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Help needed. I need to tell 100 people how great BG's are!


I just volunteered to give a talk to around 100 people in my office about how great board games are…

Lovely SUSD community what should I include? I will have about 15/20 mins.

I was thinking of the usual - “this hobby is really popular” —“here’s why?” etc

What should I showcase? What do you think ‘normies’ need to know about our hobby?

I’ll be speaking to a diverse group of people in London of many ages and backgrounds so I want to show them that the hobby is diverse and open to all.

Thanks in advance.


The things I think make boardgames ace:

You can be an asshole , you can feel nervous and annoyed and happy and terrible without real bad things happening.

You can do it while talking to your friends in real space with a beer or cheese.


Isn’t there a video of Quinns talking about the golden age of board games, and/or other ones that you might nick ideas from? (An intro to board games for your friends is one, I think)
Sorry, can’t search for them since I’m at work.


There’s a few!

There’s Quinns’ original “Golden Age of Board Games” talk, as well as the (shorter) 2017 update.

There’s also “A Feast of Friends” from the same event as the 2017 version.

And there’s also the “Intro to Board Games” video, though I’m not sure how old that is.


When I did something like this, I started with what people know - Monopoly and chess - then said they are kind of like two ends of a spectrum in which there are tens of thousands of other games, and then expanded on that. My talk was really more about describing the hobby rather than selling it though.


Not having done this, my first thought is to consider the breadth of the hobby. Lots of people seem not to have any idea of what’s out there beyond roll-and-move for kids, chess for geeks, card games for their various stereotypical social groups; at the very least I’d want to mention cooperative games, games without any board at all, and so on.


There is an article written SUSD alumn Paul Dean at How We Get On Next that has a quote I really like that claims “We routinely use games of all kinds to do what they’re best at, which is to practice in a safe-to-fail environment." I think that about sums up that social contract we all make when we play a game. That ideally we are creating a safe possibility space for people to interact in ways we normally wouldnt feel comfortable.


Brilliant thanks everyone. This is really helpful.

I must check out some of these links too.

@squidmachine that is a great quote…

Thanks again.


Start with a hook. Perhaps post up three cards from The championship of the wild and ask them to suggest what would come second in a hotdog eating contest.

As said big misconceptions.

All games are monopoly.
All games cause arguments.
All games involve maths.
All board games have boards.


Also don’t talk about the real reason many of us are here, a terrible willpower with regards to shiny new gubbins.


Board games are great because just like books and movies and t.v. there board games of so many types that anyone can find one that they like… also like books, movies and t.v. there are some real stinkers out there with minimal effort put into them but that is why there are people and websites that review all of these things to see if the theme, mechanics and other parts are a good fit. Unlike movies and books and such, games actually allow you to be an active participants with other people to help create or flesh out the story or just to have a good time.


Highly recommend the Golden Age of Board Games video linked by bruitist, even if it’s a few years out of date. If you can even bring a fraction of the enthusiasm and passion Quinns manages in it, you’ll be doing great.

Also to echo RossM, there are a lot of misconceptions about board games by people who haven’t really played any in the past decade or two. If you ask a random person on the street to name a board game, you’ll likely hear Monopoly, Clue, Risk, Sorry, or a number of kids games like Candy Land or Snakes and Ladders. Note that nearly every single one of these games is roll and move? All are competitive? Try to show some examples that break from this mold.

I think Pandemic is a good example to start with because it’s not roll and move, and it’s cooperative, pretty much the antithesis of the above games. Also, it’s rather easy to grasp the concept and rules. But there are plenty of games that fit this criteria you could use instead.

I would also stress a concept that SU&SD, Quinns in particular, hold when considering if a game is good or not. Does it provide the player interesting decisions? Many old games don’t really provide much in the way of decisions at all. You roll your dice, you move and do whatever it says to do where you end up. Modern board games, on the other hand, tend to give the player some agency. Even in games with a lot of luck, usually players have options to mitigate the randomness if they want to spend the time to do so.


I think the decision thing is often stated but over emphasised in the impact of what qualities a game brings. at the very least it is too bland of a statement to really help a person understand why a game is more interesting than deciding whether to get tomato soup with chilli over tomato soup with basil.

Yeah a game needs decisions but if that was the case SUSD wouldn’t be down on games like Lisboa and The Gallerist - those massive games clearly include interesting choices but do not click for some reasons. Maybe the caveat is whether the decisions games allow are merely interesting to the specific player?

But then it comes down to a rub… what makes those decisions interesting? I would say the thing, the magic, is that it creates a soupy situation for people to click over (solo games excluded). The decisions are interesting when you can parse them and you can see the consequences both for yourself and your friends. And the states of emotion those choices create is what is important.


There is, of course, going to be differences of opinion when it comes to entertainment, and board games are no exception to this. One person’s interesting decision is another person’s boredom. Interesting decisions do not automatically make a game good, but I would argue it makes them better than a game with virtually no decisions (Candy Land, Snakes and Ladders, Sorry, and even Monopoly) which I feel the general public is more familiar with and which was the point I was trying to make when considering the OP’s presentation of modern board games to a likely unfamiliar audience.


Thanks so much again everyone. I found out today I would only have five minutes - so I have focused on the things you guys have mentioned. I have quoted some of you directly…I wanted to give the SUSD community a bit of a plug…hope you don’t mind.

So the focus is on

The misconceptions
We are actually in a Golden-age of board games
The safe to fail environment

And then I’m using Pandemic as my example to talk about these factors.

Then I’m finishing off by saying that in a digital first world / culture…board games allow us to have fun together with tactile objects we can touch and feel but, we can also see and react to our friends faces and get that feedback too. We show and practice our empathy playing games.

I’ll hopefully share the presentation with you tomorrow…


Nice finish! Sounds like you have a good outline to work with. Good luck!


Hi All,

I meant to update on how this went. It went really really well!

I got calls for an encore (of all things) and then loads of people have been asking me for purchasing ideas for Christmas to get their own board games. So mission accomplished.

I couldn’t have done it without your suggestions and ideas.

Thanks so much.



Good job!