It was May 9th, 2016, and had been just over a month since starting a new job at First Steps Wellness and Recovery Center, a drop-in center that served individuals experiencing homelessness, and I had already built a good rapport with almost everyone there. However, there was a small group that always stayed to themselves off to the side. I attempted several times to strike up a conversation with them about various topics but was always met with one or two-word answers until one day I noticed them laughing wholeheartedly while playing a card game. I walked over and watched them play for a bit before asking what game they were playing. It was Magic! The Gathering. Hometown Hobbies, a local gaming store, had given them some starter decks for free and they had purchased some of their bulk commons and uncommons.
After work that day I began looking into how to play Magic! The Gathering. I made a post on Facebook explaining that I wanted to build the same type of rapport and relationships with them that I had established with other individuals at First Steps and asked who could teach me how to play. Friends who already played immediately began commenting with local and online resources. One friend commented the obvious, although it had not even crossed my mind: “I’m sure they would be very receptive and more than happy to teach you and offer suggestions. That’s the best route to go to build rapport with them”. Ms. Terry, the Director of First Steps, solidified his comment by saying; “He gave the correct answer. Building relationships. Lifting self-esteem. How awesome that they have the opportunity to teach”.
The next day the small group was playing again and I approached them to ask them to teach me to play. They were ecstatic to do so. The occasional one to two-word answers quickly turned into hours of conversation on a daily basis while playing Magic! The Gathering. Before too long I found myself meeting up with the group in the park in my free time to play, even after I changed jobs. Magic! The Gathering had bridged the gap, not just at the client-to-staff level but at the person-to-person level.
Now if you know anything about Magic! The Gathering, it's probably that the game is ever-changing due to the publisher, Wizards of the Coast, constantly releasing new sets of cards to keep the game fresh. Keeping up to date with Magic! The Gathering led me to frequently visiting local gaming stores and finding gaming resources online, typically a variety of YouTube channels. A variety of board games started to enter my peripherals and before long I found myself watching some of The Dice Tower videos to learn more about them. On February 1st, 2018 I purchased my first modern board game; Scythe by Stonemaier Games. Since then I have grown my board game collection to 186 games, at the time of this blog post, and only plan to add even more. Much like what I experienced with Magic! The Gathering, board gaming can bridge the gap on a person-to-person level.
Board gaming has had such a positive impact on my mental health and has played a huge role in offering some sort of semblance of stability. Blue Falcon Board Gaming hopes to promote positive mental health through the hobby of board gaming. It is my goal to bring value to your personal life and the board gaming community whether you're already an avid board gamer, a board game weekend warrior, or haven't played a board game since childhood. All I can ask is that you continue to follow me on this journey into board gaming so I can share my favorite games with you, as well as discover new games together.