There are three kinds of post-college Christian dudes: photographers, beer-brewers and board gamers. I belong to the latter category (though I do like instagram and drinking other people’s beer). The recent designer board game craze has produced a brand new kind of hobby over the last ten years. These games aren’t your standard Monopoly or even Risk. They’re more like competitive logic puzzles, pushing your brain to think differently, manage resources cleverly and block your opponents from getting ahead. Often I find myself thinking several turns in advance to try and work out what to do in the present. It’s mental exercise in a social setting.
Tom Vasel, a charismatic guy in Florida, runs the most watched Board Game reviewing series on the web. He was also a missionary in Korea for a time and a committed Christian. He even started a podcast for Christian gamers. On the show many Christian board game enthusiasts call in and a few designers even join the conversation. Christians are well represented in the board gaming community, and extremely likely to catch onto this niche industry. This could reveal a link I’ve often pondered between Christian youth and geek culture, but I think it says more about twenty somethings’ limited options for socializing beyond heading to downtown clubs and drinking a lot. Concerts are expensive. Movies happen infrequently. But Christians are used to associating regularly. It’s one of the side-effects of church. But there’s not much out there to gather for beyond things that are generally prohibited by biblical ethics. Modern board games are filling a social gap and it looks like they’ve found a target market.
If I was Rio Grande Games, I’d be planning “Two By Two: the Noah’s Ark strategy game”.