This is where it all started.

Greetings All,

I was looking through my memories on Facebook and I found a picture of the start of mine and my husbands board game collection back in 2013. Back then, we had less than 30 games and now we have over 300!

It started with some of your standard card games like Uno, Phase 10, and Skip-Bo and some not so standard ones like Fluxx and Dixit. We had your standard Yahtzee dice game and some fun dice games in Cthulhu dice and King of Tokyo. We went a little crazy with Catan and got three different Catan games.

This is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t particularly care for standard Catan, however, I really enjoy Catan dice and Rivals for Catan. I remember sitting in bed with my husband and playing Catan Dice all of the time, but if I’m being honest Rivals made a bigger impact on me. We had two player games like Chess and Mancala, but Rivals was the first big experience with two player only games.

I think that Dixit and King of Tokyo were probably the biggest inspirations to us embracing board games as a way of life. To this day both get good play. Of course, we had our games that just didn’t stick with us enough. We got rid of Apples to Apples and Story Cubes pretty quickly and with that followed quite a few others from this original collection. We try to go through our games before Christmas every year to see what we are getting rid of and the weird thing is that no matter when the last time we played… it always hurts to say goodbye to a game. We still have Catan Family Edition and I’m certain that we haven’t played it since 2013, but my husband insists on keeping it. He says it’s because it’s a classic, but I know it’s because it was from the start of our wonderous hobby.

The great thing about this collection is that most of it came from a shop called Yottaquest. It was our FLGS until they closed it down. It was wonderful being able to go and physically browse shelves of games that could and for some, would one day be ours. Having a FLGS was a great feeling because even though they were greatly overpriced, it was almost like another home. I believe I was always nervous and shy when I would go, but I knew that I didn’t have to be… I knew that those were my people. What a greatly missed feeling… I am hoping that my first trip to Gen Con brings back that neat little feeling.

I know that this post was random and all over the place, but I just felt like chatting about it a bit. Do you remember when your collection started? Tell me about it!! Thank you for stopping by and until next time… Live by the board.

-livingbytheboard

Meet the author… again!

Greetings All,

As requested here’s a bit more about me. Don’t forget to check out the Meet The Husband and Meet The Bartender posts!

For starters, as far as board games goes I really only played Monopoly, Scrabble, and Boggle. I played the occasional party or trivia game, but it was very rare. And with card and dice games I played Yahtzee and Poker. I was particularly gifted at Poker, which I think paved the way for some of strategy in games these days. So yeah… that’s really it. Games were not a large part of my childhood.

My husband and I met in 2011 and we got married the following year. I married into three lovely children and we were all very big on family time. It wasn’t long before we started branching off into games thanks to my husband. Among the first games purchased were Dixit, Catan, and Castle Panic. Two of these have become personal favorites. My husband loved the idea behind Castle Panic, it was something the five of us could do together… a game we could play fighting against a common enemy. Boy did that start one heck of loyal patronage to Fireside Games. Dixit was something that I got for me, it was one of my first selfish purchases. It’s art is so amazing and beautiful and I am quite a bit artsy myself.

I remember going to our now shutdown FLGS (friendly local game shop) and being super nervous. I was that way with everything really, my first visit to the comic shop was the same. I went through quite a large overhaul of personality when I met my husband. It was less a change and more of a discovery. I was very timid and sheltered. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in anything but a not so family friendly lifestyle. The journey of discovering that there was more to the world, more to me… was exhausting and fun all at the same time. It was fantastic realizing that I am a geek. 🙂

From there, I just kind of rolled with it. I keep in great contact with board game companies and comic writers/artists. I started this blog, started volunteering for Extra Life, and started hosting International Tabletop Day. I maybe have gone a bit overboard with geek culture, but it shouldn’t be so fun to dive into. Haha.

My husband and I had been trying for a baby for a while despite being in a rough custody battle (It was awful, the other party sucks. Don’t ask.) during which we got 50/50 custody of our older three. We got news from the doctor that my chances of having a baby were low. My husband bought me my first cat Saint to cheer me up. Four months later a friend of ours knew of some kittens and my husband got my our second cat T’Challa thinking that it’d help cheer me up even more. I had finally accepted not having a baby when I started feeling rough. I went to the ER early one morning after taking my husband to work. I was told that I had a stomach bug and (at the same time Harry Potter was playing in the back, when Harry is told “You’re a wizard, Harry.”) that I was pregnant. Also note that this was right before my birthday, haha. I had to sit on that news all freaking day. I picked my husband up from work and let him complain about his day all the way home. I finally let the beans spill when we got home and here we are now. My baby is almost 16 months old. We procured a pug named Ganthet to grow up with the baby knowing that for half the week he’d be an only sibling. There are now six of us and three pets and it is tiring, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We’ve started introducing the youngest to giant polyhedral sets and water proof cards. We’ll make a sixth gamer yet.

