Reflecting on Board Games in 2017

As we close out tabletop week, our staff spent time reflecting on all the great games and content released in 2017. No brainer, right?

Well, we do more than just play and review games. We get together with friends to talk and laugh. We wonder about the future of the hobby as it grows and modern games start showing up in popular films and TV series. We also wonder how to glorify God by using our hobby to further the kingdom and the gospel in the lives of the people who we game with, and the people who read our content. 

Here are some of our musings on 2017.

Chris Hecox

2017 was a great year for games, but it was also the year I sold off and gave away a ton of games from my collection. These games weren’t just review copies I didn’t care for, but a lot of them were games I’d bought over the last four years I’ve been serious into the hobby. I used to aim for a game on my shelf for every type of individual. I wanted to have something everyone could enjoy, but as time has passed, I’m realizing it’s all just stuff. I really want to keep games that bring fond memories and lots of fun. Some of these games I keep around for my family. I may hate the game, but I know they love it, so it stays on my shelf. 

My encouragement to people who are collecting and love having stuff (which, let’s be honest, is still a struggle for me in other ways) is to learn to be okay with giving up possessions. Sure, I might have banked in-store credit at my local game store, or maybe I gave away games I didn’t care for, but all of this caused me to dwell on what physical things I value. It’s setting a definite trajectory for how I buy things in the future. I’m always questioning if I’m really going to use whatever it is I’m considering or if it’s just going to collect dust. This stuff is so temporary, but it can be used to bring joy to others, or bring the reality to you that it doesn’t matter.

Derek Thompson

For me, this was the year where I truly realized the importance of simplicity. At the beginning of the year, I played the monstrous 4-hour Star Wars Rebellion six times while my family was away, and I haven’t touched it since. In the meantime, I’ve found that games that are accessible but still strategic and fun get played time and time again, both with friends and with my college students. My top picks arose from this principle: Bärenpark is extremely intuitive in every aspect; Century: Spice Road has a single sheet of rules. As my responsibilities grow both as a parent and as a professor, gaming time becomes that much more precious, so I’m looking for games like these that maximize fun with minimal investment. 

I’ve also done a fair amount of cleaning house like Chris has, but the next step is avoiding chasing the “next big thing”. I wrote a Christian Living article about this and Stephen wrote something similar. The point is, hobbies should be fun above all else: they shouldn’t be arduous work, and they shouldn’t lead to sins like envy or greed. When they do, it’s time to take a step back. And for me, time spent finding every detail on every possible upcoming game release is time I should be spending playing with my children. Soon enough, we’ll be playing board games together at the table, but until then, I have to prioritize. 

Stephen Hall

Looking back at the last year, I have so much to be thankful for. 2017 was a year of transition, a year with lots of major changes.

With a great deal of soul-searching, I grew personally and spiritually. I dove into some creative endeavors, designing a card game and beginning to write for Geeks Under Grace. I became a deacon at my church, a role that has deeply impacted my walk with God. Toward the end of the year, I even embarked on a crazy new mission to learn computer coding. I clocked countless hours around the game table with friends, old and new. There were moments of stress, anxiety, and loneliness, but God provided for me at every turn. I know His rich blessings will continue into and beyond 2018.

Colby Bryant

In the year of 2017, I have to admit that tabletop really grew exponentially in my personal life. An avid board-gamer as a child, I still have many of the copies I played often as a kid, but from my teen years forward, video games came to the forefront. However, in my small town last August, a tabletop shop opened called Griffon Gaming. On opening day, I walked in excitedly as the very first customer, but I must admit I didn’t know how the store would be received or function in the long-term. In a small town of less than 6,000 people and a county with not many more than that, it’s been kind of an anomaly, but the beautiful thing is that it looks like it is working as a business and as a great place of entertainment.

Over the past several months, I’ve witnessed the true birth of a localized gaming community; of course, Magic: The Gathering is a primary focus, as it is with most shops, but Tutorial Tuesdays have opened up players to games they’ve never played, such as Android Netrunner, Sentinels of the Multiverse, BANG! Dice Game, and many, many more. Over that period of time, I’ve began filling a closet at home with new titles and deck boxes, and the time spent with friends, new and old, has been a treasure to me personally. The social advantages of tabletop have been proven resoundingly to me last year, and it’s brought me into 2018 with a renewed passion for an old, beloved hobby. I can’t wait to see what new titles I discover, and hopefully, I can help lead a renewed interest in Redemption on a local level, as it is something the store owner and I hope to achieve.

Thanks for joining us for Tabletop Week 2018! Let us know if you’ve had any thoughts about the hobby in the comments section below!

Chris Hecox

Chris enjoys the simple things in life, like teaching his wife the newest review game, looking up Ketogenic recipes, and playing 10 hour long indie games on Steam. If he's not thinking about the oil drum components from Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, playing Player Unknown: Battlegrounds with his college buddies, or dwelling on the release of Daredevil Season Three, he's probably shooting or editing video, because that's what he does for a living.

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