Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enjoy a World of Boardgames at Game Fest South

At a time when the word "game" is likely to mean "video game" in the minds of many, the humble boardgame has been enjoying a renaissance of its own. Since the introduction of Settlers of Catan to the North American market in 1994, there's been a flood of European (mostly German) boardgames and a number of US companies are offering these designer games. Ticket to Ride, a boardgame about railroading and published by an American & French company, Days of Wonder won the game of the year award (Spiele des Jahres) in Germany and has since sold over 600,000 copies worldwide.

The metro-Atlanta area has been a hotbed of boardgaming activity for a number of years. Numerous groups meet to play games each week throughout the metro area. The Atlanta Boardgaming groups at and Yahoo! are among their most active local groups. Fans of these boardgames from across Georgia and the Southeast will gather for three days of fun and games at the 13th Game Fest South is August 13-16, 2009 in Chattanooga, TN.

The event brings social boardgame players mostly from across the Southeast to play the hundreds of boardgames available. There's a flea market in the afternoon where members will sell and trade old boardgames. "You won't find this variety of boardgames available for sale anywhere else in the USA." says Ward Batty, organizer. There's always somebody handy who is happy to teach the rules.

So what is the appeal of these games compared to Monopoly or the other games most Americans grew up with? Says Ward Batty, "Players aren't eliminated. The games are shorter, generally from 30 to 90 minutes. While there is luck, players often have several things they want to do each turn, but have limited choice, so they must decide which is best. Players are usually competing more against the game itself rather than taking things directly from the other players. The aim of these games is not only to engage the players but create a fun social atmosphere."

Memberships are $40 for four days. Families are welcome, but an adult must accompany children under 16. Full information is available at Game Fest South.