One of the things that inevitably happens if you play games long enough is that you accumulate stories, particularly if you play with the same group of people most of the time. Of course, some games are stories in and of themselves. (Really, any RPG game can be described that way.) What I mean are the accidental stories that become part of your personal mythology of your group.
Nine times out of ten, these stories will bore anyone who wasn’t involved to tears but sometimes you get lucky are they actually might entertain a stranger
As usual, I found myself thinking about this sort of thing after a D&D session where my elf, through a series of bad rolls and alchemical accidents and poor choice of words, got permanently changed into a copy of a bugbear who was based on Adolph Hitler, down to the mustache. In that moment, you could tell what everyone was thinking. “You lucky bastard. We’ll be talking about the curse for years to come.”
The fact that I’m ethnically Jewish only makes the whole thing even more wonderfully absurd.
But, as I already said, role playing games kind of lend themselves to this sort of thing. There is a reason they sell t-shirts that say “Don’t tell me about your character” for people to wear at conventions.
However, the truth of the matter is that whenever you get a group of people who have been doing ANYthing long enough, they will have a history of anecdotes and stories. Get a group of hunters or bowlers or chemists together and you’ll hear about the time that Fred accidentally broke a thousand dollars’ worth of glassware. Please note that the example can be applied to any of those three groups
You can measure your acceptance in a group by your relationship with these stories. At first, you’re being told the stories. Then, you come a part of these stories. Finally, you’re one of the bastards who’s boring people by telling the stories.
Certain board games lend themselves to story-telling. A lot of the games that Fantasy Flight puts out, games that are currently being officially referred to as Themed Games (perhaps Themed Games with Lots of Aggression would be a better term ), lend themselves to turning into stories. In part because they tend to tell stories and in part because when the long chance pays off, it tends to be memorable.
I’m not much of a fan of the Battlestar Galactica game anymore. Turns tend to feel too much alike and suspicions in the game tended to turn into hard feelings in real life. However, I do happily remember humanity being in good shape for the first half of a game, only for half the table to turn out to be cylons in the second half. A second half that lasted approximately five minutes. I might not want to play the game again but I do treasure that memory.
I think every group has a game that just lends itself to memorable experiences. It could be BSG or Android or Settlers of Catan or Advanced Squad Leader.
I don’t think there is a specific game that will work for all groups. I think there has to be a special chemistry between a specific game and the various personalities that make up that group.
In my experience, Shadows Over Camelot is the game that turns into stories. It has a combination of interesting theme and quick mechanics and player interaction that just clicks in the right way for the people I play with. However, that’s just for us. I’m sure everyone reading this has their own way of discovering their stories.