Quarterly Newsletter – Spring 2015

Hello Boardgamers !

It’s time for our quarterly newsletter. We’re well into the Spring and that means some news and changes for our Meetup group ! Grab your tea or coffee and read on …

Alright, let’s start with the (now usual) update around the life in our group. To start with, some of you heard that soon there will be an additional very special boardgamer in our group; Ozana & myself will be first-time parents early August 2015 and it’s a little baby girl that has her room already decorated with Winnie The Pooh and a few meeples here and there ! We’re expanding the family and therefore I’m now expanding my gaming library with kids boardgames for age 0-3. Who would have thought so !

For some, what started as a simple “let’s fill my Thursday night empty agenda spot” ended up in a much more than that. We have a growing friendly relationship between the BGM event organizers of the Meetup. Boardgame Monkeys was born on 1st June 2013 with boardgames and some of you are there since the very beginning ! With the passion & energy of the organizers we are keeping this group alive & kicking. I believe that I do thank the organizers in every newsletter, but it just shows how grateful and how important that role is.

We currently have 13 Event Organizers (me included) on our Meetup, with a few new people promoted in the last 3 months: Hugo, SvenT, Kenny, Bart G . You should look out for their sessions and make sure to attend.

Almost two years huh ? Since the very beginning there are 4 key people sharing the experience with me:

•    Cindy (Joined June 21, 2013): Play with her and you’ll discover her ever changing manicure week over week ! From computer chips (those were impressive!) to little butterflies, when Cindy is not having her nails done, she’s also running around cities (and I mean literally !) since she recently acquired some supersonic athletic sport shoes ! Her enthusiasm to try out all types of games, her help at the table going through the rules  and her focus on making the best moves make it’s  a great boardgames player at the table.

•    Filip (Joined June 21, 2013): Coincidently joined the same day as Cindy but has a very different profile than her. Filip is probably less outspoken than a few others, but get to know him and you’ll realize he’s not only a very smart player but also a dangerous character to play against. Under the “I’ll do you no harm don’t worry” attitude, he can built up an entire strategy that will be your downfall. He’s painting miniatures (like a few others in the group) and you can always ask him about his outstanding Reaper Mini collection that’s still pending a paint job. Did you know that Filip used to run Pathfinder Society sessions. He must have all the available books from Paizo in his library !

•    David (Joined June 27, 2013):  Don’t bother looking for the best place to have a beer in Brussels, just ask him ! He knows more about beers and cafés than most of us for a simple reason; he’s also co-organizer of the Brussels Bar Trek Meetup group. Who said you cannot combine a good beer with boardgames ? From strategic workers placement games to an almighty dungeon crawler Overlord, David is a fiercy opponent for which you should not get fouled.

•    Wouter (Joined July 15, 2013): Just look out for him on the top of a mountain somewhere in France or Spain; he’s an avid climber who’s also a partner in crime for the Brussels Games Festival (putting his programming talent into the (new upcoming) website of the festival). When he’s not on a mountain, you’ll find him living actually in front of my house, no kidding ! That said, having a busy agenda, I believe we mostly at some gaming events. You never know what’s the next move he’s preparing behind his beard !

I will not cover every organizer in this newsletter – let’s keep some for the next one – but oh boy … I don’t even know where to start with Oliver (Joined October 18, 2013 ) who’s the record breaking event organizers of us all. I actually think he must be just having a room somewhere in the basement of La Table Food & Games to learn week after week all the rules of new games. We also have Marina and Mathijs to talk about … More next time .. I promise.

We had 160 events in the last 2 years with the leadership team counting 13 organizers.  We have banned 4 people and I have removed 22 people last quarter due to inactivity and (3 or more) no-shows. We have 459 members (as we speak). With a clear increase in the last 3 months.

Out of this total, we have about 15 % who’s counted as active members. This actually means that we have more and more people not only joining the Meetup but also attending events (we raised from 10 % -> 15% active members in the last 3 months).

Did you know that you can see all the past newsletters on our Meetup forum (yes we do have a forum on the Meetup group) ? For those of you who are new but interested in the life of our group, you can always have a reading over here­. In the last newsletter, I promised to organize a few activities – so it’s my duty to report on the status:

Additional locations to play games: DELIVERED
I got the request from many of you to find additional days & locations to play boardgames. I managed to enlarge our possibilities joining the association Let’s Play Together who’s hosting various (party games) events in a few bars of the capital. This is how we went to the flamingo for a few Tuesday sessions in the last months.

Unfortunately, the Flamingo decided to stop hosting those Tuesday sessions (reason why you did not see an invite in April). Good news is that we can migrate over to another nice place called the Potemkine Bar in Saint Gilles (right in front of the Porte de Hal metro station). They have 3 different rooms over there and can adapt the level of music independently in each room. You’ll find some people playing also “heavier” boardgames and not only party games. Going forward, I have a conflicting agenda on Tuesdays and won’t be able to attend myself, but Let’s Play Together has also an English speaking organizer in the Potemkine, so I will schedule nonetheless the sessions. Let’s start with a Monthly event and take it from there.

We will also start a monthly event on Sundays at the Green Bar which is specialized in Absinth and Gin ! From 5PM – 9PM you’ll be able to drink & play in this nice bar located at the end of the Avenue Louise (near the Bois De La Cambre). Easy access by tram from the Louise metro station. I’m looking forward to discover this place with you. The next event is already scheduled on 31th May.

