The current “shelter at home” strategy, in response to the COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic, has put the dampeners on my regular board gaming activities. My weekly calendar was firmly punctuated with Monday and Tuesday board gaming nights with the VCSB meetup group.
Several weekends a month I would also meet with the lads of the Socal Wargamers group for historically themed wargames. A full day at Game Empire in Pasadena with the lads is a great way to spend a Saturday. A definite bonus was having some pub grub washed down with a tasty adult beverage at the nearby Lucky Baldwins Trappiste pub. Good comforting food, like a good board game, never gets old. These regular gaming sessions now seem like a dim and distant memory.
My current board options are solo gaming, games with my (long suffering) gf, or playing online. My gf is able to put up with some of my board game choices but I cannot hope, nor should I expect her, to enjoy long and involved games centered on an obscure historical period, It is obvious that I will need a tech based solution to this problem. Using Vassal, apps, and websites; I am now regularly holding and hosting online board game sessions. More of that in another post.
The weekly F2F (face to face) board gaming sessions with the VCSB meetup group were a major part of my social calendar. I know that some of these people are sheltering at home alone. People are feeling distanced from each other. People need the social aspects of playing board games. People need to to be distracted from the current events. People need to stay connected even though we cannot easily and safely play games with each other. Hence I have been running online party game sessions on Saturday nights for as long as we are sheltering at home. Stay safe. Stay home.
This coming Saturday, 20th of April 2019, I will hopefully reach the milestone of my 600th play of the Battlestar Galactica board game. This figure has been a long time coming. It also is a reflection on how a board game group evolves over time.
My copy of Battlestar Galactica (aka BSG) was first played on the 28th November 2008 at LosCon #35, a annual science fiction contention, in Los Angeles. Over the next 4 years I played the game regularly, but not excessively. By 2012, I began to play it more often with my local Tuesday night Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup group. I was getting close to my 100th game played.
BALTARFEST 2012 was held on the 11th of November 2012. That day we played BSG a total of 9 times. I got to play BSG a total of three times that day. Three times in one day, that seems excessive. Hold that thought!
The game plays accumulate fast when you are playing two, three, or even four games of BSG a week. We had a regular group that played BSG a lot. BSG became a go-to game for Tuesday nights. We knew how to play and we could play fast. By FATDOG 2015 I had reached a total of 400 game plays. BSG was a familiar game on Tuesday nights and other gaming events.
The first 100 game plays took 6 years. The next 300 games took a mere 3 years to accumulate. I have played BSG 5 times in a single day on several occasions. I have even played 4 times in one evening. To be honest, playing 4-5 times in one day is quite mentally exhausting. The games just merge together into one.
The last 200 games have taken 3.5 years. The rate of games played has noticeably dropped. It seems that BSG had peaked as a board game in my playlist. Why is that? Had I begun to tire of being a cylon? Not at all. The game is still fun to play. The game is still a challenge. The player interaction is still thrilling. The truth was it was just harder to find others who were able or wanted to play. For some their lives have moved on and folks have moved away. The game is hard to learn too. We play with a mix of the base game and the three expansions. We play fast. It is hard for a newcomer to keep up with us at times. It has become harder to get the 5 experienced players together that is the optimum number for a game. The BSG base game and the three expansion modules are now long out-of-print and so there are less new people discovering the game. I have played BSG only 5 times this year, so far. Our regular group is meeting, just not as often. BSG is a still a great game but I do like to play other games too.
How do I have all these stats and information of how, where, and with who I have played BSG? Simple, I log my game plays on the BoardGameGeek website. See here for my article on why this logging of game plays is a good thing.
On a side note: I have to make a shout out to Ryan for arranging our venue for so many events. Many thanks for being a good sport. Btw, that certificate that exempts you from playing BSG has long expired at the end of 2017. See the pic below for proof.
Looking back at these photos I see a lot of great people that I have come to know solely because of board games. A wide range of ages, races, and professions, where the only thing we have in common is sharing a fun time over a table playing a game or two. I would not have missed these moments for anything. I hope to see my many cylon mates again soon. To share the challenge of being all sneaky and devious together.
So say we all.
