Board Games: A Gateway Cure

Greetings All,

Last week I was asked if gaming had helped me in any other way following my post: How Board Games Saved my Sanity. There is actually a really large way that board games continue to help me. I suffer from anxiety, particularly social anxiety. I’ve always had a difficult time around large groups, but even the smaller groups get to me sometimes. This is something that I have attended counseling for and tried unsuccessful medications, but board games have been the answer to working through it.

I have a difficult time doing anything outside of the home, like shopping or visiting other people’s houses. It’s even gotten in the way of employment a few times. My husband has always been very supportive and tried to help me overcome these obstacles. When him and I first started getting into board games we slowly started bringing new people over to play with us. It started with people who I was already familiar with and has become the new way that I get familiar with people.

We try to host a board game night at least every two weeks, once that got easier we started hosting board game nights multiple times a week. We’ve even started going to the hospital to play board games with a friend of ours that suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. While I can admit I am still not 100% relaxed about going to other people’s homes to play board games, I am very confident that I am close to that particular break through.

Hosting board game night has allowed me to test the waters, by inviting new people over in the comfort of my home. It has done wonders for me. We have a local game shop that I was extremely uncomfortable with visiting even a year ago and now it’s like a safe haven. Having confidence in myself that I can properly engage new people has given way to me having the confidence to engage new situations. My husband has a group of friends that have been inviting us out to eat with them since we first got together, I’ve been with my husband since late 2011 and had been putting off the meeting the whole time. I finally got the courage to do so a couple of weeks ago and it was nice. I wasn’t afraid, I was talking to everyone and I had a nice time.

Meeting with a large group of new people is something completely new to me and it’s something that I never would have had the courage to do in the past. Now I won’t sit here and say that board games have 100% cured me and have been a complete miracle, but I will say that board games have been a gateway cure for me. Having knowledge and love for certain games makes me want to share them with others, I am still trepidatious about trying new board games with anyone but my husband.

To sum it all up, I’m not perfect… I’m quite flawed and it is quite noticeable. I would have to say that I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t have something or another to improve on. Anxiety has been a cruel part of my life that has kept me from doing many things, but it will not continue to hold me back. I’ve done a lot of work trying to overcome it and I’m succeeding more and more every single day. Without my husband pushing me to try new things and board games giving me a gateway to do so, I’d still be very much in the dark. I love board games, I love what they’ve done for my life, for my family. I hope that anyone reading this right now that can relate to my troubles gives board games a try. Have someone close to you give it a try with you and if you need someone to talk to I’m not just a blog, I’m a person… and I know what it’s like.

I want to take moment to just say thank you to my husband, for always being there to help me through this… I love you.

After reading all of this sappy crap, I will leave you with this…

“There’s a lot of things you need to get across this universe. Warp drive… wormhole refractors… You know the thing you need most of all? You need a hand to hold.” -The Doctor (Doctor Who)

Until next time… Live by the Board

-livingbytheboard

Ticket to Ride Review

Greetings All,

As requested I am reviewing one of my favorite games Ticket to Ride from Days of Wonder. Ticket to Ride is competitive game in which players are creating train routes in order to gain points. I will not include the rules in this post, as I will be including a link to see the rules, reviews, and prices. I apologize it took so long to post this review.

Ticket to Ride has a ridiculous amount of editions and expansions, it’s awesome. Days of Wonder also offers online play. The app is available through iTunes and Google play. Before continuing, I strongly suggest taking a look at the short rules on the Days of Wonder website.

Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder

2-5 Players, 30-60 Minutes

Ticket-to-Ride-PLUS-1910--pTRU1-15068057dt

For simplicity sake, I am only reviewing Ticket to Ride US Map and Ticket to Ride USA 1910 expansion. The 1910 expansion comes with extra routes and bigger cards. The standard Ticket to Ride has tiny cards that are a bit difficult to shuffle.

This game offers such an amazing challenge, every play is different which allows endless fun. There are destination tickets that we draw in order to figure out where we are going. It all sounds very simple until someone takes a route you’ve been saving up for during your last few turns. Most of the time it is possible to reach your destinations even if you get blocked, but in the painful instance that you are unable to complete a destination ticket, those points count against you in the end. Each completed ticket is added to score at the end. For the standard Ticket to Ride there is a bonus for longest route and for the 1910 expansion there is also a bonus for the most completed tickets.