• Pathfinder ACG Adventure: DELIVERED
This one does happen as we speak, we started in January and are currently at the campaign 3 (in total there are 6 campaigns). I’ve been playing this one first with the BGM co-organizers to see if a long-run campaign can work out via Meetup.

We slowed down the number of sessions to 1x/month at the moment, but still plan to finish it this year. You haven’t see much of this going on, because I cannot run a 2nd group in parallel (like I initially wanted to) because it’s too complex to separate the card decks. Concretely, this means I will first finish off this group 1 campaign before I can launch a group 2. If you’re interested in joining this group, send me a private message via Meetup ! I will organize a dry-run session for potential candidates for a new campaign.

• The “New to Boardgames” – Session: RE-SCHEDULED
This was supposed to be scheduled in January, but when I saw a lot of new people joining – I decided it’s better to post-pone this session for a later date for the benefit of all. I will host a session on 11th June at La Table Food & Games.

This educative session will be about the types of games out there, how to pick one for your audience, how to read rules and teach them when you host a gaming table. With some practical exercises. Mark the date if you’re new in the group and/or if you want to be successful at explaining games to family & friends.

• Time Masters Tournament: RE-SCHEDULED
This one is still in our boxes – I have now recuperated all the English versions of the games to be able to run a special night with 10 tables (so up to 40 players). I’m currently discussing with Let’s Play Together to organize this one at the Potemkine Bar – Tentative date is 23th June still to be confirmed.

• 2 Players Gaming Session: POSTPONED
Truth is that between the moment I had this idea and the implementation of it into an event, I’ve sold many of my 2 players games. This means I cannot bring along a lot of games, but I can setup an event where people bring their game along. Maybe you guys have also some LCG games you wish to put on the table ? This one will be post-poned to the month of July.

• Pandemic Survival Campaign: CANCELLED
Was scheduled for March but felt through the cracks … for a simple reason: doing a survival campaign is much more complex than expected (I talked with Filosofia – French Editor of the game – about how to do this but we didn’t agree on the terms).

We have a few boxes of the game but it’s not enough to setup a solid campaign. I will have to push this one out till the Brussels Games Festival that will host a real Pandemic Survival event organized by Filosofia themselves.

As you can see, some stuff was delivered, other stuff rescheduled and some postponed or cancelled; all-in-all we actually had quite a few sessions in the last months. True, not all what I mentioned in the previous newsletter, but I’ve put on the table more than 8 new games in events of the past 3 months. For me the overall balance remains on the positive side.

In the coming months you’ll have a few festivals coming up. Boardgames festivals are always fun to attend because you meet people and make new friends, discover and play games and can also buy some new or second hand games for a good price to complete your collection. Here are 3 important dates coming up :

13-14 June: Paris est Ludique (Link­). This happens « outdoor » and you have all the publishers from France that will be present. It’s worth going if you can find somebody for car-pooling. I will drive down to Paris on Saturday 12th June and should have a few spots in my car.

20-21 June: Zomerspel 2015 (Link­). Gent is for a weekend the big playground for games & fun with both indoor and outdoor activities. Wouter and myself will go by car, book your spot if you want to ride along with us.

15-16 August: Brussels Games Festival 2015 (Link­) . This THE event to mark down in your agenda. Not only because Boardgame Monkeys is officially supporting the festival (through Cindy, David, Filip, PG, Wouter being part of the BGF staff) but simply because it’s in the heart of Brussels – with the Outpost & La Table Food & Games as central location of the event. We expect you to join us for a 32-hours non-stop gaming experience ! (ok, you are allowed to go home and sleep if it’s reeeaally needed ). Hé! no driving there – it’s at your doorsteps ! So join us – we’ll definitively have some gaming tables going on.

Other activities will take place in the coming weeks of May, you can almost play every week – hereby an overview:

6th May: Filigranes Gaming Night. Starting in May, the Filigranes bookshop will host a monthly session (on Wednesdays) at La Table Food & Games. We are more than welcome to join this free event although the organizers are French speaking, we will manage with some English tables.

24th May: Monopoly Regional  Championship. Admittedly, monopoly is a bit “old school”, it’s still the game that is the most sold in the world ! There are nice prizes for the winners of this free tournament that will take place at the Outpost Gamecenter in Brussels. Pre-registration needed by email: opb@outpost.be .

The Thursday “afterwork sessions” are continuing with Oliver hosting a table of Seasons (7th May), Emily hosting a 7 Wonders table (15th May – to be confirmed) and PG hosting a table of Wiraqocha (21th May). The first Green Lab session as mentioned above will take place on 31th May.

I’ve got some requests in the past months asking me for advice on which games to choose from when you’re a beginner. Likewise, some people asked me also how I stay up to date on what’s out there to be released soon.

I’ll put you below a few links of English websites I regularly visit to get some updates. It’s certainly not the entire collection of places I get news from, but should help you kick off your info gathering.

•    https://boardgamegeek.com/­
•    http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/­
•    http://www.boardgamequest.com/­
•    http://www.dicetower.com/­
•    http://eludique.com/­ (for all French news)

A few reviewers & blogs I follow:
•    http://www.boardgamereviewsbyjosh.com/­
•    http://www.deathofmonopoly.com/­
•    http://trollitc.com/­

•    http://www.play-board-games.com/­
•    http://opinionatedgamers.com/­
•    http://www.purplepawn.com/­
•    http://gamerchris.com/­

This a wrap for this quarter, happy gaming & see you soon at the table !

Pierre-Gilles (PG)