Probably like a lot of people I spent my childhood playing Scrabble, Cluedo, Monopoly, Subbeuto and Escape from Colditz. I loved them all but the problem was always getting people to play with me. His was somewhat partially solved by playing Colditz and Subbeuto on my own with my personal “Match of the Day” commentary for my Subbeuto matches.
Then from my late teens to mid thirties board games pretty much fell by the wayside as the pub and alcohol took priority. However one moment in that period does stand out for me when I was visiting a friend in Germany and we went to visit one of his friends one night. She pulled out a strange looking game involving hexagonal shapes to make up a playing surface and then collecting resources and building roads and towns. I had never seen anything like it before and was totally captivated.
By my mid thirties life had taken me through living and working in Ireland, U.S., England, Canada, Botswana and back to Ireland. I realised how much I hated my job and life in Dublin so did the only sensible thing and quit. Best decision I ever made in life and along came a job with an NGO in Honduras for 2 years in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. I was sharing a house with 2 other guys and one of the first things I did was to purchase Risk. It was a rip-roaring success and the 3 of us played practically every night and got seriously smashed in the process. After that the work took me on to several other countries but board games didn’t feature for various reasons. My brother married a Czech girl and wandering around the supermarkets I noticed settlers of Catan on proud display. I of course bought a copy and when I got posted to Sri Lanka I brought it along on the off chance someone may be interested. I hesitantly asked my work colleagues one night if they would be interested in playing a game which produced incredulous looks and sneers. However they gave it a go and it was a success leading to many highly social, alcohol fueled nights. Halfway through my time there an Australian girl showed up who had the audacity to win her first two attempts at the game. I was not too happy about this so I set about trying to win her heart, the end result of which was me travelling to Australia to see her.
On the 7th April 2010 Fionn was born and everything changed. My wandering lifestyle came to an end for 2 years and all our free time disappeared………..but of course it was worth it. When I get a few hours (and lots of space) I try to play a game of Arkham Horror. Or if Jen has time it’s Pandemic or Ticket to Ride. But one day soon my little boy will be old enough to sit at the table and play with Mammy & Daddy, and I cannot wait!