It’s time for one of my favorite columns: Around the World of Board Gaming. Several mainstream media have covered the topic of board games. NBC wrote about how board games bring out the worst in us. The Economist wrote about the growth of our hobby in Nigeria. ABC had a write up about how messy children’s games can be. And Cosmo of all places had several articles about our favorite pastime*. Each put their own spin on how they covered our beloved hobby. I’ll go over each article. Also, Hasborg is conquering Mattel. And we will wrap up with our close to home section.
*Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about board games.
Around the World of Board Gaming December 2017
Cosmopolitan has some write ups about…board games?
Cosmopolitan, that liberating magazine, has been giving women advice on fashion and sex since 1965. In recent weeks, they’ve also been giving women advice about our other favorite pastime: board games. The articles range from gift giving ideas for this Christmas season to the latest adult party games.
Cosmo (UK) gave us this advice for Christmas shopping: the top board game sellers on Amazon this season. As you might expect, various editions of Monopoly top the list because top selling does not equal top quality. But the advice isn’t horrible if you don’t know much about the hobby. Oddly, A Game of Thrones edition of Monopoly is one of this season’s top sellers. Prediction: I will find copies of this game at thrift stores in 2018.
Earlier in December, Cosmo published an article worthy of boardgamegeek.com. The article, entitled “All the different types of board game players that are sure to ruin your Christmas” is a geeklist waiting to happen. The list includes many family game tropes such as the family member who turns every board game into a drinking game. Or the sore loser who flips the table. Of all the articles I critique in this post, this one is the best. Read it. It’s cute.
Cosmo also did a review of a game. The adult board game, Pick Your Poison, is a “would you rather” game. Place two unappealing (and often raunchy) scenarios in front of your friends. Make them choose which one they would prefer. While this game isn’t the highest rating game on BGG, it is definitely in Cosmo’s wheelhouse.
And I am glad to see Cosmo giving love to my hobby.
NBC tells us why board games bring out the worst in people
NBC News has a pop culture section. Earlier this week they published a piece called, “Why board games bring out the worst in us“. The article, which is also a geeklist-waiting-to-happen, tells us why, in a pop psychology way, board games can make us behave badly.
It seems these are not “just games”. Our brains cannot tell the difference between a board game loss and an actual real world loss. From the article: “…imagined situations activates the same brain regions as the actual experience”. This might explain Dusty’s typical disposition at The Gaming Annex.
Family dynamics is also a reason why board games can bring out the worst in us. Kids want a crack at beating their old man. Siblings want to take down their older brother. The ugly ramifications from this are obvious.
The article gives some half-hearted advice about how to fix this. You can really just skip that part. Overall the article is a bit weak in the science department. I guess that’s what you get from a pop culture section piece. But to its credit, the author did name drop “Settlers of Catan”.
ABC gets all wet with board games
ABC wrote a hit piece about board games. Their article Board games get messy with squirting toilets, soggy dogs discusses how modern children’s games are trending towards getting players wet.
Hasbro re-released their “classic” game Pie Face. Long time readers may recall my dismissal of this “game”. While Pie Face will never be a Spiel de Jahres winner, its re-release was still a commercial success. Hasbro followed up this success with Toilet Trouble–a game where players huddle around a water filled basin shaped like a commode.
The article rambles on without much point. Overall, the tone is negative which seems odd for a lifestyle piece about board games. The one positive note is that parents find their kids are enjoying the wet and messy games more than traditional games like Candy Land.
Hasbro will dominate Mattel in 2018
Hasbro. Hasborg. I’ve written about them extensively. I have a love/hate relationship with this we-could-be-great-but-let’s-settle-for-mediocrity company. Despite my strident feelings, Hasbro is slated to hammer Mattel in 2018.
2017 was not kind to toy makers. Toys ‘R Us announced bankruptcy. Tons of competition from the digital side. But Hasbro has making it work anyway. They have a monthly board game subscription. They have the rights to Star Wars toys. And Monopoly sales are strong.
Compare with Mattel. Mattel has lost its Christmas magic. Barbie and Fisher Price are performing weakly. And don’t get me started on Mattel’s board game line. It makes Hasbro look like Fantasy Flight.
If you are an investor, my recommendation is to buy Bitcoin. But if you insist on investing in a toy/game maker: you should consider Hasbro over Mattel.
The Economist reports that Nigerians got game
Yesterday the Economist published a story about the popularity of board games in Africa’s most populated nation. Nigerians love board games. Our favorite hobby is the preferred past time of Nigeria’s budding middle class.
Nigeria boasts more Scrabble clubs than the US and Canada combined. And the game of Monopoly was made an official sport in the west African country in 2016. There are national circuits for games like chess and Monopoly with cash and scholarship prizes.
I’m pleased to hear our hobby has made it to the shores of the Niger Delta. I’d love to come back to this subject in a year from now and be able to tell you that Nigerians have a Twilight Imperium national circuit and that Clash of Cultures is a national sport.
Closer to Home
I’d like to welcome Brian to our inner circle. Brian was promoted to Tier 1 recently. Brian has made The Gaming Annex his gaming home. Well, at least one of his gaming homes.
Brian has an impressive game collection. He brings over a new game every Thursday. And that is not an exaggeration. He is also our host for the podcast. With his camera and computer equipment, I’ve made him our A/V guy.
He also runs a similar website to this one: Iggy Games. Because of his knowledge of computers, programming and such, I’ve discussed some strategy with him about our group. Which brings us to the next topic: The Gaming Annex versus the Muskegon Area Gamers.
The Gaming Annex is part of the Muskegon Area Gamers. But only a part. There are several other groups, stores, etc that are gamers in the Muskegon area. While I try my best to make us the best club out there, The Gaming Annex is not the best fit for everyone in the universe. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help find the right group for you.
After discussing this with Brian, he bought a website called, “Michigan Gamers“. You can go on there and post your gaming events. There’s a map so you can search by location. The website is designed to be used by anyone in Michigan. But obviously all the stuff on it right now is close to Muskegon.
The Gaming Annex has a satellite store! Sort of. We have a presence at Timeless Treasures. You may recall Timeless Treasures is the thrift store that was located at the west end of our old location at 1976-1996 W Sherman Blvd. When we moved to 851 W Laketon, they moved to 1447 W Sherman Blvd, the corner of Sherman and Glenside.
This new location is big. We’re talking 3,000 ft². And the place is full of vendor. We have one game shelf there with about 50 games. We decided to move into this location because we were constantly inundated by people dropping by looking to buy games. I thought I would sell my extra games at Timeless Treasures, put some business cards on the games and get the word out that way.
This is a trial basis. But so far the sales have been surprisingly strong. Don’t tell Debbie. If she gets wind of it, she may try to get into Timeless Treasures herself so she can sell furniture 😉
Where the fun never stops