How to run a great games night and make it inclusive and supportive of well being and neurodiversity

There is no perfect answer to this but the following tips, should create a welcome friendly environment. Everyone likes to know the lie of the land, the basic rules and what to expect but more so if you have anxiety, autistic tendencies or a number of other issues.
So double check and make sure everything is clear even down to signage and drinks options. Set and manage expectations

Step one: Prepare:

1) Advertise, find your players but clearly set expectations of the kind of games being played but also cover the administration.
a. Where, when, what food and drink is available what is the cost?
2) Take requests for games and ask if people are bringing games to teach.
3) Send out rules videos or lists of the games being played so people can research
4) Include photos of the venue and gaming space.
5) Provide a second private channel for information and feedback. (Messenger)

Step two: The night

1) Ensure the venue is well signed so you are easy to find. I include A4 laminated signed the whole way
2) Friendly greeter to welcome all guests to assign them to an appropriate game and game teacher.
3) An appropriate game is dependent on the gamer but be aware of:
a. overly competitive games,
b. overall complex games for new games.
c. games which are too extrovert or social and / or involve lying and bluffing.
d. Game which rules change too much, having known and controlled rules can be more comfortable.
4) The game teacher should be patient but also enthusiastic and welcoming
5) Ensure the venue has appropriate lighting,
6) Enough space between the gaming tables.
7) Control the noise including reducing or eliminating background music (Provide space between games helps with this).
8) Be patient and tolerant, gamers with additional needs may be harder to please, may not react to social cues.
9) Ensure staff are identifiable. (Even having a different colour lanyard or badge)
10) Name stickers or name tags for all guests removes the pressure of asking or remembering names.

Step three: The growth

1) Grow and nurture the culture to be friendly, inclusive and welcoming.
2) Ask for feedback
3) Allow volunteers to step up and be involved. (Ownership of tasks and feeling of belonging)
4) Do not take rejection personally, even with perfect planning you cannot please everyone. Doubly so if people have additional issues.

This is not a once size fits all guide everyone is different and i am a gamer with an interest in inclusivity and making sure everyone has a good time not a medical professional. Hopefully these tips will help, they are mostly obvious.

Happy gaming!

This is work in progress so I’d love any feedback or comments.

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Best of facebook

We have a great facebook community here is a quick best of from over the last few months.

Introduce yourself:

Our Game collections:

Online codenames:

Our top nine games:

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Basically Wooden Review: Scythe and Village insert.

This isn’t a full review, just a few thoughts and lots of picture of building some inserts. Basically Wooden make fine accessories for board games and you can buy them pre build or DIY

The build process was quite easy, only one part was fiddly and took a few attempts, it took a whole ball of elastic bands and best part of a bottle of PVA glue.

Once built they make organising, sorting and getting the game to the table much quicker. The Scythe insert is brilliant. The village insert isn’t quite as polished but still makes getting the game on the table a breeze, but this an early Basically Wooden insert and it shows how much the company and product has matured. They are active and listen to the community, we are lucky to have them in the county

A quick gallery of the build process for the Inserts / game tidies. You can buy them complete or DIY. This is for Scythe…

Posted by Ad Best on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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So do you want to know what games we actually play?

Check this new page to see the list of the games we played on each of our games nights!

Hopefully it is interesting to help you remember the name of the game you liked you played last time or just to see the types of games we regularly play.

We tend to play shorter games so we can mix the groups up, be social and play with everyone and end the night on a big social game of codenames or something.

Games we play!

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Our favourite games!

Some of our top 9 (ish) favourite games, scroll to the bottom to see the groups combined favourites. Each picture represents one members top picks.

Our favourite games
Our favourite games
Our favourite games
Our favourite games
Our favourite games
Our favourite games
Our favourite games
Our favourite games

These are on 3 lists:

Blood Rage, Takenoko, Codenames, Dixit, Above and Below, Kodama,

These are on 2 lists:

Stone Age, Carcassonne, Dogs of War, Games of Thrones Second Edition, Telestrations, Robo Rally, Survive and Mysterium

View our game collection!

