Cardboard Children – The Click

I want to talk about the “click”.

I saw the click just a few days ago, playing a game that the other player hadn’t ever played before. It’s a click you can see, like a switch flipping behind a person’s eyes. What’s better than seeing a person you like finding enjoyment in something? It’s amazing when you see it – really satisfying. Yes, even when that click goes click at a point when the other player is HAMMERING you into the ground. It’s also a click you can feel, and I want to talk about the times I’ve felt it – and I hope you’ll maybe share some of the times you’ve felt the click too.

Click to read on.


What is the click? And what does it have to do with board games? Let’s say that the click is a moment of realisation – a flip from a state of procedural progression to a state of awakened pleasure. When you listen to a piece of music, and that music is just playing there in the background, not distracting you from what you’re doing? That’s fine. That’s always nice. But sometimes, listening to a new piece of music, the click happens, and you turn towards the sound. If you’re reading, your head goes up. If you’re vacuuming, you turn the vacuum off. You stop. The click makes you stop.

“Oh, this is something.”

It’s fitting that we talk about the click on a PC gaming site, because the best PC games made us go click. I remember the point, early in Deus Ex, when I realised that I didn’t need to do what the game was suggesting. I tried something, it worked, and I felt that switch flip inside. It’s not just the realisation that something is special, it’s the realisation that the thing has completely pushed your buttons. “This isn’t just something special, it’s something special for me.”

Skiing in Tribes. Click.

“Get down on the floor!” in SWAT 3. Click.

Opening your eyes in Proteus. Instant Click.

Laying the last block of your first shelter in Minecraft. Click.

And so – board games. Yes. Nothing clicks like a board game clicks. Board games live or die by their clicks.


I’ve been playing Battlefield 4 a lot recently. I mentioned “procedural progression” earlier, and that’s exactly what Battlefield 4 feels like. It’s fun, and it’s something to do, and it tears my days away in half hour chunks. It never clicks. There’s absolutely nothing special in there, not for me anyway. But I like it a lot. I’m explaining this because I want to make it clear that you can enjoy something without feeling any special pull inside you. Not everything flips your switch, and not everything has to.


In Cosmic Encounter, right from the get-go, you realise that the rules you’ve just read and learned are only part of the story. Each unique alien under player control brings new rules and exceptions into the game.

“I can do this.”

“That’s cool, but I can do this.”

In my very first game, when I had to stop and think about how these randomly selected alien powers would affect the whole dynamic? Click.

In Mall Of Horror, a zombie game I’ve spoken about many times in this column, there’s a point in the game where you access a security camera that lets you see where the zombies will attack. This information is secret, and yours alone, and you can share it or lie about it. You can use it to negotiate. It gives you power, and the other players look at you with hatred because of it. And those looks? That moment? That secret knowledge? Everything that will happen because of it? Click.

In Magic: The Gathering, you learn to play by playing. You lay out lands, and generate mana. You spend that mana to get some cool cards out of your hand and onto the table. All you care about is getting a cool monster out there so you can attack your opponent. But then, always, something happens. A couple of cards you know nothing about come into play together and something happens. Some kind of synergy makes itself clear. And your mind just explodes with possibilities. Click.

In Mage Knight, when you realise how flexible your cards are, and how your own mind is the only thing stopping you from getting the best out of every one of your turns. Click.

In Spartacus, when you negotiate for influence to get a card into play, and instantly stab your ally in the back. When you get the chance to thumbs-up or thumbs-down an opponent’s gladiator. When your weak gladiator freakishly beheads a champion in the arena. Click. Click. Clickclickclick.

What I saw a few days ago was a click during a play of Coup. Board games are fun, but many of them are just procedure. I will happily play a game of Cluedo, but I’ll never feel anything. I’m just hitting my marks, like an actor in some hoary old play. Games like Carcassonne are the same. I will play if I must, but I’m just scoring. Just accumulating points. Truly special board games will make you go click. And nothing makes players go click like Coup. Every time I play it with new people, it’s a hit. And every time, I see that moment when the game comes alive. It’s usually when a player realises that you have to be naughty to succeed at Coup. It’s usually when a player realises that success or failure is completely in their own hands.

