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Subject: Gaming as ministry. (Christian) rss

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Bradley Martin
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So, this isn't just for Christians, but it is the perspective I'm coming from and the situation in which I would be working. I'm going to be getting married soon (to a beautiful and WONDERFUL girl) and we plan to live a little ways from my current place of residence. I love games, and she doesn't (doesn't hate them, just not a passion of hers), and so I'm looking for a way to implement my love of games in a positive and productive way; I'm also looking to get involved in whatever church I arrive in.
Now, for some background, I'm a REALLY REALLY quiet guy by nature and don't do well with meeting new people or putting myself out to meet new people. But, I can begin to interact over a common interest (say a meal or boardgames ) So what I'm looking for is a way to help people like myself who may arrive at a new church and feel left out, AND include my love of board games.
Basically I'm trying to get a head start on this so I can implement it down the road. Has anyone here ever had any experience trying something like this? If so, what was your experience and what would your suggestions be? I really want to use this to help people out of their shell, just want to do it right. And if it's a totally crazy idea, I understand.
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Kelsey Rinella
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theseventensplit wrote:

Now, for some background, I'm a REALLY REALLY quiet guy by nature and don't do well with meeting new people or putting myself out to meet new people. But, I can begin to interact over a common interest (say a meal or boardgames )


Maybe bowling?

Seems like a great idea--lots of folks have mentioned a perception that boardgames are common in their churches. While I share your preference for meeting people over a shared activity, I'm not a churchgoer, so I've no experience to draw on for suggestions. Best of luck!
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Andrew Rowse
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I think it's a great idea. Presumably you might have to filter the game selection a little if you're associating it with church and inviting new people along (Arkhman Horror may be worth holding in reserve until everybody's got to know each other), but other than that it sounds like a great way to meet people.

Put a sign up at the church inviting people to come along, perhaps stressing that you enjoy classic games like Pictionary and Risk as well as more recent games (just to give people some context) and that everybody is welcome, and add your email address in case people have any questions.

Have fun!
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James Adrian
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When my wife and I joined a new church, we ended up joining a small group for married couples. I'm a fairly quiet guy as well, so the small group thing helped limit the number of people I had to meet (and then remember all of their names). It just so happened that our small group had a fellow who loved board games and they had a board game night planned (usually for the guys) once per month already. I then found out that some of the guys played an RPG every Thursday night as well.
Anyway, the monthly board game night for just our group turned into something like what you're talking about: a time and place for new people to meet.

From my experience, party games like Things... are pretty much a necessary starter (even if I don't like playing them, myself). This also gets people talking, which is the purpose of the evening, right? Group size varies and people's taste in games is often a mystery, so you can't really plan to play specific games until a few sessions in.

Sometimes theme is an issue, especially depending on the church. I know that the assassin and thief from Citadels make some people leery. The witch from the expansion is even worse. For some reason playing those cards is different than sending armies abroad in Risk. It doesn't make sense to me, but hey.

So, we had our general game night which was open to anyone who wanted and then the 'true' gamers planned other evenings for games like A Game of Thrones (first edition), Agricola, Shogun, and others. Because I love heavier games, the second meeting was essential for me. The night at the church got us talking while the night with the guys got us competing. A good balance.
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Chad Ellis
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Thanks for inviting non-Christians!

One thing I'd strongly encourage is going with a game that offers very simple rules. Your group will likely have someone who is a little intimidated (or who will be once s/he realizes you aren't playing Life or Yahtzee) and the most reassuring thing is for them to feel like playing the game is going to be straightforward. Carcasonne (no funky expansions) is probably my favorite entry game because the gameplay can be described as, "When it's your turn, place your tile anywhere you like so long as all connecting sides match." Settlers is famously successful as a gateway game for similar reasons.

