2015 was a great year for gaming – each keeps getting better, honestly! – and for me personally, it was a great chance to get out into the community to attend a few fantastic gaming-centric events in North America.
In April, I attended the Gathering of Friends, run by Alan R. Moon and his wife Janet Moon. This is a really small convention with 100% of the focus on getting together to play games and socialize. A few hundred people attend, bring their own games to form a big crowdsourced library, and fill the boardroom of a hotel in Niagara Falls NY for 10 days. I am lucky coming in from Toronto that I can break that 10 days up a little – and drive there/back with plenty of games! The part I love most is seeing people from year to year at this event, getting to play a lot of games and the opportunity to try prototypes as there’s quite a few designers/publisher reps in attendance.
Not long after, in May I took a vacation to Seattle and got to visit some of their great gaming cafes. Not only are those cafes fun, welcoming spaces to sit and play games, but the staff are fantastic and their retail selections are so great! I also joined a team with my local friends to fundraise and compete in the Mox Boarding House ‘Gauntlet’ – it was a great experience and as well as being lots of fun we raised a bunch of money for Hopelink. More than ever I’m realizing what a generous group of people board gamers are, and I was so happy to take part in a little of that this year.
Just last month I attended BGGcon (as did our DWP overlord Sean) which was a fantastic new convention experience for me. For 5 days in November (each year just before the American Thanksgiving weekend), board gamers descend upon the DFW Hyatt Regency to take over and game the heck out of things. The biggest impression I came away with was what a fantastic group of gamers it was (over 2500 of them!), and how great the team of BGG and their volunteers (Team Geek) did. And that library! Oh boy. I am excited to get back every year – and again, to see friends old and new there each year to make it a complete warm and fuzzy time.
As I get more involved in the gaming world, especially making connections through Twitter, it’s apparent to me there’s a huge and generally wonderful and open community out there. Their enthusiasm and taste for modern board games is a huge support to the industry. I’ve seen the hype machine, but it doesn’t compare to the genuine support that’s out there overall. Thank you all for being excellent, and to the industry for keeping us excited with fresh fun!