Before I joined NSKN I had worked for various marketing agencies for about ten years. I still meet some people I used to worked with back then and when they hear about my industries change they can’t really believe. What? You dumped the agencies for BOARD GAMES? Well, for them it sounds totally abstract and some of them can’t really understand how and adult man, husband and father, can make such a choice. Of course, they have no idea about dynamics, financials and perspectives of my new industry – and I can feel them – why would they? So I do explain it patiently and then they usually dig it. What I can’t explain properly is how different the people I am surrounded now by are. And I mean all the people. It is completely unbelievable for an “outsider” what a magnificent crowd we all make.
The Internet Family
The publishers always want to make sure that the players understand the rules of their games. That they enjoy the game for what it’s been designed as. That they get all the answers, should questions arise. And believe me, they do arise 😊 Now, were the publishers to answer them all, no matter where they were asked, they would probably do nothing else but hunt for them, trying to cover the whole internet. Fortunately for the publishers, they don’t have to, as most of the doubts are being almost immediately extinguished by one (or usually many more) of fellow geeks. We, the players, feel somehow compelled to explain rules of games – it is probably one of the features you gain while becoming a board gamer – it is natural to answer questions. Whatever the reason, it is the result that matters – we make one of the most friendly and helpful e-societies there is. You rarely encounter a troll and when you do (trolls can show up everywhere, as Bilbo once told his great-great-grand-nephew Uli) the rest of the group usually handles it fast and with humour. The Internet Board Gaming Family is eager to answer questions, give advice, suggest new games and share their joy of gaming. But could you understand exactly how deep it goes if you were not a member of this crowd? I doubt it.
The Convention Madness
If you have ever been to at least one convention of any size, you can probably confirm this: there is always this group of people (sometimes wearing similarly coloured t-shirts) that seems to never play a single game but enjoy the con at least as much as the visitors do. The organizers, the volunteers, the gophers, the exhibitors – they all come with one simple thing in their minds – to bring joy to their fellow geeks who came to play. They will spend months preparing the event, then long hours making sure everyone is having fun during it and then finally days to wrap it up. And, boy, they will do the best they can and take pride in every single person leaving the convention with a smile. And then, for a year – or whatever long it takes till the next con they organize – they will visit other conventions and play games there, being hosted with even generosity and hospitality by other con-throwers. Because that is how it rolls – we love to share the fun of gaming and some of us simply need to do it with a splash – hence all the conventions that pop up yearly somewhere in your state, county, province or city. And they wait for you to come and have fun – so do go there and play games and embrace the convention madness!
The Testing Squads
Have you ever played a prototype? Congratulations, you have made it to board gaming Hall of Fame. Without this one play this game would have been worse. You, by sheer playing, made our geek world better. It is an amazing thing – how many people are willing to use their free time to help others work on new games. Some would say: Well, they do in for their own good – the better the game is tested the better product they will get in the end. True, yet my experience with testers tells me that if any of them use this as their main motivation, they would be in a tiny minority. Most of people that test games do it because they feel they can add something creative and important to the gaming world, to its society. And they are absolutely right. What I love about testers above all, though is their attitude – they are thorough, they try hard to find flaws in the game and they are so enthusiastic when it comes to playing new titles. They simply want to be a part of a bigger picture.
In the end of the day, we are all part of a bigger picture – and it’s a family one. It’s just that in this specific photo you can fit millions of gamers from all over the worlds. And I am damn proud to be one of them. To be a member of this tribe.