If you'd like to bring in some Christian flavor, Two by Two might be a good choice. (And hey, it's the Tanga special right now!) It's a light game with a Noah's Ark theme and, again, very simple rules of play.
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Bradley Martin
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Thank you for the input, going to have to look into some group games and lighter hearted board games .
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Bradley Martin
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Thanks for inviting non-Christians!
If you'd like to bring in some Christian flavor, Two by Two might be a good choice. (And hey, it's the Tanga special right now!) It's a light game with a Noah's Ark theme and, again, very simple rules of play.


Thank you, but I'd rather avoid getting games JUST because they're christian.
*I find that if you get games JUST for that reason you either present sub-par versions of good games (apples to apples) or else you just end up with sub-par games, not many CHRISTIAN games that are good. Though, I'm sure there are some great games that are made BY Christians .
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Chad Ellis
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theseventensplit wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Thanks for inviting non-Christians!
If you'd like to bring in some Christian flavor, Two by Two might be a good choice. (And hey, it's the Tanga special right now!) It's a light game with a Noah's Ark theme and, again, very simple rules of play.


Thank you, but I'd rather avoid getting games JUST because they're christian.
*I find that if you get games JUST for that reason you either present sub-par versions of good games (apples to apples) or else you just end up with sub-par games, not many CHRISTIAN games that are good. Though, I'm sure there are some great games that are made BY Christians .


Well, I'm a non-Christian and I play Two by Two on yucata.de and am considering picking it up for my game group. It's an easy filler and not heavily religious at all. What I like about it for your purposes here is mainly that it's easy to explain and to play.
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Bradley Martin
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
theseventensplit wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
Thanks for inviting non-Christians!
If you'd like to bring in some Christian flavor, Two by Two might be a good choice. (And hey, it's the Tanga special right now!) It's a light game with a Noah's Ark theme and, again, very simple rules of play.


Thank you, but I'd rather avoid getting games JUST because they're christian.
*I find that if you get games JUST for that reason you either present sub-par versions of good games (apples to apples) or else you just end up with sub-par games, not many CHRISTIAN games that are good. Though, I'm sure there are some great games that are made BY Christians .


Well, I'm a non-Christian and I play Two by Two on yucata.de and am considering picking it up for my game group. It's an easy filler and not heavily religious at all. What I like about it for your purposes here is mainly that it's easy to explain and to play.

ok, thanks for the info Just had some stereotypes i guess, as most "christian games" I've seen seem to be, lets slap christian/bible/jesus on there and sell a christian game, without trying to make a GOOD game.
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Cal Macewan
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Settlers is famously successful as a gateway game for similar reasons.


and

Quote:
If you'd like to bring in some Christian flavor....


Settlers is justifiably considered one of the best games for introducing newcomers, and handily also comes in a bible themed version:

The Settlers of Canaan


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Lynette
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You might want to contact....

George Murray
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They run a game group out of their church that is open to the community and it is a very successful one according to what I have heard from other attendees.

I have met and played with them at CamasCon but since I live on the other side of the state I haven't attended their group myself.


Or

Daryl Wilks
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He runs CamasCon which is a Christian gaming convention held twice a year. He may not be able to give a lot of pointers about weekly groups but he has a lot of experience interfacing with gamers, their families and church leadership I suspect.

Oh and BTW... the games being played are the same ones being played at BGG just minus the Essen releases... and the library is smaller. But still impressive. Once you add in the ones brought by attendees, I suspect the library hits the 600 plus games on site during the convention.




 
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Andrew Rowse
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Genesis is quite a good Christian-themed game (although the nature of the dark angel is a bit iffy) that supports variable numbers of players, and there's no secular version.

Redemption, on the other hand, is an atrocious affront to gaming.
 
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Moshe Callen
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My recommendation would be to do the games group but not as ministry-- just as a social event where new people are welcome. The association with your Church will give all the Christian focus needed and conversations will arise as people talk. Yet if you think of it as ministry you'll probably subconsciously do things to turn people off because they'll think (rightly) you have an agenda.

I'm not Christian but I used to regularly play games with boys at my beit keneset (i.e., synagogue). I happened to see some boys playing Risk and so brought out my copy of Castle Risk; the games went from there.
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Matt Percy
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How did this go?
 
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