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The Dell House 101 guide to Modern Board Games

Kevin has written a great guide over on The Dell House website describing modern games. Dell Con is a residential games weekend in Malvern run several times a year. Well worth checking out, they even do day tickets for ‘locals’.

Where to start?

It is remarkably difficult to convey the ‘idea’ of modern board games.

If I were to say the word “car” you’d picture something from the last ten years, yes? Reasonably fuel-efficient, comfortable, good brakes, maybe even ABS and SatNav.

If I were to say the word “boardgames” I’d wager that you’re now thinking of games from the time when cars had starting handles, bench seats and pop-up indicators. Consider the modern Fiat 500 and the 1930’s Austin 7. The Fiat is a small runabout car, it has a wheel at each corner, steering wheel, brakes, lights, seats. It gets you from A to B. In this sense the Fiat and Austin are the ‘same’ but I doubt you think of them as the same thing at all.

An Austin 7 car

For the rest of the article please go to The Dell House web site

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Next steps from Monopoly and classic games

If you haven’t played any new board games for a while and not sure where to begin, look no further. We’ve listed similar games to all of the major classics. We’ve tried to list games which are available to buy and should feel familiar yet exciting by highlighting a key aspect similar to the classic game.

Modern board games have come on a huge way in the last 20 years. Give it a try and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. This list is also subjective. There are many thousands of awesome games out there so if you have a better suggestion do let us know.

  • Monopoly; Set collection, why not try Ticket to Ride Europe (£30) or Power Grid (£30)
  • Monopoly: Getting rich, why not try Lords of Vegas (£40)
  • Monopoly: Building / Making things why not try Suburbia (£45)
  • Risk; WAR! why not try, Small World (£35) or Blood rage (£55)
  • Chess; Two player abstract why not try Hive (£20), or Santorini (£50) or The Duke (£30)
  • Other roll the dice to move game, Why not try Jamaica (£30)
  • Scrabble; Spelling, why not try, Upwords (£15) or Qwirkle (£20)

    Qwirkle: Like scrabbly but with colours and shapes very accessible.
  • Cluedo /Clue; Who dunnit? why not try, Mysterium (£30) or Love letter (Various themes including Batman, Archer) (£10) or Mystery at the Abbey (£35)
  • Liars Dice; bluffing, why not try, Coup (£15) or Skull (£15)

    Skull: Amazing tense bluffing game.
  • Angry Birds; Dexterity/ Destroying things) why not try, Pitch Car (£40) or Terror in Meeple City (£40)
  • Tetris: Spatial, Why not try Blokus (£25)
  • Connect 4; Paths / Blocking why not try Tsuro (£25) or Ingenious (£25)
  • Charades; Describing, Why not try Concept (£20)
  • Yahtzee; Dice rolling, why not try King of Tokyo (£22), King of New York (£30) or Roll for the Galaxy (£40)

    King of Tokyo: Yahtzee means Godzilla, with amazing art and power cards to add to replayability.
  • Pit; why not try Happy Salmon (£15) or Ligretto (£10)
  • Rummy: Cards set collection, why not try Sushi Go party! (£20)
  • Poker;  bluffing why not try Coup (£15), or Bang the dice game (£15)
  • Jenga; Dexterity, why not try Bausack (£40) or Rhino Hero (£10)

    Rhino Hero. Stacking game like jenga but super portable.
  • Werewolf; traitor / bluffing, Why not try, One Night Ultimate Werewolf (£20) or Coup (£15),
  • Uno; sets, why not try, category 5 / 6 nimmit (£10)
  • Pictionary; Drawing, why not try Telestrations (£25) or Pictomania (£40)

    Telestrations: Amazingly fun drawing and guessing game
  • Cranium; party, why not try Telestrations (£25), Dixit (£25) or Pictomania (£40)
  • Trivial Pursuits; General Knowledge, why not try Wits and Wagers (£30) or Timeline (Various versions and themes) (£15)

    Time Line Various editions: Putting things into chronological order, a lot more fun and harder than you think.
  • Scotland Yard; Hidden Movement, why not try Letters from Whitechapel (£40) or Specter Ops (£40)
  • Magic the Gathering; Clever card combos, why not try 7 Wonders (£30) or Evolution (£30) or Seasons (£40)

Finally did you know it is possible to play cooperatively. You and your friends or family against the game. It is not as easy as it sounds and is a great way to play with a mixed skill or age group. Sound interesting? Why not try Pandemic, or Flash Point: Fire Rescue?