I would love to pinpoint the exact reason that I love this game so much, but I can’t. It’s Ticket to Ride. The first time I played it, I realized that I couldn’t stop. The art is beautiful, the game play is great, and although drawing train cards is luck based there is a lot of skill that goes into combining your tickets to get the most points possible. After playing the game a few times, you can pretty much predict which routes your competition have. Predicting really helps avoid getting your routes taken by others. It is the perfect balance between luck and skill.

My children also love Ticket to Ride, it’s something that they latched onto right away. It is a family time favorite and I am so grateful for that. Our kids like competition, but they also get frustrated when they do not win. Having a game like Ticket to Ride is great because the kids don’t get frustrated with it. They have fun even when they’re behind on points.

To sum it up, Ticket to Ride is complex enough for endless adult play and simple enough for the whole family to enjoy. It’s offers a challenge for new and veteran gamers alike. I can honestly say I didn’t realize something was missing from life until I played Ticket to Ride. If you liked this review and want to be kept up to date please follow my page and like me on Facebook. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Contests from Board Game Geek

Greetings All,

Board Game Geek has some contests I just wanted to post for you guys. Good luck everyone!

Tiny Epic Galaxies – This is a 2-4 player game from Gamelyn Games and the BGG giveaway ends tomorrow 1/18/15.

Wallenstein – This is a 3-5 player game by Queen Games and the BGG giveaway ends 1/22/15.

Orleans – This is a 2-4 player game by Tasty Minstrel Games and the BGG giveaway ends 1/20/15.

Thank you for looking, good luck everyone, and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Why I chose specific stress relieving games. (requested)

Greetings All,

This post will not be very long. I was asked to give a reason why I chose Ticket to Ride and Castle Panic to pull me out of the difficult time I experienced last year.

Ticket to Ride is a game that is very simple to grasp. My children latched on very quickly to mechanics of the whole thing. Connecting routes although simple, has a lot of thought process going into it. There are times when you’re calculating so many different things at once you forget it’s your turn. It’s great that you can be so distracted with your calculations, yet the moment someone tells you it’s your turn, your automated responses take over. I always have fun looking around the table and seeing everyone’s “thinking faces”. Some people will breath heavily and bulge their eyes, while others lips will move because they’re counting. It’s adorable. All of us have gotten in the habit of not only competing against each other, but competing against our old scores. It’s strange to think that this habit has come from a board game and is one of the biggest influencers in my children’s drive to always strive to do better in life. Anyhow, in short I love this game because it’s one my family loves. Regardless of who wins, we all acknowledge each others strategies and I love it.

Castle Panic is a game I’ve opined enough about that anyone who has frequented my blog should be well aware of my love for it. If I had to pinpoint the exact reason I love it, it’d most definitely be the chain of support that comes with co-op games. We can take risks because someone else on our team has assured us that if it doesn’t go as planned, they have us covered. We plan several turns ahead of time and in my head it becomes this beautiful piece of artwork we’ve managed to spin together. Togetherness is represented better in this game than in any other game I’ve ever played. It has great features for everyone. My husband and son both love tower defense games, my daughters love saving the day, and myself… I just love working as one for a little bit. In our day-to-day lives we are constantly working towards numerous goals for our lives and a great deal of them are competitive. It’s lovely to work towards something together and relax in our little security net.

I hope that my brief opinion will help you guys to make your own decisions regarding games. Please feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to give you some game suggestions. Thank you and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Thank you!!!

Greetings All,

I received so many nice private messages about my last post: How board games saved my sanity. I was asked several questions. One question was why the specific board games I mentioned were so helpful to me. Another was if board games had helped in any other aspect of my life. I was also asked to feature Ticket to Ride, so that those of you that haven’t been lucky enough to play it can become more familiar with it.

I told these people I would answer their questions. So consider this message a friendly reminder to come back tomorrow for why I chose Ticket to Ride and Castle Panic as the games the helped my family. I will also put up a post regarding other ways board games have helped me the following day!

Thank you so much for your support and I am so happy to hear that board games have helped all of you as well. It means a lot to me that people are starting to open up and contact me with their stories. I love reading them and I hope you will share your stories with others… perhaps if we all pitch in we can help to make board games a more common way to help people in their times of need. Thank you! Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

How board games saved my sanity.

