the film, and generally of the game itself, when the most critical decisions are being made.

If watching the film, one will see a rocket, exploded, and tumbling to the Earth. It so achingly echoes the fall from grace that happens frequently in Pandemic. Diseases everywhere, hope is but a solitary glimmer...

If we dig precious things from the land,
We will invite disaster.

Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs
Spun back and forth in the sky.

A container of ashes might one day be thrown
From the sky, which could burn the land
And boil the oceans.

Length of Music to Game:


Quality of Game:

Quality of Music:

Other Suggestions for Music During Pandemic (I will add your best suggestions to this list)

No suggestions yet.

Other Suggestions if you like Koyaanisqatsi:

Philip Glass: Glassworks
Philip Glass has also done some excellent scores for Errol Morris films.
Philip Glass and Godfrey Reggio collaborated on three other films; Anima Mundi, Powaqqatsi, Naqoyqatsi ( all are good, however I prefer Koyaanisqatsi to them all )

Please note, my ratings are based on opinion. Please feel free to discuss and elaborate on your own opinions.
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Tue Feb 8, 2011 6:57 am
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