A lot of these games have excellent app (iPhone / Android) implementations or can be played online at sites like

Prices are approximate and were updated 27/03/17

Orginal Post here

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What type of games convention goer are you?

I like lists, both useful and funny so here is an attempt at a funny list. A random conversation at the expo spawned the idea of defining what type of convention  goer you are.

  • The Accidental Gamer: Discovers the con by accident (2017 accidental gamer story, a lady attending the Take That gig near by chats to a gamer over breakfast, ends up attending the Expo for two days!)
  • The Aerosmith (I don’t want to miss a thing):  Has to do everything, see every stall, at the expense of sleeping, runs on coffee and food you can eat one handed.
  • The Bargain Hunter: Scours the bring and buy sales and price checks all the stores and online shops before purchasing.
  • The Demoer: There to play lots of demos, either to be the first to know or to try before you buy.
  • The Floater: Drifts around  near the surface avoiding big crowds.
  • The Freebier: Collects freebies even hoarding business cards and leaflets
  • The Haggler: Haggles constantly despite massive queues, often also a bargain hunter.
  • The Herder: Trys to coordinate either a family or pack of friends, constantly on the phone trying to arrange meeting points.
  • The Insider: Works at the show so has early trade access however often too busy to actually enjoy the show.
  • The Magpie: Ooh Shinies! Must buy all of the things. If also a planner comes armed with a huge list.
  • The Researcher: Explores and take copious notes for research later, phone in hand on BGG and
  • The Nervous Lurker: Looks longingly at celebrities and demos and other interesting things but too nervous to ask, awkwardly takes a sneaky photo and moves on.
  • The Planner: Spends weeks scouring for information and meticulously planning itinerary and routes. Plans to explore everything or to hit the stalls and venues at the optimum time to get demos or freebies. Has a full list of things to buy and optimal prices.
  • The Player: There to play games, lot of games, first up and last to bed.
  • The Proto-typer: Similar to the demoer but has to play the very newest and  unreleased games. Has to be the first to know.
  • The Scrutineer: Similar to the bargain hunter but applies scrutiny to a single stall or shop checking every item, eventually buying a single small cheap item before moving on.
  • The Specialist: Goes with a single aim / objective to achieve, for example collect all the purple things.

I’m definitely an explorer and nervous lurker. Sometimes a planner and gamer depending on energy levels.

Watch this space for UK Games Expo stories. It was great! There are lots of comments and photos on our Facebook page too.

This is the best comment from Facebook so it’s getting pride of place here. From Griff of “doing a Griff” fame.

I’m a faffer which isn’t on there, also known as a Griff.

Bargain Hunter that wanders around waiting for queues to shrink (they never do until sold out)

Buyer/planner – plans to write a list but runs out of time to research/write one

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Top pub games part 2

Whilst researching I had loads of good advice and recommendations. Picking the top 10 was a real challenge.

Pub Starter kit: Codenames, Penguin Trap, Perudo, Zombie Dice and Rainbow Rage

Here is a list of the contenders!

Social / large group games
Resistance, Coup, Dixit, Wits and Wagers, In a bind, Times up, Fake artist goes to new York, Snake oil, Secret Hitler, Man Bites Dog, Perudo (liars dice)

Two player quick games
Hive,  Patchwork

Two to four player quick games
Blokus, Hey that’s my fish, Quirke

Two to five player quick games
No thanks, Sushi Go party, Exploding kittens

Two to six+ player games
Fluxx (Pick a theme), Bannagrams, Cockroach Poker, Pickomino, Saboteur, Cock and bull, Pickomino,

Meatier games
Splendor, Ticket to ride, Carcassonne, camel up

Rude games
Joking hazard, Cards against humanity.

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