Exploration, Adventure, Point to Point Movement, & Network Building

A few weeks ago I was asked to contribute a blog entry to TableTop. I suggested several topics and they settled on “traveling while board gaming” which is a fun topic and easy to write about.

I’d love to add more remote places to my list of gaming destinations but I’m extremely grateful that I’ve been able to experience what I already have in Iceland and New Zealand. I am planning on attending BGG.CON later this year for my first time (registered and the hotel is booked) and I’m really excited to do that. If you’ll be there, let me know and let’s see if we can get a game in.

One of these days I’ll attend Essen…

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The Knights Who Say Niche!

Board gamers are a varied lot but given its continued success, BGG must be serving them all with the nourishment that the species desires. Amid the normal banter about actual games, rules questions, image uploads, new game announcements, Geek of the Week discussions, contest announcements, website bugs and suggestions, etc., BoardgameGeek (BGG) is also well-populated with topics that border on the über-niche. These topics never cease to amaze me.

Here’s a run down of sample of some “über-niche” topics gleaned from just a few minutes of browsing topics. I didn’t even have to search, I just paged through recent posting made in the last hour or so…

  • Awkward grammar usage in rules and counting uncountable nouns (e.g. take two wood)
  • English speakers from Lima, South America that are specifically interested in historically accurate military games.
  • The design of the Amerigo cube-tower and how its printed construction directions don’t provide adequate statistical “release” of cubes as does the supposedly exact design of the Wallenstein tower
  • A man in Greece wanting information about where in Palo Alto one might pick up specific types/brands of paints so that he can tell a friend to get them and then bring them back to him in Greece.
  • Is it time to re-rank all the games in the database (debating pros and cons)
  • Hasbro’s customer service, “Sucks Balls”
  • Introducing a new dice roll simulator mobile app including comments concerning the accuracy of using words like dice and die correctly
  • Debating if Modge Podge could be used to repair stickers on wooden tokens
  • How do you store your Carcassonne?
  • A designer requesting feedback concerning how long should a rule book should be for a design he was working on. Should they use longer rules with examples or shorter rules and an “almanac” style companion booklet.
  • Who has the best wife. Seriously. Of course, it was geared towards how well wives (and really spouses in general) tolerate and/or embrace games.
  • Should a game collection be insured? When/why?
  • A request for game “meet-up groups” for “girls” in Georgia
  • A Belgium-only Math Trade announcement
  • A question regarding good cards games for 6 year olds
  • Discussions about what celebrities will be attending BGG.CON in November
  • What games can be played successfully outside
  • A request for help to name a game where “players control a team of two bicycle riders (in the 30s-50s), trying to coordinate them to take advantage of other players moves to slipstream and avoid exhaustion from being in front. Until the end, where the point is to be in front.”
  • An announcement for a Kickstarted “Pot: The Board Game: Trade and barter frantically to collect 7 grams of the most potent cannabis. First player to 420 points wins!”

Again, keep in mind this is just a sampling and more comes out every day. On one hand you get a front row seat to discussions where OCD and pedantic behavior are common. Internet trolling exists but BGG moderators and the community do a good job at keeping overt negative behavior in check. On the other hand, we’re an intellectual crowd, I learn something new most days, and I do feel a kinship to many members.

I didn’t pull any topics from Chit Chat which borders on insanity but very fun (“Who has the best donkey?”) or RSP (Religion, Sex, Politics) which also borders on insanity (“Subject: Majority of Americans without health insurance now oppose Obamacare. Perhaps our freedom-hating, thieving, economic-wrecking plantation overlords can finally admit defeat — and go away?”). Although I never post in RSP, I periodically browse and lurk and learn how to and and how not to debate a topic intellectually, factually, and without emotion. Even amid the knights that say NICHE!, there’s something to learn if you go looking for it.

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