This past Saturday, 25 people gathered at my home in St. Paul for Metro Game Day II, a quarterly event that we host at various places around the Twin Cities. Russ already mentioned the sweet achievement system that he put in place, which was a huge hit. He ran the tally off of a LCD monitor on the mantle top so people could easily check it out throughout the day.
The event started at 10 AM. As people arrived throughout the day, they were greeted by the sight of a huge stack of games on the front porch. There was a two-player game going on in the living room, multiplayer games in the dining room, two multiplayer games upstairs, and a two-player game in the basement. The event went for ten hours straight, with things wrapping up around 8:30 PM.
The most fun thing about hosting Metro Game Day is watching people you care about discover a new game that they like–the quick grasp of rules and strategy, followed by the smiles, jokes, and cries of victory and defeat. We were fortunate to have several people stop by who are complete strangers to board games outside of those found at Walmart, and a common question I heard was “Where can I get this game?” Those of us who are well-versed in various games and have experience at teaching them became little focal points for strangers to meet and enjoy each other’s company.
The other cool thing about Metro Game Day is the way it has become a true community event. People are encouraged to contribute to dinner by bringing a side dish, and they were very generous! My wife cooked Sloppy Joes (or “barbecues” in her parlance) and others brought fruit, chips, salads, pies, cakes, and cookies. It was also an excuse to celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick, and green was in abundance. (Around 8 PM, we seamlessly transitioned into a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.) Here’s a short list of my personal highlights from the day:
- Five of us sitting down at 10:10 AM to play Carcassonne just so Russ couldn’t get the “And So It Begins” achievement by playing the first game.
- Beating a table of three women at Martinis and Men.
- Watching Russ and Will emerge from the basement after three hours of Twilight Struggle (Will had never played before) only to discover that Russ, the teacher, had accidentally triggered global thermonuclear war and incinerated the globe.
- Sitting down to play games with two friends from college who I haven’t seen in five years.
- Seeing my dad finally win a game of Ticket to Ride after two and a half years of trying.
- Playing the first three games of the day with my wife.
- Hearing Rick insist loudly that “You don’t get points if you don’t play cards!” as I was contemplating whether or not to discard yet another hand in Pacific Typhoon.
- Passing through the living room over the course of two hours and watching a pile of Apples to Apples discards get bigger…and bigger…and bigger…
Thanks to all for making Metro Game Day II a success. If you want an invite to Metro Game Day III in June, please let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to find a way to get you the info!