In Coup, you always have two characters under your control. And every character in the game has a special power. In your turn, you just declare which character you are using, and use the corresponding power. But here’s the deal – here’s the clicker – you don’t have to show your character. You can lie.

“I’m using my Captain to extort two coins from you.” And everyone looks at each other. And someone says “No way do you have a Captain.” And someone else laughs. And that player, that liar, takes the coins and sits back. “Everyone okay with that? No-one challenging me? You all believe me? Cool.”

A smile. A look. A flicker behind the eyes.

A click.


I know many of you like board games. But how many of them have actually made you go click? Can you point us towards the game, and the moment where it happened for you? I’d hate to have missed something that might work for me too.

See you next time for my Game of the Year 2013!


  1. Viceroy Choy says:

    I have Coup but I didn’t read the rules/play test it before bringing it to BG night, thus committing the gravest of sins :( gave up after 2 minutes of trying to read rules and we played Mascarade instead (the only suitable substitute obviously).

    Also I initially thought the article was going to be about be about Netrunner… one can dream..

    • meepmeep says:

      It’s great to play Coup the first time with a bunch of first-timers. The rules are very simple. Then everybody ‘clicks’ at roughly the same time.

      Then come the additional layers of ‘click’ reached on each subsequent round, as people suddenly realise new levels of strategic depth.

      Genius game.

      • Viceroy Choy says:

        I should have clarified that I demand EVEN MORE netrunner articles ;b

  2. Hunchback says:

    We recently bought The Village, and it’s great. Quite surprising and different than what you might expect of a board game…

    • ulix says:

      You probably mean “Village” (no “The”)?
      I quite like it. It does interesting things with the worker-placement formula.

  3. siamezefun says:

    There are lots of examples for me, but one of the greatest by far is Chaos in the Old World, basically an area control game with very soft touches of battle between players. It’s an absolute burner with 4 players once you figure out the fine nuances differentiating the 4 evil gods of chaos you are playing as. Note only does it deliver a great, subtle feel of the theme that is woven around the mechanics, it is also balanced to a point where I would almost call it perfect. You know, like Blizzard does with their games.

    • Kemuel says:

      Did you have trouble with Nurgle running rings around everyone? Or was that just our group? I think that dude clicked, but the rest of us just got fed up on having to all chase around trying to keep him suppressed.

      • Leandro says:

        I was going to mention Chaos in the Old World. At one point late during his first game a friend of mine was trying to decide between putting down an unit or a card. Like him, everybody else was submerged in thought, considering branching possibilities, performing risk/reward calculations, just overwhelmed by the amount of choice and the cleverness of the cards and how deeply the gods interact. He looked up, nodding, with a smile on his face; “Man, this game…” we all knew what he meant.

        Also, Nurgle rarely wins in my games. Reading the threads at BGG you can see each group considers a different god the “best”. The mark of a truly well-balanced game, right there. The metagame will probably decide if a god has an advantage, but metagame changes faster than Tzeentch’s favorite Cornetto flavour.

  4. Sweedums says:

    Cosmic encounter was a big one, the first time i played it (not that long ago, i bought it just before christmas) i played with my brother and one of his mates, we were all playing for the first time, my brother got the race that means he has to take a new alien card every time he loses an encounter. It was such a great card to get because in our very first game we went through a bunch of alien cards thanks to his power. Also, we used the classic filch card, and when he was called on cheating it was the most hilarious thing as I only just realised he had stolen all the good encounter cards from the table over the last few turns. There were many clicks that game, thanks to the many aliens.

    Another great one is Dixit, pretty much every time I introduce a new player, theres a few minutes of “errr… ok… i think i get it”… and then we finish the first round and give out points and it turns into “oooohhhhh thats really cool!”

