Andy Matthews, a senior software engineer for Eventbrite in Nashville, Tennessee, grew up an only child. As a result, he spent a lot of time playing board games with his parents. “We had a great tradition of game night every week,” he says. “We’d play Rummy or Risk or other games like that.”
But while Matthews enjoyed playing games with his family, board-gaming itself never played a pivotal role in his life—that is, until a few years ago when he stumbled upon an article in Wired. The piece discussed popular Eurogames like Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan. Suddenly, Matthews’ interest was piqued.
In 2015, he played a variety of games with his wife and four kids, logging titles as he went and purchasing ones that were recommended to him by friends. But Matthews soon discovered that some games, no matter how popular they were, just fell flat. “One of the most enjoyable things for me has been to realize that I have a style of games that I prefer,” he notes. “Now I can evaluate games I see in videos or on other people’s tables with a practiced eye and know within a few minutes if I’d like to play it, or even own it.”
This year, Matthews continues to refine his taste by playing one board game a day for an entire
calendar year. As of April 11, he is already up to 226 plays. “Just this evening, my kids and I played a really fun game called CastleKnights,” he shares, “and the goal of the game is to work together to move blocks around a table by only grabbing them with a rubber band connected to 4 strings. It’s utterly ridiculous, and all four of my kids were laughing and cheering when we got it right.”
When Matthews isn’t playing board games with his family, he’s hosting game nights to bring other passionate board gamers together. “When some people at Eventbrite’s San Francisco office started talking about game nights,” he explains, “I hadn’t even considered something like that might exist for adults. I decided to host a game night at Eventbrite in Nashville and invited a few friends and coworkers. Now the game night I host brings in nearly 50 people every month.”
Matthews credits his newfound love of board games to TableTop, a web show hosted by Wil Wheaton. “Being able to watch people play these amazing looking board games, having fun and joking around was incredibly appealing,” he says.
TableTop is also how Matthews got involved with International TableTop Day, for which he is hosting an event in Nashville later this month. “Last April I heard the parent organization of Tabletop mention this thing called Tabletop Day,” he explains. “I looked into it and realized that no place in Nashville was having an event. So I missed out on it. I promised myself then that I’d simply host the next one myself.”
International TableTop Day is an opportunity for board gamers to try new games, meet new people and have a great time.The event, sponsored by Eventbrite, is scheduled for April 30 at Emma. Drinks, snacks and lunch will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. And, according to Matthews, guests will also have the opportunity to win some great prizes. “I’ve worked with a number of game publishers who have generously donated games as both prizes and to be played at the event,” Matthews reports.
The event is free, but attendees must register in advance. Space is limited.