By Amy Toman
Last month we talked about loving a digital gamer. We touched on not being afraid, asking questions, entering their world and playing with them. A lot of these same ideas apply to a board gamer as well as the others I am going to mention today.
Monopoly, Sorry, Chess and Checkers are some games that come to mind when someone mentions that they play board games. These are some great games, but are not the typical games that board gamers prefer to play. The world of board gaming has expanded beyond what I would have ever thought. There are some new popular board games, such as Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan, that can be find in most major stores, as well as specialty game stores . Each board gamer is unique and has their own favorite type of games; some might like social deduction, worker placement, party games or any of that combination. Board gamers can be found anywhere and can be found playing any variety of board games, some you might have heard of and some you might not.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that there are many people you know who enjoy playing board games. The ways of loving a board gamer is a bit different than loving a digital gamer. Loving a board gamer can be done in a variety of places — from your house, your church, or even the local coffee shop — as opposed to occurring on a computer or digital platform. Here are some practical tips on how to love a board gamer in your community.
1. Ask the individual if they enjoy playing board games and what their favorite is. I would bet that there is an individual in your life whom you are currently loving that is a board gamer but scared to let people know. When someone answers that they are a board gamer, show excitement and love for their games. Do not be surprised to hear that they spend many nights playing board games with different people and at different places, or that they have an entire closet filled with games. Asking questions and finding out what they enjoy is the first step in connecting.
2. Invite them to your house or a public location for an afternoon of board gaming. Ask them to bring their favorite games and see if they are willing to teach you how to play. The difference in board gaming vs. digital gaming is that board games still need to happen in a face-to-face, physical location. Use this time to learn a new game, but also learn about the gamer. Provide or purchase some food and drinks and get to know the individual on a more personal level while playing a fun game.
3. PLAY TO LEARN, NOT TO WIN. This tip must be stated as it keeps your initial meeting fun, relaxed, and will lead to more. When you are first learning a game, play to learn the game, not to win. Each board game will have basic rules that are required to play the game and underlying strategy options in order to win the game. Focus on the basic rules the first few times you play; once you learn the rules and learn more about the gamer, you can start trying different strategies that will improve your chances of winning.
4. Go to a Meet Up. This last tip is more about creating more relationships and finding local gamers, but it’s worth saying. Each city will have a board game meetup of some sort. For some, it occurs through a website called Meet Up; for others it might be gaming nights in your local game store. This is a great opportunity to get to know other gamers, but to also experience a little bit of gaming culture.
Digital gaming and board gaming may take place in different mediums, but there is a lot of overlap. Gaming has its subcultures just like everything else, but a gamer is an individual just like you. A gamer may look different, act different and enjoy different things than you, but they are also eager to share their love of games. Take a step out of your comfort zone and reach out to a gamer around you. Share God’s love with them, encourage them and spend time with them. Love them for who they are currently, the games they play and beliefs they have. Create a relationship and show them love just as God has shown love to us through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.