    Also, a few rounds into the game of thrones boardgame, we hit a critical moment where we voted on the three influence tracks and then it REALLY clicked as we realised the impact of what we were betting on and how it would affect the next few turns.

    DayZ continued to click for me pretty much every time i played for a good few months, but the last single player PC game i remember clicking for me was actually Skyrim, i cant remember exactly what it was, i think it was when someone, who’s wife or husband i had killed, sent an assassin after me and it just really gave me a sense of… i am a part of this world… that was a great feeling, played it to death.

  5. Porkolt says:

    Recently I played Wings of War (recently re-released as Wings of Glory) for the first time. The guy I was playing with was explaining the rules. I asked him, ‘so which plane do I pick’? He says ‘well, there’s all sorts of different decks and it makes a big difference’. I feel uninterested in getting into all that, so I just pick a box at random and pull out the plane and my deck. I picked Hermann Göring. Click.

    Playing Netrunner for the first time, I was making runs on servers the second an advancement token appeared on the card installed there. My opponent was playing Jinteki. I accessed a server with two advancement tokens. It turned out to be a Project Junebug card. I’d just lost. Click.

    Deducing missing details about a card you know only a little about in Hanabi by looking at everyone else’s hands and the discard pile, and then playing it on the correct pile without looking first like a boss. Click.

    Learning a lot about the history of the Cold War by playing Twilight Struggle for the first time. Click.

    • Car to Pol says:

      When I read the name of this article, the only thing I could think of was Netrunner. Three clicks a turn, playing as the corp in its most bluff-heavy incarnation. I was on the other side of a similar table, having just installed a Project Junebug (click) and advanced it twice (clickclick). I had my poker face on, but my heart was in my throat. He ran, he died. I wasn’t just playing the part, I was acting the part.

  6. Wrex says:


    When you’re playing Jinteki and realise your strength lies in the mind games. The runner thinks he figured you out and then he runs into a trap that deals just enough net damage to kill him … and then he realises you figured him out. Click.

    Also Shogun. When you’re attacking anyone, capturing their provinces and commanding the largest army in Japan… and then you score last and realise it’s not necessarily a war game.

  7. mechabuddha says:

    I love Mage Knight to death, even if I have to cheat and give myself an extra in-game day to beat it.

    There’s something about how the cards work that makes the game delightfully variable. The fact that each card gets two different functions depending on how you play it is awesome. And that each card actually has a third function if you somehow can’t get the first two to work for you that turn makes every card have some value. Oh! And the game is both cooperative and competitive at the same time.

  8. chiablo says:

    Mage Knight Board game:

    Someone spent the last 30 minutes figuring out the optimal way to defeat an opponent with the cards he drew. It’s still the first day. Click! “This game is going to take 8 hours to play.”

  9. therighttoarmbears says:

    For my wife and I, recently, Agricola. This first is not universally applicable, but she had been asking me to play it every once in a while for the last week or so. Then one day we had a rough day, I suggested playing, and she brightened up for the rest of the afternoon – HUGE click. When we figured out how to exploit the daylights out if professions and minor improvements? Another click. And then finally, when we realized we were playing it wrong and struggling hard to get resources that were supposed to have been building up between turns (all the ones with arrows toward the resource – we hadn’t been adding extras on to the unused ones like we were supposed to)? Addiction-level click. So much more is possible! Now we want to mostly just play this game out of all our collection. Can’t recommend it highly enough as a “couples” game.

    I’d also like to second the person above who mentioned Dixit. Our “non-gaming” friends all suddenly get hugely competitive once those mechanics of trying to hijack someone else’s “Story” click.

    • jingies says:

      I can also recommend the two player mini version, Agricola: All Creatures Great and Small, it’s very well suited to a quicker two player game.

