Interview with The Board Game Family
I love the detailed reviews The Board Game Family shares and they have such a cool story about how they got started. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!
Pin the Interview with The Board Game Family, or use the image above!
Tell us about your blog?
We started TheBoardGameFamily.com in the Fall of 2009 using video reviews as a way to introduce more parents to fun games their families may enjoy playing together. We focused on having the kids do the video reviews specifically so people could see what kids liked in games. That way they could decide if their own kids might enjoy those games.
When we started, there were only a couple board game reviewers doing video reviews and none were focused on the family aspect of games. Since that time, it’s amazing how the industry has grown and how many video reviewers there now are.
We supplemented our video reviews with written reviews as well since many visitors preferred to read vs. watch a video. So, we quickly started doing both. As our kids have grown, the amount of video reviews we do has dropped off, but we still average 1 written game review a week.
We also write about topics related to playing games with families – such as how to introduce games and learning how to lose gracefully.
How did you get started in the board game hobby?
When I was young, I loved playing games. I loved the mental challenge games provided. One of my favorite games was a game called Careers. It was a roll-and-move game, but it had various branching paths that players could choose to traverse. At the start of the game, players secretly chose their own win conditions. They had 60 points they could allocate between 3 categories (Happiness, Fame, Money). It added so much variety to how you could play the game that I’d play it over and over.
Game playing dwindled a bit after I got married and started a family. But when our oldest was around 10 years old, I picked up a couple new games on a business trip that ended up being hits with the kids. That’s also when I realized, I could now introduce more strategic games to our kids.
This was also about the time that the board gaming industry started to explode with thousands of engaging games and new game mechanics. It was the perfect storm of timing and opportunity that also saw our game closet overflow with new things to play. And it hasn’t stopped growing since.
What board games are you enjoying right now?
As our kids have grown, we’ve gone through a wide range of types of games. And now that most of them are leaving home for college, we’re finding we’re yet again adjusting to the types of games we play most. For example, with only 1 child now at home, my wife and I look to games that play well with 3 players. And with the amount of other activities we’re involved with, we also find games with shorter play times are pulled out the most.
That being said, each member of the family has created their own favorite games list that we’ve posted on our site. We first made our lists in 2012 and then updated them in 2015. It’s probably time we do so again.
The problem I have is that it’s hard for me to narrow down my favorites to less than 40 games.
And that’s because the games I enjoy playing the most are completely dependent on who I’m playing with. Games I enjoy playing with my wife are typically different than those I enjoy playing with my friends. And lunch-break games at work are not the same games I’ll pull out for game night. And large family gatherings call for yet a different set of games to enjoy.
That’s why I love having a wide range of games at the ready. Depending on the situation, I’ll pull out different games.
You can see my latest favorites list here:
However, I’ve played hundreds of games since creating both of these list and many new games from the last few years deserve to be added.
What is your favorite family board game of all time?
As mentioned above, that’s very hard to nail down. There are many fantastic contenders.
Ticket to Ride: Europe and Carcassonne are now considered classics that are hard to beat. But we also still love Sequence because it’s a game that can expand to almost any number of players, has a fair amount of luck so you never know who will win, and it’s light enough that you can carry on conversations while playing.
But we also believe cooperative board games are fantastic for families. That’s because everyone works together against the game. Everyone either wins or loses together. Our favorite cooperative games for family play are Forbidden Desert, Pandemic, and Castle Panic.
Our Family Favorites page has games listed that we’ll highly recommend for almost any family game night. https://www.theboardgamefamily.com/family-favorites/
What board games are your favorite right now when you have an adult game night?
Many years ago, I started a Buddies Game Night where we’d get together once a month to play games all evening. As part of that group, every June we have our Memoir ’44 game night. It’s around the D-Day commemoration and we have multiple tables of different scenarios that we just love to play. Looking back at those game nights over the past year, the big hits have been:
Spyfall, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Quacks of Quedlinburg, Camel Up, Coup, Century: Golem Edition, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Raiders of the North Sea, Mechs vs. Minions, and Scotland Yard.
What got you into blogging in the first place? What keeps you around?
I mentioned a little bit about this at the outset with our kids doing the video reviews. But the game that go us started was BANG!
We were playing a game of BANG! and our then 5-year old wanted to join in. Of course, he drew the Sheriff role card and I let him know that most people in the game would be trying to play their bullet cards against him. When that first shot was taken at him, he steadied his gaze and took it in stride. He ended up winning that game and wanted to play again and again.
As I asked him about what he knew about the rules of the game he rattled them off. I asked him what he liked about the game and he rattled off an answer. That’s when I realized there weren’t any video reviews from a kid’s perspective and The Board Game Family was born.
I chose “The Board Game Family” mainly because I wanted it to be clear that we were family-focused and that board games are a great way for families to bond.
I got the domain TheBoardGameFamily.com and we were off to the races. Since then, many video reviewers of all sorts have popped up. And we love seeing so much attention on board games because they really are a great outlet for families to enjoy together without spending much money. Just taking a family to a movie can run you $75+. Whereas a board game at $45 can deliver fun experiences as a family for years to come.
If money and time were not an obstacle, what would you be doing right now?
Traveling the world!
I’m in awe at the beauty of the world. There are so many places I want to visit and experience that beauty first-hand. I also enjoy meeting people from different cultures, and to me that’s part of the beauty of all those places.
What is something that people would find surprising about you?
I bought a steel drum from Trinidad & Tobago and learned to play it. And I learned to ride a unicycle after my 30th birthday. (But I don’t do both at the same time.)
Before you go…
Don’t miss Trent on Facebook! If you’re looking for some more great Kids Board Game Blogs, I’m doing interviews with all of my favorites, subscribe below so you don’t miss them!