By some divine chance, my friend Tom scores himself some geek points for buying a German board game, and the very next day, I find an article (liked to by The Morning News) about how to start your own board gaming group. As the latter article states,
Here we find the dirty little secret of the board game hobby. Unlike going to the movies, watching TV or stopping at the pub for a drink or three, you have to encourage â€” and sometimes train â€” others to participate. Some adults haven’t played board games in years, and may dismiss them as “kid’s stuff;” others balk at the prospect of having to learn rules; yet other might equate game playing with overly competitive and interminable sessions of Monopoly, unaware that modern board games fall in an entirely different phylum.
And yet, if you can convince people to join you, they invariably thank you for it afterwards. Playing board games is like exercise: some people are reluctant to do it, but everyone is happy to have done it.
The article offers some practical tips, and also concludes with a warning against trying to “convert” those who just aren’t interested. (People who give advice to geeks often feel compelled to give general tips on avoiding painfully awkward social interaction.) If you have a game group of your own, please feel free to email or comment with your own thoughts on how to make those work. For what it’s worth, the secret trick of my former housemates’ gaming group was to have plenty of cheese, crackers, and root beer for ourselves and guests. It’s important to ply people with delicious foods when you are asking them to do things they might otherwise be hesitant to do, as those who organize events for grad students will surely agree.