      Essentially a mini agricola, where the aim is to compete to build up the biggest animal farm, without having to worry about growing/feeding family. It’s all about piling the animals in, and maximising points.

  10. Kemuel says:

    Playing Small World for the first time I had the declining rules explained to me before we started, and I just didn’t get them.

    Why would you give up all your territory to take on another race? When would you decided to do that? When a better power combination shows up? Or when there’s something more useful for the current state of play? It didn’t seem to make sense.

    Two turns in and my dwarves are stretched thin. I’m occupying as much territory as is physically possible, and I’ve run out of tiles to expand with. How the hell am I supposed to continue gaining gold now? My opponents have outpaced me because they have more tiles, but I don’t have the numbers to attack them at all. I must be missing something… Click.

  11. Prolar Bear says:

    Playing Munchkin and successfully stealing good cards from the deck, unnoticed. Clickityclick.

    • Voidsheep says:

      Realizing I can buff a monster a fellow munchkin would otherwise have beaten and then offer to help with unreasonable demands, with a smug grin on my face. CLICK!

  12. forddent says:

    Netrunner clicked for me, and clicked hard, the second or third time I played it. I’d just thrown together a shaper deck with some criminal and anarch cards in for good measure. Hit my opponent’s archive and came away with two agendas I’d unwittingly forced him to discard earlier. CLICK.

    Eldritch Horror also clicked for me as soon as I was forced to abide by a Dark Pact and murder one of my fellow investigators. It was wonderful, especially because I hadn’t looked to see what the Dark Pact was going to make me do so it was a shock to everyone.

  13. FranzBorges says:

    Nice article! I feel you’re describing an intense level of involvement. Great book on the subject you might find interesting: link to

  14. DinosaurOverload says:

    Going to have to say Lifeboat. Similarly to Coup, it clicks with friends I introduce to it when they realize that they can and WILL lie to everyone to accomplish their goal of survival, survival for their randomly determined loved one, and the death of their bitter arch-rival.

  15. Everblue says:

    Playing Battlestar Galactica and drawing a “You are a Cylon” card at the start of the game. It immediately dawns on me that my character happens to be the Admiral, in charge of secretly choosing the destination every time we warp. Four catastrophic jumps later, the humans are in deep trouble clickclickclick.

  16. jarowdowsky says:

    I know Agricola picks up a bit of flak these days but it properly dragged me back into boardgaming a few years back.

    The first time playing with a group of people, and it’s obvious – it’s right there on the board, when they suddenly realise that they can grow their families but at the same time the food demands increase faster and faster as the game moves on.

    Instantly everyone changed from casually building their little sim-farm to eyeing every resource and action hungrily, determined they weren’t going to be dragged down into famine like their neighbours. For a game with so little interaction, it suddenly became damn personal and the game was never the same since.

    • acheron says:

      If anyone is giving any “flak” to Agricola I want them caught and shot now. Fantastic game.

      • jarowdowsky says:

        Couldn’t agree more – though can’t wait to try Caverna, which sounds like it expands wonderfully on the basic premise.

  17. Alabaster Crippens says:

    City of Remnants (I bore everyone on Shut up and sit down about this constantly, so now I’m trying over here).
    I can’t remember my own click, I think it got smudged by the excitement of reading the rules. I have to say, I do love a good ‘rulebook click’ where you don’t even start playing, and a particularly element just makes you do the little click noise, that feeling, and the slow spread of a smile.

    Anyway, everyone I’ve played City of Remnants is baffled for the first turn. It’s straightforward enough a game to pick up (if you’ve got some game literacy already, it basically borrows all of its individual elements) , but there are a lot of different simple elements that you have to figure out how they sit together.
    Around the second turn, everyone I’ve played with does a click. They spot that they’re building a machine, largely in terms of deck building, but that this abstracted deck also has a geographical layer on the map. And everything is part of the same game. And the police are going to stomp randomly every turn. And we have to fight each other.
    It’s all click.
    I love the theme of that game, but I think that the ‘lots of simple-ish mechanics delicately tied together’ that sells it. Once people spot the interlocks, and how much power each chance to perform an action gives you.

