Some video games are so beautiful you can't help stopping to spin the camera every once in a while. The sun-baked vistas of Firewatch, the gorgeous sunsets of Sea of Thieves, the weather-responsive horse balls of Red Dead Redemption 2.
You get these arrestingly beautiful games in tabletop, too, only rather than stopping to spin the camera you find yourself gawping at bits of cardboard. Opening a good-looking board game for the first time, you find yourself suddenly slowing down - handling each piece gently, as though it might break. It's a strange, fetishistic way to show appreciation for something, but it's every bit as potent as a breathtaking tableau in a video game.
Opening Parks for the first time was a surprisingly poignant experience. Every bit of this game is a delight to look at, from the genuinely exquisite card art to the enamelled First Hiker token. The design is lavish almost to the point of obscenity and it's no exaggeration to say my colleague Wheels and I cooed over it for about five minutes.
To return to our video game analogy for a second, though, beautiful games can also be absolute turkeys. The Order 1886 has a beautiful aesthetic, but it's also a load of toot. The same goes for Flower, and some people think Sea of Thieves is rubbish (and they are wrong). So it goes with board games - occasionally a game can look brilliant and play absolutely appallingly. Other times, a mostly fine game can be elevated by its assets to a level of prominence it otherwise wouldn't attain. Splendor is actually a pretty great game, but I wouldn't like it nearly as much if it weren't for the quality of the assets (clay poker chips hit the deck with a clunk that really can't be bested).
Thankfully, Parks is a good game in its own right, as well as being absolutely stunning. I've done a full video review if you fancy giving that a watch, but for now let's just take a moment to appreciate how pretty this thing is. As former Eurogamer staffer Chris Bratt would say, phwoooooooar.