Published on March 24th, 2014 | by Luke Turpeinen1
One Year Strong!
As we enter into our second year of writing for Across the Board Games, some of us have decided to share what it is that we really love about board games.
Thank You For Your Support!
On March 24th 2013 we launched Across the Board Games, a love letter to our favorite games and hobbyists. We weren’t sure how fast it would grow or if anyone would even be especially interested in our thoughts. Our site is still small, but it’s a lot larger than we ever thought it would be! It’s great to be contributing to such a great hobby that is full of such creative, intelligent people.
It’s really this blurry creator/consumer line that makes me love the board game subculture so much! The amount of fan input and involvement in the creation and discussion of board games is really unique in the hobby scene. People who play computer games discuss them a lot, and mod communities exist to re-purpose engines and systems. But in the board game community people take ideas they like from one game and use it to publish their own idea. Our indy scene is healthy and active and, with Kickstarter, the indy market is just as valid of a career path as the traditional publisher route: perhaps more so.
The people of board gaming have, far and away, been the best part of board games for me. Maybe I am just fortunate (and if not, I certainly feel so) to have a group of people so freely open their arms up to me. When I first moved to this city, I knew only one person, and he, like any well-acclimated human, found friends quickly. Friend-making had never been a class skill of mine, but time alone made me remember playing board games with my dad and brothers and how much it brought us
together. There was a little game shop nearby my new place that I passed by every-day, and each time found myself transfixed with the shelves of games that looked, and often were, foreign to me.
So imagine my utter delight at seeing an open board game day every Sunday. The people I met through that game day are still great friends of mine, even years later. They have helped me become more social, made me feel at home not only in my own skin, but in environments that I would otherwise avoid. They have helped me continue my writing, encouraged me in my passions, and been there for me to lean on when things got bad. Maybe I just got lucky, but I still have boardgames to thank for the wonderful friends I have.
The thing I like most about board games is the intellectual stimulation. Board games are a puzzle to be solved, in most cases. It is why I like games with limited randomness, which usually equates to me liking dry Euro games. It is also why I don’t generally care about theme, nor do I like to play games where it is just an exercise in wasting time. Of course, there are many other benefits. I love the social aspect and I enjoy having fun with good people. However, I like that about everything I do– pub trivia, getting drinks with friends, going to parties, getting more drinks with friends.
The unique thing about games is that they work your brain cells a little bit. It doesn’t have to break your brain like Power Grid, as even something light like Carcassonne requires a little thought. What most excites me about gaming is the idea that, after an hour or two, I feel like I gained something positive from the experience I couldn’t have gained some other way.
I don’t play to win; I play to have fun. And, for me, sitting around a table with rad people thinking for two straight hours about how to best convert that vegetable tile into food is a great way to have fun.
In 2014 I’m looking forward to a list of game features that I hope continue to get included in games going forward.
1. Games that can be taught to younger players can plant an interest in games in younger kids. This helps families, or social circles that have radically different ages, make a positive experience that everyone can enjoy.
2. Games that are co-operative, interest me more now. There’s nothing wrong with an “everyone verses everyone” game of Highlander (There Can Be Only One!). The problem is that those games work a lot more efficiently when people team up to work against the others, but most people don’t want to approach the problem that way.
3. Games with a smart use of intellectual properties really make for a better experience. Only for new, or re-skinned games though- I don’t want Walking Dead Monopoly. I do want games that make you feel like the IP is being used fittingly, instead of just slapping it on something generic and plain.
I can’t believe it has been a year since we followed-through on our crazy idea to make a board game site. So many other of my pet projects had failed or quickly became boring and obsolete; but after a year of fun, work and growth I am happy to say that Across The Board Games is here to stay! Building this site and becoming part of this large and active gaming community has been life-changing. Thank you everyone for being so friendly and welcoming. It is great to be part of a supportive network of gamers, designers and reviewers that has one focus: to play, share and enjoy tabletop games.
Writing for Across The Board Games has created more opportunities to play independent games from developers all over the country and the world. The ability to experience games and ideas from designers a world away has been inspiring. I hope that our presence and reviews of indie games have helped bring those games to homes that might have otherwise missed out.
There are a lot of new opportunities and changes coming in our second year. We have a YouTube Channel in the works, many of our contributors, including myself, are working on games that could make a debut later this year and I am most looking forward to meeting the game designers and tabletop enthusiasts we’ve met online in person over the past 12 months. We will also be attending many of the local game conventions in Seattle and will be supporting more local game events and nerdy activities. I hope for many more successful years in Across The Board Game’s Future!
I love the elegance of a well-designed board game, and I love it when a clever strategy works out, but mostly I love the sense of community. I was lucky to stumble across a remarkable gaming community a few years back. Through it, I’ve made a number of close friends and even found romance.
I can think of few other types of social activities that can foster camaraderie quite as readily as gaming. The necessary and close interaction allows you to get a peek at people’s personalities in ways not possible if one were to instead, say, join a rock-climbing group or watch a baseball game with folks she didn’t know (and I say this being a baseball nerd). Not every board game meet-up is going to lead to a new best friend, of course, but it’s a great way to meet new people and certainly helped to expand my social life in many unexpected and important ways.