    Then there’s Game of Thrones (board, not card, game), when someone told me that you were allowed to look at your opponents hand of house cards at any point. That was utter bafflement followed by complete and total click.
    It’s the most tense thing, going into combat knowing exactly the full range of possible outcomes, but having to bluff and mindread to get the one you want. Beautifully tense (although it can slow the game down quite considerably).

    Cutthroat Caverns: The first time someone tripped someone else up before a killing blow: click.
    The first time three players edged each other out, then the remaining player got tripped by one of the bitter edged, only to get hit and then win the round on a counter-strike: super-click

    • Josh W says:

      Also city of remnants, where I looked around for the turn marker thinking that we’d barely made any progress on getting victory points beyond setting up, and realised that the victory points were the turn marker, so we could naturally go as fast or slow as we liked.

      And when I was playing humans, and realised that so long as I didn’t have to fight anyone, I could keep looping through my deck and recruiting most of the people, including people who gave me free actions! If anyone had started to fight me my deck’s engine would have gummed up, but I was standing there with a massive army and 12 cards in hand, so no-one realised that would wreck me.

  18. Winged Nazgul says:

    Or that moment when you think you are just reading another article on that RPS site.


  19. Shockeh says:

    Battlestar Galactica – This only happened last week.

    When you’re an unrevealed Cylon, and you realise the suspicion is on another player who you’re also quite confident is a Cylon, and to confirm your trustworthiness, you poison the skill checks that they’re taking part in just to frame them, have them imprisoned and executed, and watch them bitterly complain they’re the only Cylon for the next hour of gameplay.

    As a consequence of this, you’re the Golden Child (and a little click occurs there once you realise.) You’re rock solid. You’re the bedrock of the team. Suddenly, a Crisis comes up that transfers the Admiralty to you; ‘No matter’ your unsuspecting ‘team mates’ proclaim, and they go about their business. Then, two turns later, the Fleet jumps, and cooly as possible, you draw from the Destination deck, and fly the entire Human fleet in one turn into the sun.

    At the precise moment their eyes flicker from dismay at the ‘unfortunate outcome’ to ‘Oh God he couldn’t be…’ into outright anger, that’s it. Right there, at that moment, you are the Saboteur God, and there is no better feeling, no matter how much more effectively you could have taken them out by being a more malevolent presence, because you didn’t just win the game, you destroyed their spirit in the process. Click.

  20. JonClaw says:

    I remember the first time where I clicked in Dominion. Those Village combos… Click, indeed.

  21. mseifullah says:

    During my second game of Ticket to Ride last year, it just clicked. TTR was my gateway to me becoming a cardboard children.

    Also, I’ve been interested in Mage Knight but I’m a forever alone and it’s awfully expensive and a quick rules summary that I heard made it seem awfully complex. Is it a game worth getting if I’m mostly going to be playing solo? Can I get some “if you like [blank] and/or [blank], you’ll like Mage Knight.”

    • Bladderfish says:

      It’s hard to compare anything to Mage Knight because has it has elements of various game types – deck building, strategy, role playing and exploration to name a few. But anyone who enjoys complexity and a challenge should enjoy it. A simple game it is not; an easy game it is not – but why would anyone play a solo game that was either of these things?

      As for the price, you get a lot in the box, and it’s high quality stuff. I always judge a board game on how many years down the line I’ll still be playing it. I could see myself playing MK when I’m an old man.

  22. mineshaft says:

    We had our Coup click last Friday. 4, then 3 of us played it at level 1, then we figured out how to lie, then we figured out how to bait each other. We played for 2 hours straight. I like The Resistance better, but it’s got the same yomi in a more compact package.

    I’ve had plenty of clicks on the Resistance. One early one was being the one person everyone knows must be blue, making everyone write down their spy guesses, then turning over Mordred. Figuring out the game. Finding Merlin. it never gets old.

