Anyone Fancy a Game?

On Sunday night Paul thrust a newspaper cutting into my hand saying he thought it might interest me. In the centre was a photo of a set of bookshelves filled with boardgames, staked from floor to ceiling. Yes, this did interest me! The article was about Draughts Café, one of a number of new cafés recently opened in the country that offer alongside coffee and cake, the opportunity to try out a huge range of games (they for example have over 600). There has been, according to the industry, an increase in the sales of boardgames over the last year, with the suggestion that 20 somethings are turning to them alongside computer games. Apparently, according to the article, these boardgame cafés are not only a great place to try out a new game, but also a great place to go on a date – if you enjoy the same games and can get on even if you lose, then chances are you’re well matched…

As a child I was brought up playing boardgames, it was a regular weekend family activity. At Christmas most years, we got a new game, The London Game, Articulate, Trivial Pursuit and so on. Over University years I didn’t play so often, other than the occasional game of RISK which usually ended for me very quickly in a blaze of glory that was rapidly quelled by those around me. In recent years, however, I have rediscovered the bug, finding that in the meantime a great range of games have been developed on the Continent, offering much more fun and tactical challenge than Ludo and Monopoly. My shelves might not look quite as full as Draughts Café, but they’re getting there!

So what’s behind their recent resurge in popularity? Simple. It’s not just that they fun to play and it’s satisfying to win (not that I do so very often), but boardgaming is a very sociable hobby. In an age when so much of our time is spent in front of screens, or in our cars, or in our homes, boardgames bring us together around a table for an hour or so of face to face time. Priceless. In a fractured world, these are deliberate ways of building community and friendship.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my plan is not to convert the church to boardgaming, as much as I’d love that, but to get us thinking about what we can do to proactively build up our relationships and sense of community. This doesn’t happen on its own, we have to work at it. Only as we grow in our friendships will we learn to trust each other, open our lives to each other, be open to learn from each other and to challenge each other.

Anyone fancy a game?…

Church Newsletter article 22.06.16

Spiel des Jahres Nominations 2013

I see the latest Spiel des Jahres award nominations have been published: Spiel des Jahres

For those who are not aware of these, the Spiel des Jahres is the top award for boardgames produced in any given year. If boardgames make you think of some dull English games you played as a child with your family when there was nothing else to do, think again. Boardgames have come on massively since then, and are highly valued everywhere else it seems, except here in the UK, although that is gradually changing. They are not just for children but for all ages, with something to suit and challenge everyone . Not sure where to start? You can’t go wrong with games nominated for these coveted awards. Although I haven’t played any of these, a game that gets nominated for them is guaranteed to be a good, solid game. Just make sure you select from the right category: the Spiel des Jahres award is for the all-round winner, usually adult orientated, the Kinderspiel des Jahres is the children’s category, and the Kennerspiel des Jahres is for the more hardcore gamers who are looking for something more demanding and complex.

Have you played any of the nominated games? I’d love to hear what they’re like.

Board Game Bestiary: How To Get Started with Modern Board Games

This is a great introduction to the world of modern boardgames that I love and yet so many UK folk outside of particular niches are unaware of. Say you enjoy playing boardgames and most people think of dull days playing Monopoly. You couldn’t be further from the truth. I can’t think of many social activities that are better for enjoying the company of others, using the little grey cells and enjoying the thrill of competition and risk. http://www.tested.com/art/454213-modern-board-game-bestiary/

Pandemic: In the Lab & Forbidden Desert

Pandemic: In the Lab & Forbidden Desert

Excited to read this interview with Matt Leacock, the designer of Pandemic one of my favourite boardgames, and to hear of two new games by him on the horizon; a second expansion to Pandemic called Pandemic: In the Lab and a sequel to his Forbiddenn Island, called Forbidden Desert.