Tomorrow night is Halloween. You don't want to get your brains eaten by zombies do you? Of course you don't!
So before they come for you, make sure to read the ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE (http://tinyurl.com/28gy3).
And remember, aim for the head!!!
#1 = Longing for Social Interaction
Well over a dozen years ago, I moved out of my safe & secure job as a software systems analysts in corporate America and ventured into the unknown and wacky world of entrepreneurship as a self-employed software application developer. Working solo has many advantages, but one of the major disadvantages is that you lose the day-to-day contact with your co-workers, many of whom I fondly considered as dear friends. I did my best to keep in touch with my closest friends, and many of them have played in the fantasy sports leagues that I've founded and managed over the years. But aside from occasional get-togethers, regular interaction with my old circle of friends has been on the wane for several years.
Rather than sit around and feel sad and alone, I figured that I must be able to do something to change that. That's when the idea of forming a board game club popped into my head. There's no better form of face-to-face fun than playing board games with your buddies. The competition & challenge is great, but the social interaction is just as important (perhaps even more critical for someone like me who works alone 8-10 hours each day).
#2 = BoardGameGeek.com
I can't pinpoint the exact date when BoardGameGeek (BGG) caught my eye. All I know is that roughly 4 years ago, I stumbled upon this gem of a web site while surfing the net, probably looking for information about wargames. When I found the site, I couldn't believe it's sheer depth. BGG is like an onion, you keep peeling away layer upon layer, delving deeper into its core, and crying all the time (this time with tears of joy and wonder).
The Geek is undoubtedly the mother lode of tabletop gaming. If you want to learn about tabletop games, read other people's opinions about them, or find out where to buy them, there's simply no better place to go. The excitement of uncovering this treasure-trove of gaming info spurred me to dive down deeper into a hobby that had obviously evolved a great deal since I had last been a die-hard member of it.
#3 = The Dice Tower podcast
I've never met Tom Vasel, Joe Steadman, or Sam Healey in person, but those guys are as responsible for the resurgence in my fondness of board games as anyone else that I can think of. If you've never listened to an episode of the Dice Tower, a podcast whose focus is squarely on board games, do yourself a favor and download a show and listen to it. You don't even need an actual iPod to listen to the show; you can play it right on your PC using WinAmp or a similar media-player.
The whole field of podcasting is relatively new. About 3 years ago, you were very hard-pressed to find any interesting shows about hobby games. The Dice Tower was one of the very first shows that I discovered, and although there are dozens of podcasts about games now available, Tom Vasel's show remains one of the most polished, informative, and wide-ranging shows out there.
#4 = Game Conventions
I've been going to the three miniature wargames conventions sponsored by HMGS East (Cold Wars, Historicon, and Fall In!) for a very long time. While the hobby of miniatures gaming is separate from board gaming in a technical sense, the two of them are definitely closely related cousins. Over the past several years, I've seen more and more convention vendors carrying board games (usually war-themed or adventure-themed) in the dealer hall. That certainly exposed me to a few board games and game companies that I had never previously heard of.
Researching these games on the internet was the proverbial "trip down the rabbit hole"; I kept uncovering more and more games that piqued my interest. In 2005, my wife and I made the 6-hour drive to Columbus, Ohio to go to Origins. I hadn't been to Origins for eons; I think the last one I had attended was back when it was held in downtown Baltimore. Anyway, I purchased a batch of new board games and from that point on, there's been no looking back.#5 = DOW, FFG, and HASBRO
I'm happy to see board games and miniatures games experiencing a golden Renaissance. A great deal of the credit, interestingly enough, needs to go to the Internet of all places. The web has made it a thousand times easier to learn about tabletop games, hear game enthusiasts talk about the games they love via podcasts, buy games from online vendors and via eBay, and share your views with a community of like-minded hobbyists.
And as us computer geek, 40-somethings grow older, we realize that there's an isolation and lack of variety in computer/video games. No, we won't be jettisoning our X-Box, Playstation, or Wii anytime soon, but the allure of tabletop games can no longer be ignored. Tabletop games offer us much greater mental challenges, a tactile feel that isn't present in digital games, and face-to-face social interaction that makes us feel human again. There's definitely room for both types of games in our lives.
My name is Steve, and I'm a born again board gamer. It sure feels good to be chucking the dice, drawing the cards, and exercising more than just my trigger-finger again. Maybe you should give it a try too. There's a whole bunch of great games out there just waiting to be played.
And there are many, many more famous designers and authors in this All-Star lineup as well that I haven't listed. For those who are familiar with the hobby games industry, the list is truly impressive.
The really cool thing about this book is that the authors don't write specifically about the games that they designed, but rather, the games that inspired them, that they find most fun to play, and that they feel are shining lights of stellar & clever design in the industry. So in effect, this book is a celebration of the best that our hobby has to offer.
I'm sure there will be plenty of debate over games that were NOT included in this book. I can easily forsee dozens of rants on BoardGame Geek and The Miniatures Page cropping up over perceived injustices to some people's favorite games. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me to see a 2nd volume of this book be created (something like 100 More Hobby Game Classics) if this book is as well received as I expect it will be. There are LOTS of wonderful games out there in my humble opinion!
What's also terrific about this book is that it has the potential to expose many casual gamers to the wide variety of great & engrossing hobby games out there, as well as the designers who create them. It will also be a way for long-time gamers to rediscover classic games that they've overlooked. In this world of video-game mania, it's refreshing to see a book that covers the world of traditional, face-to-face, tabletop games. It's a world that has been around a long time and is currently enjoying a renaissance. Thank goodness for that; it's about time.
You can purchase Hobby Games: The 100 Best from these places:
I haven't gotten my copy yet. Once I get it and read it, I'll be sure to share some insights about the book on this blog. I strongly encourage anyone who loves games to go out and order a copy of this book immediately. It seems destined to be a classic.