2015 – The year I dove into board gaming

I have fond memories of my parents and I playing Risk, my dad surrounding my mom and I in an ocean of black cubes (he always chose black)...

I’ve been playing board games for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of my parents and I playing Risk, my dad surrounding my mom and I in a sea of black (he always chose black). But as I got older, board games lost their lustre and I moved on to video games. Through my 20s and early 30s I could probably count on two hands the number of times I played a game other than your standard card games like Uno or Phase 10. On a trip to visit my wife’s friend (sometime around 2006) we were introduced to Ticket to Ride. We bought Ticket to Ride, then we bought Settlers of Catan…and then we barely played them. We’d break out TTR every Thanksgiving, but that was the extent.

It wasn’t until 2015 that this “gaming thing” took root. At the end of last year I started hanging out with some friends who played card games and I was introduced to Dominion, and Boss Monster, and Betrayal at House on the Hill, among others. I was hearing about all of these games that sounded (and looked) amazing and I was well and truly hooked. I started a Nashville monthly gaming night in December of last year that draws about 30-40 people. I go to a Wednesday game nights about 2 or 3 times a month, I play with my 4 kids about 5 times a week, I started designing my own game, Startup and I’ve bought more games than I’d care to admit.

Even though by the end of last year I was playing regularly, it wasn’t until around April that I discovered the BGStats iOS app which makes logging plays much easier. I was able to keep track of WHAT games I was playing, and with whom, which meant that I could better choices about the games I’d play next time. I’m starting to hone in on the games that I enjoy playing, and I’m becoming knowledgeable about what games might be good for various people based on their likes/dislikes.

In case you’re wondering I’m right in the middle as far as gaming style goes. I enjoy gateway games, as long as there’s at least SOME meat to it. I love deckbuilding games, and euros, but my bread and butter is 30-60 minute games which have solid decisions without being overly complex. Games (that I’ve played) that I’d put into that grouping are Gravwell, Istanbul, Gold West, Stone Age, Splendor, Eminent Domain, Roll for the Galaxy, Medieval Academy, Jamaica, and Yspahan. This is by no means a definitive list, but simply a list of games that I will always play with anyone who asks.

I’m so thankful that I discovered board gaming. While it hasn’t helped my wallet, it HAS helped me meet many new people at my game night, allowed me to gradually introduce strategy and critical thinking to my children, and given me a way to (hopefully) stave off early onset Alzheimer’s. If you’re new to this hobby, here’s a short list of people that I’ve loved interacting with in the last year (in no particular order).

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So game, live, love, and don’t cheat. You only cheating yourself.

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About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

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