18th April 2019
P.S. We will be playing lots of different board and card games at BALTARFEST 2019, not just Battlestar Galactica. You can RSVP for free on Meetup at the this link.
FATDOG means Friday After Thanksgiving Day of Gaming
A full day of open gaming with lots of variety in board games and tabletop gaming: euro games, family games, long strategy games, goofy games, dexterity games, party games and lots more. Beginners are welcome, we can teach you fun and challenging games, just bring yourself and the willingness to have some fun.
Open Gaming in Simi Valley, come one or come all. We have space, table and chairs… room for games big and small. Come for a few hours or stay the whole day. We are starting early and going ’til late.
Note: We will have some refreshments available for purchase. There are many eating establishments a short drive away. Please keep the venue clean and tidy.
We will need help with setting up and tidying up at the end of the day.
It’s a time to celebrate… again. The Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers meetup has surpassed another milestone statistic. Recently the group held its 1500th event. The group has come a long way since a few gamers met at Borders Books once a week. Now, we are meeting 3-4 times a week across 5 regular locations. Nice.
Don’t you just love it when software cannot count properly? According to Meetup, the VCSB meetup group had met almost 1500 times since the group was started by Adrian late in 2009. According to one page on the VCSB Meetup site the count was 1499 meetups held, while another page says 1487 meetups.
The 1500th meetup was at McGregors in Moorpark, so I had a celebratory adult beverage to celebrate the 1500 meetup. Just in case, I will also have another celebratory beer when we hit 1500 again in a few weeks. So far, I have attended a over 663 meetups according to their dodgy maths.
This weekend the group passed another milestone. The group now has over 900 members. Welcome folks.
Although the overall group membership continues to rise. The number of active members has stayed quite constant with a number between 150-200. Looking at the graph below, taken from the Meetup site, the number of active members has stayed constant for around 4 years.
The membership rises, but the active membership stays relatively constant. Weird, eh?.
I recently changed the questions posed to people joining the meetup group. How are new members finding out about the Meetup? Was it through this website, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, or through Meetup itself. So far, all of the new members have declared that they found out about the group from meetup alone. Weird, eh?
There happen to be two closely associated anniversaries this weekend. McGregors Craft Wine & Beer celebrate their 2nd anniversary. Secondly, it was one year ago that the VCSB meetup held our first gaming event at McGregors. Since that first Sunday event we have held many more events there. In fact we have held over 50 gaming events there including our weekly Boardgames & Beer public gaming event every Monday night
McGregors has proven to be a great place to hold a regular board gaming event. A great board gaming location requires a number of attributes that are not easy to find.
McGregors is located on Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark. This means close access to the 118 and 23 Freeways in sunny Ventura County.
There is plenty of free parking nearby in a well lit and open car park. No dark alleys nor long walks to a smelly and scary parking structure.
This is not a dingy dive bar. This is a modern building with good lighting. This makes it great for playing board games or for holding other events. Never underestimate the importance of good lighting.
Clean and large tables that are very board game friendly. Different size square tables make for flexability when setting up different games. There is also a large oval table that suits the large, party type, games. The tables are flat. The tables are clean. The chairs are normal height and comfortable. No need to be perched on tall and wobbly bar stools.
This is not a sports bar. The walls are not festooned with TVs. The noise level is low and there is no need to shout to be heard. This makes for a pleasant board gaming environment.
This is a craft beer and wine bar therefore it should be no surprise that McGregors have a great selection of beer and wine available. Check out the local brews. There are also non-alcoholic drinks too. There is no shortage of coasters/beer mats too. So far we have had only one spill and no Boardgames were harmed.
In addition to bar snacks, people can bring in outside food too. There happens to be both Jersey Mikes and Pizzaman Dan mere yards from McGregors.
Last, but not least, are the friendly staff. It is great that we have enough time to finish and pack up our games at closing time. This takes pressure away from rushing to finish a game before a set time.
Here’s to many more succesful years for McGregors and for our board gaming events there. The key thing is the symbiotic relationship with the venue. They provide us with a venue to play games. We buy their products. This is an open and public event. The public are welcome to join in with us. We welcome the public to take an interest in our activities. We bring beginner friendly games and we are willing to teach fun and engaging board games.