Board Games Are Getting Really, Really Popular
Jonathan Kay, co-author of the brand new e-book Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About Life, has largely given up on films and TV, and has as an alternative made tabletop gaming his main mode of recreation.
“It has a social function in my life, and an intellectual function,” Kay says in Episode 392 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I’ve now written a book about it, so I guess it has a professional, editorial function. It’s a huge part of my life.”
Kay wrote the e-book along with Joan Moriarty, who works full-time on the Snakes & Lattes board sport cafe in Toronto. The idea of a board sport cafe could also be unfamiliar to many, however Kay believes that Snakes & Lattes is a crucial establishment.
“I’m not sure if it’s still the biggest board game cafe in North America, but I think it might be the oldest single-purpose urban board game cafe,” he says. “And the Snakes & Lattes business model became a model for people creating board game cafes in other cities.”
The rise of such cafes is a testmant to the rising reputation of board video games. Sales quadrupled between 2013 and 2016, and the annual Gen Con conference now attracts over 70,000 attendees, Kay amongst them. He enjoys the laid again environment among the many largely quiet, bookish players. “Introverts are actually usually very careful about their social interactions, because they know that if there’s conflict that emerges, they won’t know how to manage it,” he says. “So as a result there’s a heightened sense of politeness and consideration at these places.”
But even amongst so many fellow players, it may be a problem discovering opponents for his most well-liked sport, Advanced Squad Leader. He notes that the tabletop group can be a assortment of separate subcultures who usually view one another’s video games with mutual disregard.
“Half the people there are there for miniatures,” he says. “They love it. And I’m like, ‘Shoot me now.’ I have zero interest in it. Spending four hours painting a tiny little goblin so you can fight someone else’s little goblin? I’d rather do macrame.”
Listen to the whole interview with Jonathan Kay in Episode 392 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And try some highlights from the dialogue under.
Jonathan Kay on Ray Bradbury:
“There was a short story of his called ‘The Jar,’ and it was about this really creepy exhibit at a local fair—Ray Bradbury was always obsessed with the creepy local iconography of small communities—and there was nothing in it that was ‘monsters from outer space’ or something like that, but I remember reading it and recognizing that the effect it was having on me, the effect of fear and suspense, was all based on the inner lives of the characters, and my own inner reaction to what was going on. It made me realize that if you want to use reading or writing to understand who you are, and understand the human condition, you’re going to have to put away some of the formulaic genres like space opera and focus on the ultimate question of all great writing, which is, ‘Who are we?’”
Jonathan Kay on discovering opponents:
“The sport that I actually love is that this obscure sport referred to as Advanced Squad Leader—it’s a World War II sport, I’ve a chapter about it in my e-book. There are most likely possibly like 10,000 severe ASL gamers in the entire world. I simply got here again from Albany—we’ve got a event there. I’m going to Cleveland yearly in October for a event. In March I’ll be going to Copenhagen for a event. I dwell in Toronto, which is a metropolis of three million folks, however there most likely aren’t greater than a pair thousand actually severe board players. … And somebody who loves one sport could not have any curiosity in one other sport, so of these couple thousand folks, there could solely be like 10 or 20 who share my ardour for a specific sport.”
Jonathan Kay on sport shops:
“If you go to [The Compleat Strategist in New York], you may see precisely what board sport tradition seemed like within the ’70s and ’80s, as a result of they’ve this bulletin board, and the bulletin board is precisely what bulletin boards seemed like in each comedian e-book retailer—and sci-fi and board sport retailer—once I was a child. It was like, ‘Desperately searching for opponents for Age of Rome‘ or ‘We want a fourth for such-and-such,’ with the telephone numbers written on the backside, and little hatched items of paper that you simply tore off and caught in your pocket. And some folks nonetheless dwell in that world. They don’t need to be on the web. That’s a part of the rationale they do board gaming.”
Jonathan Kay on his e-book Among the Truthers:
“I went on so many National Public Radio applications. NPR listeners prefer to know that a e-book [about conspiracy theories] exists. I’m undecided how many individuals would really learn it, however I met so many individuals who had been like, ‘Oh, I’ve bought to provide your e-book to my uncle,’ or ‘I’ve bought to provide your e-book to my ex-wife,’ or ‘I’ve bought to provide your e-book to my boss.’ Everyone I met, they didn’t want the e-book, however they had been satisfied that the loopy particular person of their life did. But in fact that particular person had no real interest in studying my e-book. So that’s one of many causes I didn’t get wealthy off the e-book, however I’m actually glad I wrote it, if just for the truth that it taught me the warning indicators of when the sort of considering begins to contaminate my very own consciousness.”