Online board gaming in the age of Corona

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.

Tim

Two Milestones

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.

Ted hosted the 1499th meetup
Ted hosted the 1499th meetup

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.

When is 1500 not 1500... when it says 1487
When is 1500 not 1500… when it says 1487

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.

We celebrated the 1500th meetup with some beer
We celebrated the 1500th meetup with some beer
I have attended 663 of the 1500 meetups
I have attended 663 of the 1500 meetups

 

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 member stays relatively constant

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?

Tim

Board Games And Beer on 25th June 2017 – After Action Report

Last Sunday, the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers held an event at McGregors Craft Beer & Wine, in Moorpark, CA from 2pm until closing time. Although this is not the first time we have held an event at a commercial location. This is the first time we had held an event at an establishment that primarily serves alcohol. In addition, this was the first time we had held an event in Moorpark. I was interested if this was a draw or if it would put people off.

 

McGregors was chosen as it has all the attributes of a good public gaming location. It is clean, and bright; there are plenty of large normal-height tables. It serves beer, wine, and bar friendly snack foods. Having plenty of parking is a big plus.

As it was a public event I am expecting, and hoping, that some of the bars patrons would join in with the games. In reality, we had a few interested patrons looking at the games, and asking a few questions.

 

As an introductory game we played several rounds of Concept, both as a warm up game, and as a closer to wind down. I even got in a game of Battlestar Galactica.

concept pic1907628
Image from BGG

We will have plenty of games at hand as we were not sure what types of gamers we would have attending. It is always best to be prepared with a mixture of games, both in game length, and in complexity. With 8 people gathered around a big table we broke out Ca$h n Guns as a ice breaker. Soon people settled into a mixture of longer, and more involved games.

In total we had 17 people actually play the games, two were newcomers to the group. The event was a success, and everyone had good things to say about the location. I had expected more newcomers, but I am happy with the way the event went overall.

I was introduced to a young lad called Calvin, from the nearby Game Development Meetup group. They hold monthly events to create, collaborate and develop games.

Let me know if you have an ideas, or suggestions, for the next McGregors event. I am thinking it could be a monthly event. Is Sunday the best day for such an event ?

30th June 2017

Links:

Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers event page on Meetup.

Event page on Facebook.

McGregors website and Facebook page.

144 Los Angeles Ave, Moorpark, CA 93021

Tel 805-553-9818

Board Games And Beer – 25th June 2017

This Sunday, the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers are holding an event at McGregors Craft Beer & Wine, in Moorpark, CA from 2pm-8pm.

Although this is not the first time we have held an event at a commercial location. This is the first time we had held an event at an establishment that primarily serves alcohol. Therefore there is a minimum age of 21.

McGregors was chosen as it has all the attributes of a good public gaming location. It is clean, and bright, has lots of free parking, there are plenty of large tables, and it serves beer, and beer friendly snack food. And wine too.

As this is a public event I am expecting, and hoping, that some of the bars patrons will join in. We will have plenty of games that are suitable for non-gamers to play. Games that are quicker, and lighter, to get them hooked. Mwhhahhaa.

Tim
20th June 2017

Links:

Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers event page on Meetup.

Event page on Facebook.

McGregors website and Facebook page.
144 Los Angeles Ave, Moorpark, CA 93021
Tel 805-553-9818

Mid-March Update

As part of an ongoing process I have started to collate my list of useful game links.

While looking for some other photos, I found a bunch from the special one-day events that I help to organize back in 2012. A a tease here is a montage for our first FATDOG event. The full article can be found here.

FATDOG 2012
FATDOG 2012 Montage

As part of my ongoing goal of increasing the number of gamers, and game groups, who log their game plays. I had added a thread to BGG with a few polls.  From that feedback it looks like lots of people are logging their games played. There are many detractors, yet so far I have only convinced 1 (one) gamer to start logging. Success!

Tim – 14th March 2017