Every Tuesday night, All About Games opens its doors to anyone who wants to try out a new game without forking over a ton of money first. And they carry the most popular options out there--and there are many--in light of what appears to be a renaissance for board games.
"I love social interaction and community building," says co-owner Bruce DeLaney. "This place is like Cheers."
On a recent Tuesday night, five strangers broke out Hotel Samoa, a new German import. None of us had played the game before, but together we learned the rules and about each other as we fumbled through it. We figured out strategies and just who employed them best while we critiqued the game.
"That's the big difference between playing a game on a computer," DeLaney says. "It's sitting down and playing a game together. Making jokes, getting to know one another on a personal level."
The board-game market seems to be hitting a new stride. Whether it's the cost associated with video gaming or a desire to get back to basics, the resurgence of board games is gaining speed. And with the help of places like AAG, boards games are reaching a broader demographic. The appeal of board gaming in real life is the interaction with other people. It's not the 2 a.m. World of Warcraft binge, with a side of Coke and Cheetos. Rather, it's team building and strategy gaming, the side effects of which are strong bonds with actual human beings.
On Tuesday nights, AAG also hosts large-scale Magic: The Gathering game nights. Fans also spend time together working on intricate scale-models of fantasy kingdoms or tricking out hotels in order to net tourist dollars.
[Playing board games] teaches you how to think," says DeLaney. "And helps you see weaknesses in your own thinking."