  23. Velko says:

    You didn’t say “Hello youse”! I’m not reading this filth.

    • tormos says:

      He didn’t say “Stay dicey” at the end either (although i’ve pretty much given up hope of seeing that make its triumphant return). DANGEROUS AND WRONG

  24. Corwin71 says:

    I was obsessed with “Nine Prices in Amber,” the Telarium text adventure game, to the point that I used to “map” it (which was more of a plot diagram than a geophysical map) when I was supposed to be paying attention in school, and worked out possible plot divergences as I went from place to place. This was back when games didn’t cost millions of dollars to make, and therefore could incorporate true alternate paths. More often than not, my “what if I do this, before Random arrives and without Flora knowing my true intentions?” speculations would actually work when I went home and tried them. I’ve never felt more freedom in a game since.

  25. grom.5 says:

    If you like this kind of games, you should also try Mascarade from Bruno Faidutti. It’s simple and yet really fun.

    To be short, it’s the same kind of “I’m the king… Someone dare to challenge me about this fact ?” but with a nice touch. You can exchange your card with someone. Or not. You pick both cards and after you give one back without saying who is who.

    And with this simple rule, you have a game of “you know that I know that you know that the king is not here but you know that so…. GAHHHH”

    Here is more information : link to

    P.S : Did I mention that you can play from 2 to 13 persons at the same time ? It’s quite a funny mess when you’re that many

  26. gwathdring says:

    Mascarade–the first time I genuinely forgot which card was which while swapping them under the table.

    Cosmic Encounter–the game where I played as Fido and … came nowhere near winning, but had a hell of a fun time being everyone’s favorite friendly puppy dog, sorting through trash and handing the nice people nice cards.

    Space Alert–that moment during resolution when first time players see the consequences of a screw up? The first real screw up? The card played wrong, the computer we forgot to jiggle, the cadet running haplessly into a wall? That first screw up that sends us all to hell? Everyone I’ve ever played with clicks right there. Most people click before that, too, of course–when some of the threats come up. “Wait, you have to shoot it HOW many times?” Or that moment DURING play when you realize no one filled up the damn reactor and you can’t remember how screwed you are or that moment where you lose track of how many shots you’ve pumped into this or that enemy. Space Alert is almost entirely constructed out of click. Those moments of “Oh. OH. OHHHHH. Shit, guys?” But it hits everyone during that first mistake of the mission, when you KNOW you’re probably going to die.

    Rampage clicked for me the moment I took it out of the box when I found the bat signal on one of the roof tiles. Then it clicked again as I read the special powers. “Wait, I can pick up another monster and chuck it at buildings?” And then again was I started to realize just how difficult all of the various simple maneuvers were to pull off effectively. And as with all dexterity games … there are those freak incidents. Or not-so-freak incidents. But the first time, say, a monster’s feet disk gets wedged under another monster instead of knocking it over or the first time a monster just plops to the ground upright after you send it’s feet out from under it, or the first time your simple shot with the disk sends it careening off ten different things and right back to where it started.

    Ghost Stories is also pretty much all click. Every turn past the early game is a ruthless puzzle. That feeling as the game starts getting too crazy for you to handle, and you start wracking your brain and coming up with crazy plans … it’s intoxicating.

    The moment where you realize, in any strategy game (Cyclades, Risk, Game of Thrones), you can talk your way out of trouble and play people against each other? Glorious. There’s this particular sensation when you grok exactly how someone else perceives the situation and the mechanics–not how the game works, per se, but how they SEE how the game works. And then you find a hand-hold. And then you pry that knowledge open as wide as it goes, scramble inside their head and play them against everyone else or against you where you’re strongest.