I now fill up my free time with several volunteer positions, a personal assistant job, Etsy shop, and this blog. You must be wondering where I get this free time. I don’t, things get done when they get done. My husband has made a lovely life for me and our children and I am grateful to him for it. We have a good lot of friends that game as well and it makes life that much more worth it. This year will be my first year attending Gen Con, why did I pick the 50th anniversary?? 🙂

Thank you for reading, I hope it wasn’t too long and boring. Please take a chance to like us on Facebook and follow of on WordPress and Twitter. Take a peek a the Etsy page while you’re at it. And until next time… Live by the board.

-Livingbytheboard

Tabletop Day 2017

Greetings All,

So as you may have noticed, “The Husband” and “The Bartender” will be joining the blog once in a while and I am grateful to have them. Also new… my site is no longer livingbytheboard.wordpress.com, it’s just livingbytheboard.com. How cool is that?! I have also joined multiple accounts of mine: Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy. Please check us out and give us a like. 🙂

-Tabletop Day 2017-

This year for TTD we had several sponsors that helped provide games, party favors, and prizes. Literally everyone went home with something, which is a great way to keep the spirit alive because we hold a competition every year. If you’ve ever heard of a television series called The League (If you haven’t please check it out, it’s great.) then you will be aware that it is about a group of friends that play Fantasy Football. During the Superbowl the two people with the highest points go to the Shiva Bowl and the two with the lowest points go to the Sacko Bowl. Well we copied that for our TTDs, except it’s the top four and bottom four players. These players go to two separate games to decide the winner and loser. To get to that point, however, we play three mega games that get graded. The way we grade this is by using the Mario Kart point system.

This year our qualifying games were Mega Dixit, Disc Duelers, and Ticket to Ride. I have enough decks to where Mega Dixit was easy. We used post it notes to label the cards and to vote. Disc Duelers and Ticket to Ride can be utilized with multiple copies of the game if you have large numbers of players. Our Shiva Bowl game was Tokaido and our Sacko Bowl game was Takenoko. That said, just because we used Takenoko as the Sacko Bowl does not mean we dislike. Quite the opposite actually, it is a very easy game to grasp and has a fun subject matter which I feel lessons the blow of being in the Sacko Bowl. After the competition we played Kill Doctor Lucky.

We played for nearly ten hours. There was a potluck and a $10 charge at the door if you were drinking because The Bartender was our bartender – thus the name. Everyone got a gift bag with games and promos and there were door prizes. The winner (myself) and the loser both get plaques. I wood burn them so they are not ready on the day of, I’ll post pictures when my polyurethane dries.

One of my favorite things about TTD is watching newbies enjoy themselves and really see the new-found board game addiction blossom. There are several people who frequent our table, including myself, that are anxiety riddled or just really keep to themselves. TTD brings out the social, goofy person in those people and it’s a lovely sight. We have goofballs whom seem like they can’t take anything seriously, but the moment the competition starts… they are on the ball, it’s fantastic! We are all so incredibly different and to see the lot of all working towards one goal and having such a great time… well to be honest, it is weirdly breath-taking and yes I know that sounds odd. Let me explain. I am not social. Large crowds freak me out and I am slightly temperamental. This is the one time of year when I am not terrified of being smashed into a small place with tons of other people, and do you know why? Because it’s worth it. No matter who I am before I start playing a game, I can be someone else during the game. If I’m playing Castle Panic, for a little while I really feel like I am defending my castle. If I play Tokaido, I get to relax and believe I am on this wonderous journey. I love it and oddly enough I’m not a fan of RPGs.

Something that concerned me thins year is that I had my 15 month old son with me. We don’t have family that I trust or that are willing to watch him because of his age. We don’t have spare money to pay for a babysitter. What we do have is a great group of people whom do not mind his presence at all. Just like last year, these people were by our sides offering to hold him or distract him while I took my turn. I got to watch my friends feed him and play with him. I am very grateful for them and their reactions. Sadly festivities were cut short because my son caught a stomach virus from my ten year old. We took him to the ER. Luckily nothing seriously was wrong, but it did last eight days. He is doing much better now.

Anyhow, thanks for hanging in there with me through this extremely long post. Feel free to reach out with any questions, although I can not reveal my sponsors for TTD, so please don’t ask. Thanks again and until next time… Live by the board.

