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 Bartender!

Hello Internets!

I figured I’d introduce myself to the blog fans, I’m J. I’ll likely be doing some behind the scenes stuff here, with an occasional article. I’d still like to introduce myself as part of the growing crew here, and as part of the board game table (you could call me The Bartender since I’m always bringing and making the drinks). I wanted to write an article about board gaming and a bit my history with it.

What a lot of people know about me is that I love video games, but they don’t really know that even younger I had a love of board games too. Friends of mine never cared for board games- so I was left playing video games alone or occasionally with family. I don’t have too many memories of my childhood (I blame that concussion I got in college) but one I do remember is playing Payday with my step dad.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a classic from the 1970s. You play on a month with 31 days, where bills and other things rack up. At the end of the month you get your salary and have to pay off all those bills that racked up that were unexpected or taken on in trying to earn more cash- by buying properties and the like. In retrospect it was similar to adult-life but without crying myself to sleep every night. The crushing reality was surprisingly still there though.

I didn’t play much else growing up. The occasional hated Monopoly game, the forgettable Yahtzee. The stuff they let you play in class with an educational twist (though I have to say, Spanish Scrabble is a lot more fun than regular English Scrabble). I got into trivia style games late in high school, but due to having a tendency of being able to guess the answer out of nowhere- no one wanted to play very often. In college there wasn’t many board games- mostly just Smash Bros, an N64, and the closest we got to board games in Cut-throat Uno and Euchre. I think maybe there was a Game of Life and a Family Feud the board game somewhere in there but nothing too exciting.

So when I reconnected with The Husband a few years ago and he asked if I wanted to play board games, there was interest for sure. He knew me as mostly a video gamer, but fast with rules and how things are played. And I’m glad we did. I never knew how much the industry had grown in such a short amount of time, and how much it’s still growing. I’m happy to play some of my faves with new and old friends alike. We’ve had some heated arguments on rules a few times, but there’s still love at the table.

If you’re just starting out like I was a couple years ago and all you know of is something like Payday- some of my faves are Ticket to Ride, Takenoko, Splendor, and my newest in Tiny Epic Galaxies. Don’t get me wrong- there’s plenty of other great titles I enjoy playing, but those are my personal faves for sure. Start slow, with a group one evening you’re free. Bring some drinks like I usually do. And the next thing you’ll know it’ll be 1 AM, and you’ll be asking yourself how many games you guys played that night.

When you stop counting, you know you’re having fun. When you start counting again because it’s not enough games in one night- you know you’re a fan. Until next time, cheers.

J, aka The Bartender

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

Merry Christmas

Greetings All,

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope all of you have/will manage(d) to get in a board game or two in today. Our Christmas celebration was yesterday, we only played three games between dinner and gift giving. I just wanted to share them with you.

Christmas Trivia by Greenbrier-

-2+ Players, 5+ Mins-

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We played with five us and said the first one to ten got a candy cane. There are three questions on each card and the range from very easy to fairly hard. It’s definitely a kid friendly game, but they made it with enough complicated questions to be fun for adults as well.

Munchkin Loot Letter by AEG and Steve Jackson Games-

-2-4 Players (We played with five), 20 Mins-

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This is “Love Letter with a face lift.”, as my husband says. It’s Love Letter meets Munchkin. It is a great play and easy to learn. All of the cards originate from the game Munchkin and they all have the same abilities as the one from Love Letter.

-Glow Stick Ring Toss-

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This is one you can make yourself, but I bought mine at Dollar Tree. It was too cold to play outside. We waited until it was dark outside and turned off the lights in the house. We played ring toss in the living room. Originally we had planned on playing first to five, however, the task of making one ring proved so difficult that it became the first to one. It took us twenty minutes of playing before my son finally made one ring, but it was really fun.

One last thing I’d like to share with you is the idea of family gifts. We make a small list of family gifts, which are usually board games or movies. This year we had the games mentioned above as well as Munchkin Panic and a Uno variant. I will review these two later as we have not yet played them. Thank you so much for reading, have a Happy Holiday, and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard

Meet my kitty.

Greeting all,

Meet my kitty, Saint. He is my Christmas gift from my husband. He is adorable and so sweet (my kitty, not my husband… although he’s adorably sweet as well!). Saint is 8 weeks old and a rescue.

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Saint is named after several things: One – Saint Walker from the Blue Lantern Corps. You’re familiar with Green Lantern, yeah? Well there are also Blue Lanterns. 🙂 Two – The Boondock Saints is one of my favorite movies. Did you know that there was a Norman Reedus before Daryl Dixon? And Third – He was a Christmas gift, so you can also say he was named after Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, because I’m cliché’ like that.

Saint will be helping me out with some Board Game pictures, so I thought I’d let you get familiar with him first! 🙂 Happy Holidays from us to you and until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard