Boxed Culture: Cubical Tactics


Someone came into the shop the other day and asked what game would be good to play in a cubicle farm. After a short amount of thought the one we had in the shop that I thought would fit best was Zombie Dice. It can be passed around, each players turn is (at least in the initial base game I have played) independent of each other players turn, and it is easy to pick up and put down. However, after the gentleman left I was not convinced that was the only board game that would work well in a cube. So I went on a soul searching journey for game that could easily be played in a cubicle ridden environment. This is that journey.

Sometimes a bunch of dice a and cup is all you need.

Sometimes a bunch of dice a and cup is all you need.

I started trying to determine what type of game would work well in a cubicle environment. A lot of types are right out the window initially. Deck builders have to many cards and while some have independent turns, this does not last for long when you start to get expansions or introduce modals. Any game with any kind of board is also out as the board needs a table that sits between most players and most cubicle farms do not permit this. This also kind of takes the independent turn element out as a determining factor in play, as a bunch or euros have independent turns but also have high table real estate requirements. So I drifted into the game I had chosen initially, Zombie Dice. This game is a push your luck game much like Farkle or Yahtzee. While those games can both be played and were suggested, I think we can do better. Push your luck may be the ticket!

DMD

A Hook Hand and a Cigar…woah man…woah

So I picked another push your luck game that we had at the shop, Dead Man’s Draw, a pirate based, card drawing push your luck game. This game could be put into a deck box an draws could be pulled from a set side of the box. “Perfect, this will work great!”, I said to my self, but then I remembered that some of the cards in DMD have player interaction effects, The Sword and The Cannon mainly. So that means that players would have to have knowledge of other players score cards. While the could be done via in office chat it kinda of defeats the purpose. So it turns out that not all push your luck games will work. Why can’t things in life be easy?!?!

So I decided to use my helpful friend, The Internet, to find out what other people think. I got about  as far as MTV’s article on 9 Secret Games You Can Play to Make Work Suck Less and decided I may be alone here. However, the search did point me in an interesting direction, perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way. Perhaps the individual could use some type of computer to play a game on, separate from their work computer. A device that could emulate board games, making almost any game’s turns independent, that would keep track of information so it is easy to pick up and put down, and also makes it easier to pass around. Yes my friends I am talking about an iPad.

While these iPaas may look old I promise you there are still releasing board games on the AppleStore for the new iPads.

While these iPads may look old I promise you there are still releasing board games on the AppleStore for the new iPads.

It initially made me kinda of sad to have to resort to board game apps as a means for inter-cubicle gaming but as I continued to think about it I really did begin to appreciate the nuance of digital board games. We have literally made a system where we can have fun with normally impossible to play at work games. This is inherently beautiful to me.

The whole thought process was a a journey indeed. However I looped back around on my self and wanted to make sure to clarify that you should be working at work and board games at work should be most likely approved by supervisors in downtime, if at all. The person who initially asked worked in a call center and said there was lots of down time in between calls. So I felt less bad helping him out.

Or you know you could just get good like this famous guy!

Or you know you could just get good like this famous guy!

So what do you think about cubicle gaming? Any ideas I missed? Am I a jerk and a horrible guy for helping people be less efficient at work? Let me know what you think in the comments. See ya next time!

-Kyle

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