Sunday, February 8, 2015

How I got addicted to board gaming (and how you will, too)

Posted By on Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 7:44 AM

click to enlarge NATE WARREN
  • Nate Warren

When you tell some people that you’re into board games, you can expect two assumptions: that you’re into Monopoly or something and that you’re wasting the person’s time by telling them about it, or that you’re a dork.

The fact is, we’re all gamers. You’re a gamer. You’ve broken out Monopoly and Risk and tested the bonds of your friendship with other players. As a squirt, you begged your parents to play Candyland and Connect Four with you. You’ve screwed around drunk playing Liar’s Dice. You’ve held poker nights, screamed at each other during Pictionary and desperately looked for the best way to max that tantalizing triple word score space in Scrabble.

Your life has been filled with games — good games, burning off afternoons and evenings that begged to be given shape by the delineations of rules and scores. They fill that keen human need to corral the massive variables of the universe into a tidy arena of distinct possibility, and offer the rich promise of beating the living piss out of somebody and having a few laughs along the way.

I’m a gamer, too. I loved playing Stratego and Masterpiece against my dad as a kid, and played Dungeons and Dragons for two years in middle school before self-consciously shedding it before high school. Then I learned gin rummy from my college roommate and discovered backgammon — along with the Pixies — during the same time.

My on-again, off-again relationship with board games rekindled a few years ago thanks to our 20-year-old, Zeke — he was around 15 at the time. I had just become a member of his household, moving to the Springs to join the love of my life, Genevieve, and her two kids— Zeke and his kid sister, Sidney.

One day, during a family shopping trip, I spotted a mini-box game sitting in a bookstore’s game section. It was Space Hulk: Death Angel, a cooperative card game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, in which a squad of heavily armored Space Marines are tasked with completing a mission in a derelict spacecraft filled with swarms of fast-moving, scalpel-clawed nightmares. It was around $20, about the size of a thick paperback and didn’t look like too much of a commitment. I bought it on a whim and ended up playing it obsessively with Zeke all summer.

The game came with a Fantasy Flight Games catalog. I browsed it often, taken by the cool art and descriptions. What else was out there? Nearly four years and more than 30 new games later, here we are.

Board gaming has become the center of our social life. Rarely does a week go by without a blowout game night when we get as many friends as the player limit will allow over for drinks, dice, cursing and lots of laughter. When my workload allows, two fellows join me during lunchtime on Fridays for ruthless games of Dominion with sandwiches on the side. And Sidney often demands after-dinner contests on weeknights.

We’re budding connoisseurs with a game for every occasion. I started this blog to share those games, and those nights, with you.

This isn’t a game review blog per se. (I’m not out to be one of those guys who tries to obtain free copies of games so I can be the first to feverishly bang out two test plays and a review.) My aim is to share with you the games that have given me some of the best nights of my life. And, along the way, I’ll examine the gaming experience itself and share stories from around the Springs’ board-gaming community. It’s my firm belief that if your gaming experience ended at Monopoly, you’re missing out on some of the best nights of your life.

Ready to play again?

Nate Warren is a Colorado Springs-based copywriter who offers both the veteran gamer and the uninitiated a local window into the burgeoning and wildly creative world of hobby and designer board games enjoyed by fanatics and connoisseurs — around the corner and and across the globe.

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