Our very own Geek Retreat leader, Steven, appeared on BBC Newcastle today!
The show, hosted by Anna Foster, was a response to a recent article that appeared in the Telegraph called “Card games and board games are dying out, and it’s no great loss” (hmmm, I think the folks at GR every day would beg to differ.)
The article’s writer, Harry Wallop, gave his take on the world of board and card games, stating that they’re on the decline; they are, as the title says “dying out”. Referencing a recent survey he explained:
“73 per cent of parents remembered regularly playing board games as children, only 44 per cent of the children polled said they do so now.”
What the article fails to account for is the massive subculture surrounding card and board games or, as they’re more commonly known to us geeks, table-top games.
It’s a community which is, perhaps, invisible to the casual observer, but dig a little deeper and you can find it with ease. Somewhere like Geek Retreat for example (shameless plug.) If you stop by any day of the week you’re guaranteed to find tables of people, of all ages, playing a multitude of games, card and board games.
The man behind Geek Retreat was invited to chat on BBC Newcastle today about the article, refuting the idea that board games are dying out. You can hear his contribution here. (Skip to 01.21.36 for his part)
Before Stephen came on the show most of the conversation was about games like Monopoly, Guess Who or Scrabble. These are, of course, very recognisable games but they’re a tiny slice of reality, a narrow peek into a much wider landscape.
It’s very clear that card and table-top games, as well as the community that surrounds them, are an alien concept to a lot of people. Especially Mr Wallop over at the Telegraph, as evidenced by his take on the games themselves.
“Board games are an exercise in killing time — which, I suppose, is what parenting is for long stretches. But I’d prefer to kill that time doing something more educational, more interesting and more fun.”
Is it educational and fun you’re after? Well table-top games are definitely what you’re looking for then. Games like King of Tokyo, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Last Night on Earth, etc. are games that are more than just a whole lot of fun; they teach problem solving techniques and strategic thinking.
During his interview Stephen brought up Magic: The Gathering, which we here at GR are more than familiar with. Each store dedicates two days a week to this game and our Magic events are always popular. The same popularity can be boasted when it comes to Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon and Weiss Schwarz, all of which have a huge following both online and in real life.
Now it’s true that what goes on in Geek Retreat is anecdotal evidence, but it points to a larger world of table-top gaming, a world that the folks over at the Telegraph are clearly not familiar with.
Mainstream consumption is not the be all and end all of what is popular or what thrives as a hobby. A loyal, passionate fan base is all that’s really required to keep something alive, and with geeks, loyal and passionate are the watchwords.