I have been playing board games all my life. It became a more passionate hobby of mine a few years ago when I visited my first board game café, Draughts in London. It opened my eyes to the huge world of games that were out there and I have made it my mission to try and play as many games as I can ever since! I love learning and playing new games so much!
I now play daily. With my wife, children and friends. Every day I am thinking what to play next. I spend hours on YouTube watching play through and how to plays. And enjoy writing about my own gaming experiences on my Instagram @jim.gamer and WhatBoardGame.com.
I love all games. From crunchy euros like Brass: Birmingham, quick two-player card games like Kompromat and party games like Top of the Pops. I will play and enjoy most games! I am yet to find a game I don’t want to at least try once. Ok, apart from Munchkin! (joke).
I have found games have helped me in many areas of life. They have helped me become a better dad. I spend more quality time with my children now. Thankfully they love games as much as me. And I often come down to them at the weekend with a game set up ready waiting for me to play with them. This is obviously a joyous thing for a father. Games have helped our communication and understanding of each other and created many happy memories I know we will all cherish for a lifetime.
Games have allowed me to lift my head out of screens and into my wives’ eyes after a long day at work. It gives me a chance to look at her. Really look at her. Talk and engage with her. Be a better husband to her and ask her how her day was. You can’t really talk over Netflix as easily, can you?
Personally, they have helped my mental health a lot too. They offer me a relaxed place of solitude when I need it, sat quietly reading a rule book is quite honestly one of my favourite things to do. I find the simple practice of doing this can bring me into a state of calm after a hectic and stressful day at work. And when I need something more social and loud, games are the conduit to this too!
They have given me a better connection with my family and friends and offered me a purpose. I was always unsure, like many I am sure, what role in this world I had. Like many, I often asked myself what had I done on this earth of worth? What had I achieved? What type of man was I and what type of person did I want to be? Games have changed this. I am now the game guy!
To think that just one person has brought some joy into their lives based on a chat about which games may suit their tastes and game group, fills me with such happiness! Not everyone has the time to watch thousands of hours on YouTube videos like me, to figure out which game is for them, or to play hundreds of games a year to understand which ones are best in which situations. So I am always very happy to help people narrow down their selections. I love doing this. And it has given me a sense of purpose. And as trivial as it sounds, one I am very proud of.
Through the board game community on Instagram, I have also met and become friends with some amazing people. It has opened my life up to so many new people around the world. Many of whom I have had very deep and inspiring conversations with. Games are our main connection, but we have created relationships so much beyond that.
One particular game night over zoom, deep into lockdown took me out of a very dark place. Simply by showing me that others out there were going through the same thing. I wrote about this night on my blog here. And it has defined who I am and how I think about games ever since.
This has helped me personally in a very deep and meaningful way. These connections kept me going through the lockdowns and have given me so much encouragement and a zest for life since. I have tried to reach out to as many people as I can to check in on them, and many people do the same back. Games have given me a community. A network of friends. A support group.
I will forever be grateful for what games have done for me. And I look forward to all the new people, joys and fun that they will bring in the future.