No image could better introduce myself for a board game blog than that of my shelves. Fresh Ikea wood, just minted this holiday season with some Christmas money. To me, this is a wall of endless entertaining possibilities as well as one of memories. The spine of any given game will remind me of the last time a group of friends and I got together to open that box, and what laughter, betrayal, or grand strategy lay within.
And yet, to most readers this is a wall with no familiar sights. Just a bunch of strange names you have never heard of before. After all, where is Monopoly or Clue, or even an old reliable like Uno on these shelves?
To that I say, I started there too. We all have some kind of board game heritage from our youth. Monopoly games that had to be left in a frozen state overnight, Uno games where we are on the verge of winning until an uncle played a +4 card, or traditional card games with the parents or grandparents. Most of us moved on, with other forms of entertainment taking precedence. Why dive into a board game when Netflix is tempting you to catch up on the last season of House of Cards, or your Xbox controller is sitting forlornly on your couch, or a night on the town is in the cards?
For me it started about 5 years ago. I was bored one fateful Friday night and I wandered into Zombie Planet, a comic and game store on Central Ave. Compared to your usual board game selection at a Target or Walmart, the selection of games in the store seemed strange to me, and it was a bit overwhelming. Curious, I wandered towards the back where a group was playing a space ship building game. Everyone was laughing, clearly having an amazing time as their space ships were torn to bits by the harsh realities of space trucking. I asked them for a recommendation, walked out with a new found prize, and a few weeks later I was back to share the joy of these hobby games with some new found friends.
What I have discovered with board games, and what I want to share with you, is the evolution of those games from our youth. There is a small but growing industry of so called “designer games” where one might seek out a game by the name on the box much like you would look for the latest book by your favorite author.
So who am I apart from my board game shelves? I originally came to the area to go to school at University at Albany, and fell in love with it so much that I have been here ever since. When I am not at the table rolling dice I can be found curling (yes, that strange winter sport with the brooms) or out cycling on the Mohawk-Hudson trail. I work in database account management, but even during the 9 to 5 I can be found talking about last night’s gaming adventures, or trying to pull coworkers together for games at lunch.
My hope with this blog is to shed a light on this growing hobby. I will try to show what makes it tick, and why it is a fantastic decision to set aside a lunch at the office, or skip a Netflix night in in order to explore these cardboard totems, and see what it is they can offer.