In October of 2015 I started logging my plays, as of this week I have officially logged a 1000 game plays. Not my usual post where I talk about the games I've played this week (which will follow in a later post) but just some thoughts after being in the hobby for over a 1000 plays.
About 3 years ago I moved to an entirely new city to move in with my partner, Katrien. I’d been a gamer for several years, but only PC-gaming and mainly MMO(RPG) style games. When I met Katrien we played boardgames, on our first date, but we actually played Monopoly and Stratego as I didn’t own anything else. For her birthday Katrien received Pandemic and we played it a few times, and even though we both liked it, it didn’t get us hooked. It was when I actually moved that I didn’t want to get caught up in online gaming anymore, I wanted to branch out further so instead of looking at my screen every spare moment I had I started doing some thinking about what else might interest me. I moved about an hour away from family and friends so there were no get togethers after work anymore, it was too long a commute and too tiring.
Somehow my thoughts went to boardgames, I had always loved them as a kid and it seemed like a small step to make from online gaming. I searched the web for local boardgame meetups without thinking they would even exist, but they did so I went over to the club for their next gamenight. I still remember the games we played, starting with Kingdom Builder and ending with a long game of Bang!, a game of Black Fleet was set up but we didn’t end up playing due to lack of time if I recall correctly. I LOVED all the games I played and a world opened for me, I went to all their gaming nights and was really amazed by how many games there were.
It didn’t go further than that, I went to the gamenights, played some games, went back home and wouldn’t play another game until the next gamenight. I did get a BGG account, but as a new member it’s not always easy to get the hang of how this (let me say amazing) website is build. This was in July of 2015. I also joined a similar Dutch platform and there it was easier to get around, I read several top 100 lists and Katrien and I went to a local toy store, not an FLGS yet. We got Ticket To Ride and Village which entertained us for quite a while. Katrien liked playing a game on rainy evenings when we couldn’t go outside. I liked playing a game … period. Before October came around I was finding my way through BGG, I acquired nearly every game I played on clubnights and was busy trying to get the top 100 games played, mostly by buying them all myself. THIS is where I started logging game plays and where the hobby really started for me. I read about SPIEL in Essen and decided I wanted to go, a friend who liked ‘games’ (= he only knew Catan) tagged along. I was well prepared, I made a shortlist, printed out the hall plans and I was ready for this event, so I thought. We ended up roaming the halls the entire day, I bought about 10 games and we played only 1 … Fun Farm. I was not ready AT ALL, it was way too much, so many games, so many people and I only had one day. I don’t remember a lot of this event, but I already knew next year I would be prepared.
After Essen I realized how much there was left to discover and went on exploring the top 100 list, and guess what, I liked everything. The phase of liking everything luckily wore off rather quick, people started introducing me to eurogames and worker placements, I had found my home. Games like Eldritch Horror, Cash ‘n Guns, Ghost Stories etc started leaving the collection as did abstract games. I started looking for other game groups that played heavier games and found a few people that I still (okay it’s only been 2 years) play with on a very regular basis. What I have experienced is that the hobby grows more interesting as you discover what interests you most. You can start to filter all the information on BGG towards the things that interest you instead of staring blindly at everything the boardgaming world offers you can see what continent of even what country in this world you like best and can just skip the rest.
So in 2016 I was well prepared for Essen, my collection already grew over 100 games and I added about 30 more during my trip.
After Essen 2016 there was still undiscovered territory for me, Kickstarter, I started noticing games on the hotness list I couldn’t even buy anywhere.. Turns out there was some sort of pre-order platform I hadn’t been paying attention to. Unknowingly I did join some group pledges on forums or through stores but I never ventured to Kickstarter on my own. The last year I have been doing that, but if it’s good or bad, I don’t know, the verdict is still out on that one.
Next month I’ll be visiting SPIEL for the third time, and I’ve accepted that I probably won’t be prepared. There’s too much ground to cover if you want to go through all the games thoroughly before the fair, and honestly I don’t want to. I look forward to playing something that isn’t on my list and let it surprise me, it’s part of what I enjoy in this hobby and doing too much research might take that away.
Well, I’ve talked games and Spiel and all that but that’s far from what I’ve enjoyed most. What I enjoy most is the people in this hobby. I’ve never met a community as welcoming as the boardgaming one, maybe part of that is because I feel right at home in the community but still. I like looking at the stats of my logged plays, I’m a geek like that and I’ll swear by my BG Stats app. I also enjoy how this hobby attracts many different people and nothing matters, not gender, not age, not status, not skin color, nothing but having a pleasant time.
No pictures this post, just a long block of text which may be a bit annoying to read through, but to anyone who made it this far: thanks for reading my rambles and I’m happy to hear your stories.