Today was International Games Day, an annual event that celebrates all things boardgames. Not everyone knows this, but International Games Day actually goes back nearly 5000 years to Ancient Egyptian times. Admittedly it was a fairly brief festival back then, mainly because the Egyptians only ever got around to inventing one boardgame [which they called Senet. This bit is true, at least – Ed.].
To observe the day our local library at Preston was holding its annual Board Game Feast, which promised to be a true gala(h) event. I have to be honest – when we turned up at the library I wasn’t sure which way it would go. I mean, either there’d be nobody there except some disappointed librarians and the usual weekend crowd of tired parents “supervising” their children in the picture books area (usually this is us), or the hardcore Warhammer miniatures crowd had moved in and taken over the library in the name of The Imperium of Man.
Thankfully the reality was somewhere in the middle of these extremes, though veering slightly towards good old-fashioned boardgame fun. There were heaps of people playing games, and particularly lots of families with young children, which was great to see. My older son and I played a round of Animal Upon Animal, a stacking game where you take turns balancing small wooden animals on top of each other. Some other games I saw being played included Bugs in the Kitchen (which looked like great fun), Don’t Rock the Boat (another stacking game featuring pirate penguins, a much overlooked demographic in the boardgames market), Headache, Carcassonne, Machi Koro, Codenames, plus literally dozens of others.
This was all the work of the good librarians at Darebin Libraries and the guys at Board Games Australia. I spoke a bit with Melissa Rogerson, the very friendly co-chair of BGA who was running the event, who told me this was one of the best turnouts at a library for International Games Day that she’d seen in a while. It’s really fantastic to see the hobby of boardgames continue to expand, all I can say is well done to everybody involved in organising this event. I couldn’t have been more pleased to see this happening in my local neighbourhood, especially because it brought together two of my favourite things – games and libraries! If only there’d been a coffee cart serving single origin pour overs, then this would’ve been my perfect Saturday afternoon. Hmm, I’ll have to get on the organising committee for next year …