Board Game Club – Part 1
The Board Game Point of View Game Club met for the first time last week, and it left me convinced of two things. People who play board games are super awesome… and we need a shorter name for this club. But first, let me introduce myself and the fine young people who make this club worth doing.
My name is Adam Feldner. I am a youth leader at the Vineyard Church in Billings, a husband to my high school sweetheart and a father of three. Joining me on this adventure into all things cardboard are two recent graduates from the youth group; Seth Severa and Steven Hill. These two fellas are sharp as tacks and committed to diving headlong into the fantastically flavorful world of hobby gaming.
We would love to see the youth of this city and others united through the social interaction that tabletop gaming provides. Don’t get us wrong… we enjoy video games and computers, but these are more often than not very singular experiences. There’s just something about sitting across from another person to engage in conversation, laughter and (heaven forbid) eye contact that you can’t get from a monitor or television screen. This format allows people to express themselves in authentic ways as stories unfold on the board in front of them. What a phenomenal way to interact with another human being!
The games we have to share (60+ games and growing) are not the games you played at your grandmother’s house. We have the modern standards like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Apples to Apples, but I can guarantee the majority will be games you’ve never even heard of. Each one is fantastically themed, tremendously fun and so delightfully engaging it will make you wonder why you haven’t been playing tabletop games your whole life. To paint you a better picture, here is how the first game club meeting went down.
We gathered together a dozen games from our collection, a generous spread of delicious snacks and a group of young gamers ready to roll dice and take names. To warm the table up, we started with a card game called Love Letter. The game is simple (only containing 16 cards and some tokens), and it sees each player attempting to get a love letter to forbidden royalty via various connections within the castle. Once you get past the theme, the simple strategy makes the game accessible to almost anyone. It’s simple, fun decision-making at its best.
Shortly thereafter, we saddled up to the table for a game of Bang: The Dice Game. Each player takes on the role of a gunslinger from the old west in a fight to dodge bullets, light dynamite and (when the dust settles) be the last man/woman standing. What makes this game great is that everyone has a secret identity, which means you may be working for the sheriff or a band of outlaws or just wander into town as the ruthless renegade. The fun comes in not knowing who to take a shot at next, because you never know… they may just be part of your gang.
We then moved on to one of my current favorites! King of Tokyo lets you play as cheesy creatures from bad monster movies in an effort to reign supreme over Tokyo and crush any other monster in your path. Over the course of the game you will be tempted to increase your power by acquiring supersonic hearing, growing extra heads or learning to breathe fire. In the end, each of you is left feeling like a winner as you regale the table with your monster’s rise to (and potential fall from) supreme ruler of Tokyo.
The final event of the night was an out-of-this-world epic space battle that had the majority of our youth group clamoring for their blasters and light sabers. Star Wars: X-Wing is a tactical miniatures game that lets each player fly iconic ships from the sweeping space saga. With the ability to align yourself with the Imperial Army, Rebel Alliance or Bounty Scum, you will lead your squadrons into battle as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and many others. The ships are wonderfully detailed, and if the theme doesn’t grab you, the game play will have most people hooked within minutes as they speed through the stars to engage the enemy in an all-out galactic dogfight… and sound effects are always encouraged.