Letters of Mass Construction

Board Games Are My Jam!

I have been an avid video and computer gamer all my life. It started early for me. Plugging quarters into an arcade machine and playing Asteroids for the millionth time. I would move onto Tempest and a host of other games. Pong was my first at home system (no “how old are you” jokes are allowed, unless they are funny). I moved onto Atari and then every other gaming system known to mankind. I was good at them. I am still good at them. I regularly have students who are amazed at some high score I racked up. Then about ten years ago everything changed. I bought a board game named Carcassonne.

Sheri and I stayed up late one night in a hotel room and tried to learn the rules. We played a few games and then we never played again. You see I didn’t really like it. Carcassonne is considered a gateway game. It is the game that is often used to get new board gamers into the hobby. The store we bought it from specifically recommended it to us for that reason.

We discovered the store while killing time in Ashland. It’s called Funagain Games. It is wall to wall games and it was a little overwhelming, but I sensed there was something here I really wanted to experience. It made me think back to my childhood and the endless hours of Risk and Backgammon and Pente. I enjoyed board games but video games had stolen me away.

Carcassonne wasn’t for us but I knew the experience was something I wanted. I loved learning the rules with Sheri. I enjoyed our interaction and our time together discovering we didn’t really enjoy the game. This game wasn’t the one but I could feel the tingle of excitement. I knew there was a game out there. We found it with my very next purchase. I bought Ticket to Ride and my video gaming days were all but killed.

I can’t tell you how many hours of Ticket to Ride we played but it was ridiculous. We began teaching other people the game. I brought it to school and taught it to my students. The door was open and I threw myself in like a flash bang. Ticket to Ride was followed by Pandemic, Small World, Lords of Waterdeep, and a host of others. It wasn’t long before I was buying board games on a regular basis (something I used to do with video games).

I formed a board game club after school. I have run summer clubs with my students. We haul board games on trips with us. Last year we took a cruise to Mexico with the intent of never getting off the ship. Instead, I brought a suitcase full of board games and we played games for the whole week (primarily Pandemic Legacy season one which stole a little of our soul that week). The cruise was one of the high points of my board gaming. We would often have people gather around the table and watch us play. I would explain the rules and hope someone would ask to join us.

The other big high point was attending my first Gen Con several years ago. Four days of playing and buying board games. Making new friends. Learning new games. Meeting the designers of the games. It destroyed my desire to ever go back to San Diego Comic Con (a convention that became primarily about hanging out with friends but not actually doing much in the convention).

This week I am going back to Gen Con and I am super excited because I am bringing Sheri. She was the only thing missing from my last trip. Board games have made us even closer than we were before, and we were close before. We thoroughly enjoy learning and playing new games together (this last month it has been 7 Wonders Duel, Charterstone, and a whole lot of Shadows of Brimstone).

This post is the relaunch of my blog. I am not going to be super ambitious. I will post updates on my new novel and about once a week I will post something else that tickles my fancy. I miss writing to an audience and I hope I can find one again. I might post a few more this week because I would love to share what I am digging at Gen Con. I will leave you with this. Find your joy and then share it with someone.

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