I am Marko, a marketing strategist and internet nut from Finland. I too am a board game enthusiast (also known as @theboardnerd on Instagram) who enjoys board games because board games bring people together, and they remind us how to properly share an experience together. I have two children at ages 5 and 3 (shaping up nicely to become future board gamers I must add) with whom I play occasionally and I’m dreaming to share the table with them a lot more in the future. I also have a beautiful wife who has – for now – chosen to tolerate my obsession.
How did you get into this world of non-digital games?
I have three brothers and as a kid, we spent a lot of time and summers at our summer cottage where board games and other non-digital experiences were how we spent most of our time. We did had our share of consoles and computers, but we opted for the more analog activities. When I got older I somehow forgot about board games as life got busier for a young man with a career. This went on for quite a while until one day, a friend of mine asked me to come over to have some casual fun with the fellows. As a result, we ended up playing some board games and for the first time in a very long time, I realized that board games were actually missing in my life. It was somewhat an eye-opening experience. An activity that I used to love as a kid, and one day simply decided to come back to my life. My gaming shelves began to grow and after I bought my own house, the world of board games just grew tenfold because I now had the opportunity to have a dedicated space for the gaming hobby.
Now I have a The Game Tavern in my garage, a dedicated space for board games with decent shelves, hundred games and a board game table I’ve done myself. I believe it is a space every board game enthusiast should have. Now it is always possible to have friends over to enjoy a game without bothering the better half of mine and the kids.
How often do you play?
Almost as often as people want to play. I usually end up playing 1-4 games once or twice a week. When I moved to Hämeenlinna, board games, being that brilliant and social way of having a good time with strangers too, was the activity that quickly got me new friends. Now I play with the regular group of four people and of course, my better half and the kids.
We have a good thing going on. We only play when we feel like it. The day board games begin to feel forced or pushed somehow, I am going to have a break or stop entirely. We play to have fun and only for fun because board games just don’t bring people together – they remind us how to play altogether.
Can you tell us something about your shelves?
When I moved to Hämeenlinna, I didn’t want the game space to dominate our living space yet I still wanted to have a dedicated space for it. I had my garage full of junk for a whole winter and then one day, I simply decided to take action. I had never built anything before in my life, but I am blessed with an attitude to make things happen. I built the space, bought the shelves and built the game table (total costs of $150) with no practical skills and it became everything I wanted. You can check out my gaming table adventure here.
Thus my shelves are now located at my very own The Game Tavern and I now have exactly 100 games in my collection. I designed the space so that when people enter it, it is a promise of a great gaming experience.
I’ve always wanted to make sure that I have games from all genres so no matter what people want to play, I always have something to offer. Myself I like all kinds of games and there really is no such a game I don’t play. That is not that I don’t enjoy some games over others, it is just that games are all about the people who play it. One game that is great can differ a lot when other groups of people are playing it.
My game collection is currently arranged based on the size, but I’m open for suggestions how they should be arranged!
What is your favorite game at the moment?
Must be either Roll for The Galaxy or Seasons, very hard to decide which one. If I need to choose one game, then it is Roll for the Galaxy at the moment. The game’s dices and puzzles are first class and the game – despite having lots of dice – still manages to pull of an impressive feature: dice management made in such a way that it is not random and annoying. It is also short and it has high replayability due to different combinations and starting planets. And no, I’m not even talking about the Ambition expansion. I must give honorable mentions to: Seasons, Blood Rage, Lords of Waterdeep and Mice and Mystics.
What is your most special or obscure game?
I think my most special game is Space Alert. It is not actually really obscure, but it does have a steep learning curve and every time there is lots of chaos and laughter. The great thing is, it lasts 10 minutes. In its core, it is a cooperative team survival game. Players become crew members of a small spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of a galaxy and there is only one objective: Survive. It is adrenaline packed and it needs players who enjoy craziness and stress of trying to plan everything in the heat of the moment and not to feel bad when everything blows up. If you find such players, treasure them and offer them this game!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! Something you would like to add?
I am a social being and I love how Instagram has a strong board game community. Come say hi to me there (@theboardnerd)! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I can gladly share my game table plans with you etc. Just send me a direct message on Instagram. I am a social being and I love to connect with new board gamers. Thank you for reading, and keep on enjoying board games. I certainly will do so.
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