Greetings All,

This is a post that I have been extremely unsure in writing, but maybe it will help someone as much as it helped us.

My husband and I had some very unfortunate events happen to us this time last year. We were going through a rough custody case and ended up going several months without seeing our children. During that time, we had no clue what to do with ourselves… we went through a large amount of depression and the thing that helped the most was board games.

We played Ticket to Ride and Castle Panic like they were going out of style. I think it’s quite obvious that it didn’t fix the entire situation, but it was one heck of a coping mechanism and a healthy one at that. Board games exercised our minds and made us interact. I know that there were many days when my husband and I only wanted to curl up in balls and pretend like the world outside did not exist.

I know it most sound silly for me to say “if we can beat this game against all odds, surely we can put the pieces of our lives back together.” Something like that probably seems childish, but you know what it really was to us? Hope. It was a moment in our day where we could conquer this or that and have hope in our life. You’d be surprised at how far a small glimmer of hope can take you. No matter why you have that hope and how you got it, it becomes a powerful thing that can lead you out of your sadness and help you maintain sanity until the storm passes.
I can see how someone would doubt that board games could make that much of a difference, but it did for us.

If you are having a difficult time in life, board games are incredibly helpful. If you are frustrated by the way that things are going competitive games are great, like Ticket to Ride or King of Tokyo. The competitive nature of the games help let out the anger in a more productive manner, you can take a minute to strive hard to beat your competition and even if you do not win… it has taken some of the stress off of you.

If you are feeling alone or sad, cooperative games are perfect, like Castle Panic or Sentinels of the Multiverse. When you work together to reach a common goal, you automatically get a sense of closeness and it’s beautiful.
Our situation definitely called more for co-op games, although we did have our times when we wanted to compete.

We had many late nights with board games, tv shows in the background, and snacks by our side. The more we played our games, the more the two of us bonded. We started to consider board games part of our family and you know what? Well after we got our children back and that storm passed… board games are still part of our family. They’ve helped us bond with our children. We played board games with them before and after the custody battle and that is something that made the transition much easier on all of us. When we got them back, our board game nights made it feel like they were never gone.

Even now, when we have a stressful day or week we play board games to help overcome the stress. It works like a charm every time.
Having gone through sadness with and without board games, I can tell you that they really did make a difference. If you don’t try to relax you end up going through life so serious all of the time.

You know The Game of Life? While I can say that real life doesn’t quite happen the way that it does in that game, the creators weren’t entirely wrong in making a game called Life. I for one consider many pieces of real life to be like a game. I even make up “game plans” for stressful situations and more often than not I do manage to defeat the goblins or dragons and get prizes… like my car getting repaired.

Alright, now I’m just babbling and probably not making a whole lot of sense. My point is that board games are perfect for escaping life for a bit. You can be someone else, lead a different life… for however long it takes you to complete that game and it’s wonderful. I realize that these are things that you can also do in books and video games, but holding a controller is vastly different from moving your game pieces around the board or rolling actual dice as opposed to flicking the controller or tapping a screen.

In all honesty I can’t sit here and tell you for sure that board games will make as big of a difference in your life as they have mine, but what I can tell you is it never hurts to try. The games you play do not have to be the ones I’ve mentioned in this blog. Go out and try Jenga, Monopoly, or even Uno. Don’t let the stresses of life beat you down, take your dice and roll as best as you can. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Board Game Contests

Greetings All,

Just a short post today. I am going to start making mini posts whenever a board game contest comes up or a fantastic deal. That said, in case I haven’t mentioned this before. Be sure to subscribe to the Miniature Market newsletter, they always have a Deal of the Day. 🙂

Boardgamegeek.com is having a 2015 Challenge. There is the normal challenge and the hardcore challenge. We are doing the hardcore challenge. You should really check it out. Essentially, you play ten games ten times each throughout 2015 for the chance to win some board games and geek gold. When we officially choose the games that we will be playing, I’ll let you guys know.

Passport Game Studios is having a contest tomorrow to win one of their three new games!

Also you should check out this cute parody of Do you want to build a snowman? Entitled Do You Want to Play a Board Game?

I hope every enters the contests, nothing beats free stuff! I’ll post again soon regarding the subject of Hospital Gaming! Thank you for looking and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard