The problem with my elevator pitch is that I never get to the end of it before someone joins in. When I started the business everyone said - you need an elevator pitch. I looked askance and they said - you have to be able to explain the business in less than a minute. (With society's dwindling attention span that's probably more like 3 seconds now- but that's a different blog about how board games will save society). So, I start my 'pitch' and before I get to the end I'm in a conversation about board games - I'm scribbling recommendations down in my notebook; they're asking me for recommendations or we are just reminiscing. But it's not all reminiscing - the board game renaissance is in full swing.
I've been working for this crazy woman for a year now and I have no regrets. I love my new job even when she forgets to give me a day off for two weeks straight. The best thing about my job is bringing people together over board games. (Apart from Monopoly - but that's a separate blog!)
At one event, a couple worked their way through a series of quickish, 'light' games. As they asked me for another recommendation, they shared the fact it was their first date. They had never met in person before. And, it was going well. What more excellent way could there be to get to know someone on a different level than the normal first date chit chat enables you to? Just think what you learn by playing a game with someone: how strategic they are, how serious, how gracious in defeat or victory. And, importantly - whether they are any fun. And this is all extra information - you still chat but if you're shy and the chat dries up, you have something to focus on and talk about.
When I worked in a hotel in York, working unsociable hours meant I often went to 'things' on my own: theatre, cinema, gigs. I enjoyed them but the problem was they were all fairly solitary environments and I would often experience little or no human interaction, even though there were many people there. If there had been games nights or Random Encounter, I'd have definitely hung out there.
I am always so pleased and proud when people turn up to my events on their own. Especially women - as a woman I often felt limited as to where I could go and feel safe so it's particularly important to me. I want to offer a safe, inclusive space where people can interact with others at a level that they are comfortable with. It's so lovely to be part of a community where acceptance feels like the norm. That's not to say we don't have to work on accessibility and spreading the board gaming love. There are so many people out there working on this - just check my twitter feed, it's full of hope for an inclusive future. The board gaming world is but a microcosm of the big wide world and if we get it right here then who knows what we can achieve...
Whether it's at weddings, parties, a quiet night in or a night down the pub - games give us the opportunity to just be together. The pressure to make conversation is removed. We can immerse ourselves in a game - forget all our worries and stresses, ignore the beeping phone and just be.
All my great gaming experiences are about other people - meeting new people, spending time with 'old' friends, teaching and learning new games, remembering old ones. So, dig a game out and get together.
This weekend we're getting together over a game of Kodama and Koi Pond. Strategy and prettiness; perfect. Then on Monday I'm getting 32 teenagers together for an Exploding Kittens Off - and I can't wait!
Who are you getting together with and what are you playing? Let me know in the comments below or on our facebook page.