Analog Games aren’t just fun. They also often come in interesting boxes featuring beautiful artwork. It’s no surprise that a lot of us love to proudly showcase our board game collection on a shelf. In this series, every week one of our fellow board game enthusiasts will exhibit their board game shelves and tell us something about their favorite board and card games. Today we are going to look at the board game shelves of Kevin from the United Sates!
Hi Kevin, please introduce yourself.
“My name is Kevin and I own The Castle Beverly with my wife Ryn (Kevryn for short- @thecastlebeverly). We’re board game geeks in the northshore near Boston, Ma. We’re a younger couple, with only 3 years of marriage under our belt, but about a decade of nerdy friendship! We just had our first child 7 months ago, which is also when we started breaking ground on a brand new business—the first board game cafe in the Northshore!”
How did you get into this world of non-digital games?
“We’ve been playing games since we first met, my wife and I. I’ve been playing for years, from D&D in my friend’s basement in high school to weekend long sessions of Risk in a summer cabin on a pond in Maine. College was when we first started to expand our interest. We survived long boring nights in college gaming, with Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Taboo —sometimes entire floors at once! When we got married it only go worse—we had a place to ourselves to build on our gaming treasure trove. Inviting friends over to playtest the latest game we saw online and bought way too quickly. I still remember how fun the first night we tried Avalon with 5 or 6 of our friends and a case of beer. We played 6 straight games and by the end everyone was convinced everyone else was literally the worst level of scum on earth! That started a regular gaming session every Tuesday night. A regular group of friends brings IPA’s I always hated and cracking open a brand new game we would learn to play, or just stared at the rulebook in confusion before giving up and trying again another night (I’m looking at you, Tzolk’in). It was around that time that Ryn, sick of her boring job, decided we should start doing this professionally, and our gaming group became playtesters for our future inventory, as well as a group of friends hanging out.”
How often do you play?
“A few years ago we were lucky to get everyone’s schedules together to get a couple games a month in. Now, thanks to the Castle—barely a few days go by before I’m learning something new, or reliving an old favorite. I still don’t play as much as I’d like, since we’ve got to run the business, but most of the time I find that introducing people who haven’t heard of most of these games is more fun to me than playing the games themselves!”
Can you tell us something about your shelves?
“I wanted to start on the actual shelves themselves, because I built them and I’m shameless about how proud I am of those. I saw an online post about building shelves out of wood and gas piping so I gave it a go. I’m fully convinced the whole Mickey-mouse-club contraption will come tumbling down at any moment. We’ve packed about 300 on those creaky pieces of wood, and tried our best to organize them by style—classics, kids, gateway games, deep strategy games, coops, wordplay and finally party/bluffing games. Since we get a lot of people new to gaming, we’ve labeled the games by difficulty with different colored dots, green for easy, yellow for a little tough and red’s are Play At Your Own Risk. Ironically, Risk itself is a green, the rules are pretty simple, turns out it doesn’t take a lot of complexity to ruin friendships.”
What is your favorite game at the moment?
“That’s tough. What do I feel like playing? I love coops, but usually they’re either a little easy or WAY too long. I’m loving Zombicide right now, but Dead of Winter is a recent contender and rising the ranks steadily, apparently I like killing some zombies. I’ve got to give props to Spyfall and Codenames though, If you’ve got a big group they’re such an amazing time. I’m never going to pass up a good game of Love Letter though, it was my first love. Oh! and Splendor!”
What is your most special or obscure game?
“I’m gonna go a little old school geeking on this one—we have a signed copy of Axis & Allies: 1942 from Larry Harris—the creator of the game! Milton Bradely, the board game giant who republished the original Axis and Allies, was based in Springfield, Ma. So Larry is from around hereabouts. He heard about the Cafe and stopped by to check it out! It was a great moment, meeting a celebrity of the board game world. He was really impressed with what we were doing, and I totally nerded out and asked for his signature. He did me one better and donated a brand new copy of the game WITH the signature on the front cover! It was awesome. Now all I need to do is clear enough time in my schedule to get that game out again to play it through.”
Thank you so much for sharing your story! Something you would like to add?
“If you’re in the Northshore, or even the entire New England area, stop by and play some games! We’re constantly growing our library, and we love recommendations for new games. You can find out more about us at The Castle Beverly. Pretty much any time you stop by you’ll see Ryn and I walking the floor with Elijah, our son. If you come at the right time he’ll probably be seated by his big brother, Colin (Ryn’s Stepson). He’s only 5 but he’ll play Castle Panic until the sun sets!”
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