Spiel des Jahres – hobby games for non-hobbyists (Topic Discussion)

I recently had the honour to be tasked with donating most of the 2023 Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres nominations and longlist titles to good causes on behalf of Spiel des Jahres. Being curious about the association and their selections, I decided to play some of the games myself. As a result, I wanted to share with you more about the Spiel des Jahres association and how I think its goals are reflected in the games they select.

Representation and Diversity – why it matters (Topic Discussion)

Board and other hobby games are a form of entertainment for the people who play them. It doesn't matter whether these are solo games, family games, heavy games or party games for larger groups of people. There should be a game for anyone and everyone. However, as we know, our large hobby still struggles with who is represented in the games themselves, let alone with what groups of people our community make feel truly comfortable and welcome. In this article, I want to explore why representation and diversity in our hobby matter and what we all can do to promote greater inclusivity in the board game community.

Looking ahead at UK Games Expo 2022 (Topic Discussion)

The last UK Games Expo I attended was 2019. It was an amazing event and I came back from it buzzing, full of ideas and the energy you get after you've been able to catch up with good friends again. We all know what happened soon after the 2019 event. So when UKGE came back as an in-person event in 2021, I decided to give it a miss. However, now it's 2022 I'm ready to dive into the crowds again and meet lovely board game people at UK Games Expo 2022.

Home is where the board games are (Topic Discussion)

I feel that the board game hobby is great and that our community is wonderful. Board games bring like-minded people together. I know, nothing is ever perfect and we can't ignore the bad actors, but on the whole, board game people, if I may address you all this way, are great folk. Playing board games is my happy place and I feel very much at home whenever I see board games.

Representation matters (Topic Discussion)

White, straight, cis men are everywhere - not just in board games. I'm one of them. My voice doesn't add anything new. My experiences may be unique to me, but they're probably not much different to those of every other white cis man. I may not be rich or live in luxury and I feel that I have put in the work to get to where I am in my life, but I have grown up with privilege - and that privilege has given me a headstart and opened up opportunities to me that others won't have had. However, this article isn't about me. It's about why we need more representation, more diversity and more voices from a wide range of backgrounds and it focuses on the board game community specifically.

Isolated games night (Topic Discussion)

Games nights are about social interactions, catching up with friends, maybe some ribbing, eating snacks, enjoying a drink, holding cards or moving pieces, maybe rolling dice and enjoying how a game unfolds, its twists and turns. It's about a shared experience and coming together. Yet, at the moment we have to stay apart, which changes how we interact and how we behave at games nights. It also changes how games nights feel. There are things we can do to try and make things feel as normal as possible. So here are some suggestions I have, things that I  have learned from my own weekly games nights.

AireCon 2020 (Saturday Review)

It feels like a long time ago now, but thinking back to AireCon, which took place last month, still puts a smile on my face. It meant a long car journey for me, travelling over five hours from the South Coast all the way up to Harrogate in deepest Yorkshire. I started early, around 6am, on the Friday, because I was aiming to get there by lunchtime. I wanted to see a few people who were going to be there - one of my wonderful Patreon supporters, a game designer who I got chatting to on Twitter and who was demoing his new game at the event, a more established game designer who I was hoping to arrange an interview with, as well as the board game "celebrities" who had made their way from across the pond. It was going to be busy.

Games of Christmas

I guess it has become tradition now for boardgame blogs to suggest a number of games that people should play with their friends and family over the festive period. As I love tradition, I will do what everyone else is doing and give you a selection of games some of which may suit your taste and may also be a good match for whoever you choose to play with when you enjoy some time off over Christmas.

Breaking down walls

As we commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, I wanted to talk about walls in tabletop gaming and look at what walls there still are that might stop people from enjoying the hobby or becoming a part of our growing community. I don't proclaim to be able to tear down all the walls that still exist, but hopefully my thoughts will start a constructive discussion and help move us forward in some way. Maybe we can look back in 30 years and see the positive things that have happened and evaluate what else needs to be done.

Post-show blues

I'm sure, many of you are tired of hearing all about Essen Spiel 2019. Everyone who went is talking about all the games they saw, played and bought, and anyone who didn't go is reading about all the games everyone saw, played and bought. So I want to talk about the people side of the exhibition and share my experiences of attending this major event for the first time.