You may have noticed that board games are having a big resurgence. The evidence of this is everywhere. Just walk through the toy section of Target or visit your nearest Barnes & Noble and you will see dozens of new game titles filling up shelf space that was previously reserved for other goods. Why is this happening?

We live in an age where movies can be viewed in 3D, cars can drive themselves, and all human knowledge can be beamed into your smartphone in the blink of an eye.

And yet… grown men and women are spending their time pushing bits of wood across cardboard surfaces. No one could have predicted it.

However, to anyone who is a fan of the board game hobby the answer is obvious: It’s all about the social connection. Technology has overwhelmed our modern lives. It turns out that staring into glowing rectangular screens for hours isn’t the healthiest activity for humans. People are looking for new ways to connect in the real world and many have found board games a great outlet for this. Most games begin by commanding the group’s attention away from outside distractions, and then over the course of play, stimulate conversation between players in a beautifully sneaky way that can ease social anxieties.

There is another reason why I feel games have become so popular, and it’s not about playing – it’s about teaching. Discovering something new and fun is a wonderful feeling. A good game gives this gift to someone many times over: from first seeing the box, to learning the unique new rules, to discovering the strategies hidden in each new play. But the final gift a game gives can be the sweetest, and that is the joy of teaching the game to a new player. A special rush can be felt in this moment. Do it right, and you can change a person’s life for the better. The new player will fall in love the same way you did, and the cycle will repeat.

The goal of this blog is not simply to talk about which games are worth playing. It‘s about encouraging others to share their knowledge and passion for gaming too, because I have seen and felt the benefits playing games can bring into one’s own life and community.

Games have been the bridge that connected me to new people, ultimately leading to lifelong friendships that have shaped who I am today. They have sparked my curiosity and challenged me to create new experiences for others to interact with and enjoy. Games have fueled my creativity and presented a new canvas for me to create art on: a unique crossroad where traditional illustration meets graphic design and product design.

I’ve decided to call this blog The Quest for the Perfect Gateway Game. I admit, it’s a bit dramatic, and I know realistically there is no ‘perfect’ gateway game. My main focus will be to give readers some helpful tools and tips to aid in teaching games to others. So I invite you to join me each week as I explore various gateway games that are best suited to capture the imaginations of new players and welcome them into our wonderful hobby.

Cheers,

Charlie Bink