-Livingbytheboard

Castle Panic Attack (I made a funny about my anxiety, haha)

Greetings All,

I’ve got to tell you that I wrote, rewrote, and erased this post probably about a dozen times. I’m not very good about writing about my feelings and getting my point across. I’m more of an over the phone type person. Any who, between my husband asking me to put this up and some of you asking me to elaborate of how board games have helped my anxiety, here I am.

Let me start off by saying that anxiety varies, some people have mini panic attacks or stress induced sweat caused by the tiniest of things and for others it takes a great deal of pressure to evoke a reaction. I’ve had panic attacks that last for seconds and I’ve had some that had long-lasting effects, I’m talking the entire day. These things aren’t jokes or cries for attention. People with anxiety, just like any other mental illness are actually suffering.

I happen to have panic attacks brought on by the smallest of things, sometimes even something as simple as people chewing too loud. I have a great deal of trouble in crowded areas, stores are a nightmare for me, but sometimes even game nights cause issues. I know it’s cheesy and cliché’, but my husband greatly improves my anxiety. Where as my kids make it so much worse… Going to the store with four rowdy kids is very intense.

At game nights I occasionally have an attack, it has nothing to do with who’s there. I can be around people I am 100% comfortable with and still get worked up. A couple of years ago, we just started warning new comers by saying “Hey I have a bit of anxiety please don’t take it personal and please don’t judge me.”. Now, sometimes this worked like a charm and sometimes I’d be stared at all night, like people were waiting for it to happen. So I had to develop techniques to focus on the task at hand and calm my self down before it became a show. As much as I love International Tabletop Day, it takes a great deal of effort to stay focused.

Now on to the helpful board games. I’ve found that really focusing on specific parts of game helps. Games like Five Tribes (intense Mancala) are great for this. It is a game night favorite for me. Staring at the board to calculate and count up my next move and several back up moves in case mine get taken…is hypnotic. I hate to say this, but I think anxiety actually helps me with Five Tribes. I’m certain that if I wasn’t so busy trying not to focus on relieving my attack that I wouldn’t be so engrossed in the game strategy. Then you have games like Castle Panic and Love Letter that for me are so automated that if I need a break from the room I can literally block out everything and play those games in my sleep. I’m not sure if this is because of my love for these games or because I’ve played so many times, but when I say automated… I mean it.

On to the not so helpful games… There are games that I love like Dixit, Codenames, or Concept that just increase pressure if I’m experiencing an attack. In all of these games you are giving hints and such keep the game going . Something fun like giving the table a silly hint towards your Dixit card can become something horrible like: Was my hint good enough? Did I make it too easy? Too hard? Am I going to get any points? What if no one understands my hint? What if I got my Pop Culture reference wrong? It is exhausting, which is why I try my best to never play trivia games. There are also games like Ticket to Ride (love) and Disc Duelers (like) that become so competitive that it turns into an angry situation. We have an intense group of friends, my husband and myself included… and when someone takes the six train route on TTR that you’ve just got the final card for or someone knocks you off the table in Disc Duelers, it becomes a glaring match and sometimes a screaming match. For the most part my game night attendees are close to us, that these angry moments are because we are comfortable enough to say ‘Hey you d!ck! You took my route!”.

I want to clarify that when I say helpful and not so helpful, IT DOES NOT reflect the quality of the game itself. For instance I said I love Dixit, Codenames, and Concept… well I do, and they are party games. They are games that usually mean I’m in a bigger group. That isn’t always a bad thing, in fact, if not for party games I’d probably never be around that many people… so kudos to party games for making me less of a hermit. I absolutely love Ticket to Ride, it’s probably my favorite game, but it gets intense. I do not dislike Disc Duelers, I just have NEVER had a relaxed game of that (my husband refers to it as RPG battle pogs.) It is still a great game for a group… that you are comfortable with. Do not play that with strangers.

Moral of the story is, do not let anxiety hold you back. Although some games are not helpful to my anxiety… I would not trade my gaming experiences for the world. Each time I play it brings me closer to working though my issues, each time I play I feel closer to my friends and family. I try not to avoid games with the exception of a few, and even then, I do try play and enjoy myself. Not every game is going to help you and not every game is going to make things worse, but at the end of the day, you still played games didn’t you? You didn’t let your worries stop you and that itself is worth it. I’m sorry about how long this post was, but I do hope that it helped someone. Please look at board game names as there will be links attached to them. If any of you want to ask me questions please feel free.  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