Not Just Something to Chew On
I’ve always been told that gaming is a niche – and a slim one at that, a small narrow “slice of life” that will never become “mainstream”. While I can see why people think that, I have seen signs throughout the years that make me think differently.
We’ve seen boardgames situated in the background of TV shows and, more recently, played. Ticket to Ride, The Settlers of Catan and other games have made semi-cameo appearances, surely a sign that non-electronic gaming is, if not common, certainly not too far from the mainstream. But when people, literally, put their money where their mouths are, then maybe we’re on to something.
Not too long ago, Newsday, our local Long Island New York newspaper, did an article on something they evidently felt was newsworthy: games and eating! In the article, Newsday uncovered no less than FOUR places that offered a combination of food and games! More to the point, they also discovered that customers liked the combination! As reported:
“Games rule at Game Master Grill, a new Mineola, Long Island restaurant where diners can plan a chess move or roll the dice between forkfuls of pasta.” In the article, several customers were interviewed. “Michael Tesmacher, 54, of Central Islip, is a returning customer who likes the atmosphere and food… He was playing Quarto, a strategic board game with his friend Eric Leder, 33, of Farmingville. ‘I have to bring a bunch of friends back to play Apples to Apples’ said Leder.” The article also printed positive comments from patrons as young as 10!
Now for gamers like us, Quarto (featured in the Summer 1993 GA Report) and Apples to Apples (Spring 1999 GA Report) are nothing new but getting others to discover them in such a serendipitous way is.
Newsday went on to report that “the Game Master Grill is the idea of brothers, Duane and David VanderWerf, who own Game Master Games, a retail board game store on South Broadway in Hicksville. Their goal was to create a place where families and friends could connect over food and games – both traditional and new – and kids would have something to play with other than their food.” There is no charge for playing games and there are no computer games. Board games play a role in their grill’s decor too as board games line the walls and the table cloths are made of rubber play mats from games.
The restaurant has all sorts of games (Candyland and Chess, for example) but the emphasis is on strategy games such as Quarto. You can also play Zombie Dice (where the goal is to collect brains) and there are educational memory games for younger and adult gamers. Don’t know how to play? The staff will gladly teach you. Like a particular game? Games are also on sale there.
But this is not the only place combining food and games. Other recently opened venues include the Black Sheep Ale House offering drink and games such as Life, Scrabble, Chess, Checkers, Pictionary and Jenga – and free hot dogs if you’re hungry, Old Fields Restaurant in Greenlawn, a family-friendly fireside bar and restaurant offering classic games such as Yahtzee, Chess, Checkers and Backgammon, and Crazy Beans in Miller Place where games including Chess and Catch Phrase are available.
The reasons we play and enjoy the games we play are many but among them are the person to person interaction and the pleasure of thinking and planning. That these pleasures also appeal across generations is a wonderful bonus. The appearance of these gaming destinations is a promising trend and hopefully, one that will continue. All of this discovery of games in a new setting is, literally, not just something to chew on; it actually is “food for thought”.
In this issue of GA REPORT, we build a walled city, rub shoulders with noblemen, go on legendary adventures and show everyone who’s the boss as we “flashback” twice! Greg Schloesser builds from the ground up, Pevans goes rolling down the river, Chris Kovac spends what could be his last night while Andrea “Liga” Ligabue dabbles in Arabian nights. And, of course, much more!
Until next time, Good Gaming!
Herb Levy, President
Spring 2013 GA Report Articles
Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Yemaia, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, about 100 minutes; 65€)
Sometimes it looks like we have reached the limit of new companies/designers and it is always great to see someone still interested in trying to make a mark in the boardgames market. Yemaia's target is clear from their web site - “We decided to produce the games ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (AEG, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $34.99)
The City-State of Tempest is the place for adventure in a roleplaying world created by the folks at Alderac Entertainment Group. And it is Tempest that will serve as the setting for a whole series of boardgames from AEG. With Courtier from designer Phillip duBarry, the first entry in ...Read More
(In this issue, we review I'm the Boss!: The Card Game, a card game based on the Sid Sackson boardgame with the title Kohle, Kie$ & Knete that later appeared, in an English language edition, as I'm the Boss!. So, we thought it might be interesting to "FLASHBACK" to the feature treatment Steve Kurzban gave to the English language edition when it first appeared, back ...
(In this issue, we review I'm the Boss!: The Card Game, a card game linked to the Sid Sackson design that first appeared in the marketplace as a boardgame with the title Kohle, Kie$ & Knete. So, we thought it might be interesting to "FLASHBACK" to the feature treatment Steve Kurzban gave to the original game way back when in the Summer 1997 issue of ...
Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Tasty Minstrel Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 2-3 hours; $59.95)
Some subjects are just too boring for board games. While there might be lots of intricacies and fascinating options in real life, the subject matter just seems bland or boring. For me, business is one such topic. I have been a businessman for nearly twenty-nine years, ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (AEG, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $29.95)
During the so-called Dark Ages, unless of noble birth or mired in serfdom, much of the population worked in groups known as guilds. In the game created by designer Hope S. Hwang, the society of this time is shaped by six professions. Using the members of these professions to ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy I'M THE BOSS!: THE CARD GAME
(Gryphon Games, 3 to 6 players, ages 9 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25.99) & PIECE OF THE ACTION
(Expansion Set, Gryphon Games) Once upon a time, Sid Sackson created a game that went on to be published in Germany as Kohle, Kne$, Knete (reviewed in the Summer 1997 GA REPORT) and later, in English, as ...Read More
Reviewed by: Pevans (Mind the Move, 1 to 4 players, age 10 and up, about 90 minutes; $69.99)
A new game from Emanuele Ornella and Mind the Move is something of an event. I still have fond memories of discovering Oltre Mare (Winter 2005 GA Report) over pizza in central Essen a few Octobers ago. I was thus pleased to find Mind the Move back ...Read More
Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Flying Frog Productions, 2 to 6 players, age 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99)
If you like to watch The Walking Dead or like zombie horror as a whole, this zombie themed cooperative game for up to six people is for you. This game is by Jason C. Hill and produced by the quirky game company Flying Frog Productions. This game ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Upper Deck Entertainment, 1 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 30-60 minutes; $59.99)
Like many great games, Dominion (featured in the Winter 2009 Gamers Alliance Report) has sparked a slew of successors using its core mechanism: deck building. While Dominion had only the slightest hint of theme, many games that followed added real flavor to the game mechanic. Think of ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R&R Games/Eggertspiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 20-30 minutes; $39.95)
In QIN, a new Reiner Knizia design, players colonize the outreaches of China, founding provinces and absorbing remote villages into their growing empires, building pagodas to mark their claims. But not everything is as peaceful as this sounds because other players can conquer your provinces and villages, replacing ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ravensburger, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 30-75 minutes; $34.99)
Inka and Marcus Brand have carved out an enviable reputation as game designers, most recently capturing the Spiel des Jahres - Kennerspiel award with their game, Village (featured in the Summer 2012 GA Report). Village was a rather involved representation of life in a small medieval village; in Saint ...Read More
Not Just Something to Chew On I've always been told that gaming is a niche - and a slim one at that, a small narrow "slice of life" that will never become "mainstream". While I can see why people think that, I have seen signs throughout the years that make me think differently. We've seen boardgames situated in the background of TV shows and, more ...Read More