For Bart Quicho, it was Carcassonne that got him hooked on board games. Every time Quicho visited the South Hill Mall, he’d stop by the game shop and stare at the tile game that builds a medieval world. Finally, his then-girlfriend got tired of the obsession, and just bought it for him.
Two years later, Quicho says he’s a board game addict — and as the organizer for a local game meetup group, he’ll be showing off a variety of board games Saturday at International Games Day at the Puyallup Library.
Run by the American Library Association with Nordic Game Day and the Australian Library and Information Association, International Games Day has been happening in libraries in 43 countries over the last six years. Thanks to Quicho and his meetup group, People Who Like Meeples, the Puyallup library will not only hold a multiplayer Minecraft and Build Competition, but will offer free gaming time from 2-4 p.m. on a variety of card and board games, from classic to Carcassonne.
“Designer games make you think,” says Quicho. “The rules are simple, but playing them has a lot of depth. They’re easy to learn, hard to master.”
After trying Carcassonne, Quicho realized the game — designed in 2000 by German board game maker Klaus-Jürgen Wrede — wasn’t the Monopoly-style game he’d grown up with. He began to explore more modern games, finding them in the online database BoardGameGeek.com, watching YouTube reviews, and starting the monthly Puyallup meetup group a year ago. He now has about 240 games, with his own inventory on BoardGameGeek.com.
“It’s crazy,” he acknowledges. “It’s gotten out of hand, but I love it.”
Among other things gamers love about designer board games is the use of strategy, unlike many traditional games which rely on luck and dice. Others are thematic, telling a story or providing an experience, like Zombiecide, where players struggle to find weapons and survive in a zombie apocalypse.
If that sounds a lot like a video game, it’s true that both types of games share scenarios. Quicho himself used to be a big online gamer. But, he says, the mechanics of video games and board games differ greatly, and now he appreciates the social, in-real-life aspect of playing board games.
“Because of the Internet, video gamers aren’t there with you,” he says. “Whereas with board games, everyone’s at the table interacting and socializing.”
Among the games Quicho plans to share at International Games Day are Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and newer titles like Sheriff of Nottingham – as well as Carcassonne. He’s expecting between 10 and 15 of the People Who Like Meeples to be there.
Oh, and a Meeple? It comes from the name of those little man-shaped people used to play Carcassonne and other games.
“You know: man … people … meeple,” Quicho explains. “It’s become a symbol for modern board games.”
International Games Day runs 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Puyallup Library, 324 S. Meridian Ave., Puyallup. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., there’ll be a Minecraft takeover, with a Build Competition in creative mode with prizes. (Ages 7-21, space limited, registration and basic Minecraft knowledge required. Bring your own laptop or use a library one.) From 2-4 p.m., various board and card games will be offered. (All ages, no registration needed.)