The Growing Trend of the Gaming Table

ICCMeu gameWe just finished ICCM-Eu 2016, an annual gathering of tech-professionals that are using their skills, training, passions, and experiences to further the cause of Christ in Europe. So what do such people do for fun? You might imagine that we have cables running in every direction for some massive LAN party (extra points to you for knowing about LAN parties).

However, the pendulum has swung far from those days. Instead, when geeks gather today, it’s around a table top board game. This is a growing hobby that goes by many names: Euro-games (because most come from Germany or other places in Europe), designer games (because most are created by game designers in the same way books have authors), or hobby games (because many are created in limited print runs for small fan bases).

At ICCM-Eu this year, every night there were groups gathered around tables playing games. I’m tempted to run down a list of the games we played and tell you my favorites, but I’ll resist that temptation because there’s a bigger question here.

Why board games?

Part of the reason for board games lies in the nature of the games themselves. These games invite techies to put their skills to the test. All day we practice strategy, efficiency, and problem solving; these games let us flex our intellectual muscles.

But there’s more to it than that. We know that the digital world is lonely. We tend to be introverts and the realm of ones and zeros isn’t the best place to connect socially. Board games help us put the digital away. They give us a chance to sit across a table with one or more other human beings and practice the ancient lost art of conversation and human interaction. Over the gaming table, long-lasting friendships are formed or deepened. You learn a lot about a person by seeing how they win or lose and there’s a lot to be said for the bond formed through shared experiences.

Playing board games with people of similar mind and heart is deeply satisfying and refreshing. I’ll be honest and say that this is the most enjoyable part of ICCM-Eu – even though I lost miserably at Carcassonne because I didn’t wisely invest in fields.