    The moment in Space Cadets where you explain everyone’s station is pretty lovely. And then you get to explain Core Breaches the first time a damage deck runs out. Bam. Beautiful. Ooh. The first time Shift Change comes up in the damage deck? Also beautiful. Really, the whole damage-dealing experience. “Wait … it absorbs an energy?” “Weapons, you have to close your eyes when you fire.”

    I could keep going. :D RPGs, too. God, Apocalypse World is so full of those moments. Most RPGs are, because there’s always that moment where it clicks with a player just how much freedom they have. But even mechanically there’s that moment in a FATE game where a party realizes they can stack aspects and tag everything for utterly stupid rolls. Apocalypse World and related games are the richest here, for me. when players read the playbooks and find THAT move. The move that makes them go “Holy shit, I’m going to be THIS motherfucker.” Lovely.

  27. Cinek says:

    Game of Thrones board game for me.

    As for Netrunner that some many people list here – I don’t know…. It never “clicked” for me. I tried a few runs, but never really enjoyed this game much. That might be because I do something similar every day – defend corporations from “netrunners” – so that game feels a bit like “yet another dude tries to turn computers into some sort of magic” what always pisses me off. Hollywood BS all over again.

  28. Premium User Badge

    It's not me it's you says:

    Every time we play Pandemic with a new player for the first time. The moment the infection deck gets reshuffled and put back on top – there’s gears turning in that person’s head and then, inevitably, their eyes light up in understanding of Exactly How Fucking Brilliant that one mechanic is.

    It never fails.

    • Heath says:

      Pandemic! I remember the first solid Click as I the first epidemic struck, and I realized the heavy weight of truth: this game is trying it’s best to beat me!! To beat us all!! We must band together and stop this mighty beast of a game from winning.

      That specific mechanic: put all of the discarded cities back ON TOP of the deck. I’d read the rules several times prior to playing. I’d even watched it played on TableTop. But when it happened to me the first time, I still feel like a malicious intelligence has bent itself against me. And I can tell that my friends and family feel the same way when I first introduce it to them.

      I’ve probably played it over 50 times now (got it in late 2013), and it’s my favorite game of all time. I just beat it on hard (6 epidemics) for the first time today, and it was glorious!

      Dixit also has some solid click moments, when new players realize they can submit ANYTHING to the group as a clue. Things escalate fast in Dixit :)

  29. 88GJS88 says:

    Game of Thrones Card Game was a good one of these for me. The first time you realise the importance of intrigue and manage to beat a Stark player because you stop him getting any cards even though a newbie will assume victory comes through kills. The first time you win with a decent Baratheon rush deck who can go from last to victory in one turn. So many other individual cards that appear at the right moment to suddenly become vital when they previously didn’t make sense for you.

    Pandemic has a very obvious one too – the first time you have to put cards back on top of the draw deck and realise just how much reoccurring pain that is going to cause you. Clever game mechanics like that always give me the click.

  30. grodit says:

    My biggest 2 boardgame clicks is are both with game of thrones. The first click was when we discovered the power of text messages, or the “oh look, I received a raven” as we like to call it.

    The second moment it clicked is the second time we played as it was a moment of total deception and backstabbery. I was doing rather poorly as the Greyjoys trying to fight both the lannisters and the starks. Having no fleet, the starks could never hope to finish me either. So I made a public deal with the Stark player: you can have the east side of the neck, and I the west side and we won’t fight each other over it and both go south. I then made a secret deal with the lannister player stating that I would only attack him in such ways that i would always lose the combat, provided that he didn’t run down my armies or use swords and vice versa. Thanks to this mock war we were both expending our crappy cards quickly and using the good ones against more important targets, and everyone thought we hated each others guts :-). Then we both moved on an overextended stark in turn 9 :-). I got my 7th castle first only because I was 1 position higher on the track than the lannister player :-). Unfortunately this cost me my reputation as a trustworthy player and haven’t won since. It’s been over a year now.

