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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Friday, November 11, 2005

Evangelism for a hobby

National Games Week Logo

First, I want to provide some clarification on National Games Week.  It is not a product of Hasbro or any other game publisher – it is a marketing effort led by Matthews Simmons Marketing, which publishes Games Quarterly magazine.  Mark Simmons is the engine behind this effort – he used to run GAMA but is now in the process of launching his own games trade fair (Games Expo) that will go head-to-head with the GAMA Trade Show.  I think Mark has great intentions with National Games Week.  Listen to this podcast on Pulp Gamer for more information.

As a reminder, the question of the week is “What have you done to help grow the hobby? Will you be doing anything to promote National Games Week?”

I’m not an overt evangelist for hobby gaming, but I am a strong believer in playing games as a family and I take every opportunity I can to introduce people to games beyond what they see in mass retail.  Not that I’m opposed to mass retail games – there are some great ones out there!  Liar’s Dice, Catch Phrase, and HeroScape are great examples of mass produced games that are fun and interesting and can be found on the shelves at Target and ToysRUs.

In the past three years, I have probably introduced 5–10 different families to family strategy games.  Most of these introductions are casual, such as when we have family friends over for dinner and are looking for something social to do together.  A recent case of very explicit evangelism was a SimplyFun event I ran several weeks ago.  One family in particular was so enamored of the event that they are putting on their own party as a pre-school fundraiser, introducing their games to 4–6 other families in the Sherwood area.

Julie and I just read Marcia Baldanza’s article in a 2002 edition of Counter about her games night at the elementary school where she was principal (Funagain article here).  We want to do this at Archer Glen Elementary, but we are both too busy right now to undertake yet another activity.  We are thinking maybe we’ll give it a try for late fall of 2006.  In the meanwhile, I plan to provide a single-page flyer at the school showing example games appropriate for elementary-age children – something like this flyer that Ben Baldanza put together a while back.  There has been a decent amount of local press on Havoc that people are coming to me asking where they can buy similar games, so the timing is perfect.

As Eric already mentioned, we have a successful lunchtime gaming group at work that is bringing some new people into the hobby.  I don’t make it nearly as often as I would like to due to extensive travel, but Eric does a great job keeping it going and the group continues to grow.  We are even planning a Corillian game night in the near future.

Finally, I’m happy to say that I will be doing something to promote National Games Week.  Sunriver Games will be hosting a Havoc launch party at Rainy Day Games on Sunday, November 20, from 3–5pm.  We’ll offer demos and some giveaways and will use the event as a kickoff for National Games Week.  And of course I plan to get in a lot of gaming over the holiday weekend out on the coast.

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