Recently I attended Starfest. Minus the primary cluster of the con that was there was a diamond in the rough, Gamefest. I tend to volunteer at conventions so I can see all the people and help and everything, and I was stationed in the Gamefest section. You can tell when a festival is run well when people are literally flocking to get to tables to play the games. However the real reason I wanted to talk about Gamefest was because I wanted to discuss family and board gaming.
Gamefest was run by a store from Colorado Springs called Petrie’s Family Games. I had the distinct pleasure of working around people who were able to call themselves members of the Petrie’s family. These people made everyone feel welcome and I never saw a single instance of anything that would lead me to believe they were not there for a single purpose, to teach people the fun of board gaming. It really taught me a lot to interact with these individuals all weekend. And I would not trade that experience for the world.
I am happy to say that I also interacted with some of the Dice Tower members right here in Colorado, Mark and Randy from Boardgame Corner. These two were amazing to talk with and it still amazes me how personable board game cultural icons tend to be. You listen to these people and respect their opinions and they are just as easy to talk to in person as they are to listen to on our favorite shows. Thank you Randy and Mark for talking to me this weekend about our favorite topic, Board Games and Corners!
I also had the pleasure of being welcomed to the Decatur family by the designer himself. We had a talk about why he decided to create the game and what influences he chose to include. It was amazing hearing what he valued in a game and why he thought some aspects of gaming (mainly player interaction) are important. He made a comment that I find to ring true, “I wanted to prove that you could have a euro that wasn’t multiplayer solitaire.” This is the first time I was accepted into a family for a board game, and I truly hope it is not my last.
Finally my FLGS, Collectormania, is also family run and I have the pleasure of calling myself a member of their family and I help them whenever I can with anything they need. I love the environment fostered by interacting with people at a shop on this level. I have always had ambitions of running or working at a hobby shop and I love that the individuals at Collectormania allow me to help out, run demos, and just generally partake in their activities at the shop on the level to which they do.
I think board games as a culture inherently promote the idea of family. Sometimes family is the group you see on holidays when you play Yahtzee or Monopoly. Other times family are the individuals you play board games with at your FLGS on a weekly basis. Even in the darkest time we can see how board games have the potential to bring people together physically and emotionally. I truly enjoy the company of all the individuals I get to share my board gaming experiences with, and I hope if you are just getting into the hobby you are also able to develop a deep sense of family from it.
Thank you for reading and I’ll see you all later!