Board Gaming Nights

TL;DR: Board games are fun. If you live in ABQ, we should play more. I have an idea on how to do that. If you don’t live in ABQ and/or aren’t interested in board games, you should probably skip this post.

While I was off and away at the amazing JSConf 2013, my latest board game acquisition (Belfort, from a Kickstarter) was delivered. I decided that I’d use Logan’s nap today to set it up. It amounted to having to apply 144 stickers (gross) to little wooden blocks along with popping of several chits for money and whatnot.

This afternoon, while he napped some more, I remembered that another board game I own (Ground Floor, also from a Kickstarter) hadn’t been set up either, and so I popped out pieces from 13 boards worth of game pieces for money and building improvements and whatnot.

I looked at these games as I set them up, and found myself thinking about the hobby. While I enjoy the process of setting up board games to be played, I really enjoy actually playing them too. I got to play a decent bit of games on my trip (which I should also blog about at some point soon), but it got me thinking about ways to play more games.

I still plan on doing my annual birthday party gaming event, but trying to do that more than once a year isn’t something that I could pull off before we had Logan, and it’s definitely not something we can pull now. Even with friends who do the occasional gaming day, the reality is that attending a day of gaming is simply not feasible for the time being.

In recent months, I’ve managed to occasionally get in a board game during lunch with friends, but that’s been hard to set up as well, and the time pressures of squeezing in a game over lunch means we have to play something with a 60 minute or less timeframe, and honestly, playing a 60 minute game at lunch means lunch is running too long anyways.

On my last night in Boston, I went to the Bocoup Loft to play games. I was feeling nervous because I didn’t get there until like 8pm, and I was thinking about my 8am flight the next day and thinking I was going to be sacrificing some sleep in order to really get some games going.

Instead, we played one really good seven person round of 7 Wonders, then a couple of rounds of a little very light game, and that was it. I was there maybe two hours. However, I still had a lot of fun. It had the joy of getting some gaming going, without feeling like this weighty commitment.

So, all that being said, what I think I’d like to try now is to organize a few gaming nights here and there at my home, but different from the gaming days in some important ways:

  • Just a couple of hours. While I can’t put together a long lunch or a full day very easily, Logan is very consistently in bed and asleep by 7:30pm, meaning 8-10pm would work well for me, and I suspect/hope for most people.
  • Just one game. Pick something and play it as many times as we can in the two hours. This likely means just one playthrough, but that’s okay. We can then talk and reflect and move on.
  • Just a few people. No need to have a dozen or more people over. Enough to play. Most games only really work well with 3-6 people anyways. Not that I don’t love the parties, but it’d mess with the first couple of goals.
  • Keep it light. People often feel like the party is an obligation or a big commitment, and I want this to be a casual thing that people can do without feeling like it’s an obligation or burden to attend.

I’m thinking of trying this out near the end of the month, probably on a Tuesday. I’d like to run Belfort, which claims to be 90-120 minutes of play. Normally that’d mean it’s going to take more like 2-3 hours, but if people are willing to invest a little time beforehand, there’s a fantastic series on Watch It Played that covers how to play Belfort in pretty thorough detail. The first video shows game setup and describes turns, and the rest are a detailed playthrough.

Thoughts? Any interest?