  31. jomurph86 says:

    Tales of Arabian Nights clicked when my wife began miming out her crippled, wounded, beast formed Scheherazade attempting to seduce a love-sick prince. We stopped using points to determine a “winner” and began using them as a timer instead. Best choice ever.

    Dominion was our first game that really clicked for us. It started, yes, with endless village play, but really CLICKED for me when we started looking for the ridiculous “this is never going to work” combos.

    I just realized that usually a game clicks for me when it stops being about winning and becomes about the experience. (Crusader Kings 2 in the non-boardgame realm)

  32. FunkyBadger3 says:

    Playing Resistance for the first time.

    Third or so hand I sussed that the guy who owned the game was setting me up. He was the spy, but was making it look like me. In two turns he was going to win becasue of it. I had him sussed.

    And couldn’t tell a soul. Becuase they wouldn’t believe me, because he’d framed me as the spy.

    Eye contact was made, “I know what you’re doing,” I said, “and it’s briliant.”

    And so’s the game.

    • Arathain says:

      I had a fun moment playing The Resistance for the first time this winter. Only the owner of the game had played before, so naturally he was talking quite a bit the first couple of times we played. I drew Resistance every game that session. The first time he was also Resistance, and he guided our approach, while still elucidating some of the possibilities for the spies to keep things fair. A tough line, and he did a good job. The second time he backed it off a little, which was appropriate as we all saw how the game worked. But I was uneasy. He was being just a bit too careful with what he said. Not by much. But he’d talked so much during the first game that I had him pretty well calibrated.

      It was hugely satisfying to be right- he was a spy. I felt like a mind reader. Click.

  33. Arathain says:

    Cheating a bit in the boardgames front, but Hearthstone had a couple of good clicks for me. One was the raw hook of outwitting another human and seeing their plans crumble. It was shortly after I started playing- my first try at Arena. A Warlock was hammering me with a couple of powerful demons out on the board. I had nothing. I was going to lose in two turns. She played another demon, which removed the first two, adding their strength together in one massive horror. I played a cheap minion with silence, an ability which removes all buffs on a unit, leaving that demon with only its meager base stats, that earlier pair gone forever. She conceded on the spot. I didn’t stop giggling for a couple of minutes. Click.

    That was visceral. The later click was when I realised I’d been thinking about the game wrong. I had been seeing it as a game about spending your mana efficiently. I would make sure I tried to do something every turn that would use my mana, assuming that was the only way to keep momentum on my side. I watched Day9 play a few games, and without it being explicitly explained I came to understand that mana efficiency took a back seat to card efficiency. Holding good counters and building combos was way more important, and not coincidentally from a design perspective, more fun to play. Click.

  34. Deano2099 says:

    A lot of the modern Fantasy Flight games which have resource dials that you have to assemble before you play the game, by popping a little plastic spoke through the card into another plastic cap.


  35. Deano2099 says:

    Part of the brilliance of Risk: Legacy is that clicks about three times as different stuff comes up which suddenly changes how the game works and things that didn’t make sense before suddenly become clear.

    Similarly part of the joy in LCGs is that moment of realisation as you see the new cards and it slowly dawns exactly how they’ll effect your own game.

  36. Grargh says:

    Robo Rally clicked for me when I was just reading the rules, and a lot harder when the first robots threw each other off course and finished their carefully chosen move sequences in lasers or bottomless pits. All players play simultaneously – click. Opportunity cards let you mess up everyones plans even more – click. The game is often the most fun when you are doing absolutely miserable – holy clicking click!

    Then there’s the Duke, which I learned of from this column and which also gradually unveils its full brilliance click by click as you play it.

    Also have to agree with many of the games mentioned above, so many moments of glorious realization!

  37. 12GaugeRampage says:

    It’s funny that you should mention Carcassonne, because the moment I realized I could build into other players features and leverage our mutual interests into finishing massive cites I never could have completed on my own was a huge Click for me. If you play it right, there is a whole other level of social interaction and bartering in that game that I think goes completely unnoticed by most players.