The Actual Brewing Company
655 N James Rd
Columbus, OH 43219
687 N James Road
Columbus, OH 43219
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
What is going on today?
This is our fourth annual 24-Hour Board Game Marathon for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It is part of Extra Life which is a global game day. It is held first Saturday of November. There are people all over the world video gaming and board gaming that raise money for local children’s hospitals. We are a board game club, so we are playing board games today.
We have raised over $20,000 for Children’s Hospital since we started. Our goal for this event today is to raise $10,000. We are already at $5,000 which include the door charge, silent auction, and what the Brewery and food trucks are donating, I’m feeling pretty good that we will reach our goal of $10,000 tomorrow.
Do you want to do a shout out to the food trucks that will be participating today?
Yes. Pitabilities, Ajumama, and Pingweeni’s. They are donating 10% of food sales. The Actual Brewing Company is donating $1 for every beer sold. Uprising Meadworks is donating $1 for every mead sold. We had dozens of businesses donating over $3,000 in stuff for our silent auction. A lot of people help to make this event happen.
So, people just pay the $10 cover, come in and start playing board games?
Yes. We do this event every November. We do other small fundraisers throughout the year, but this is our main fundraiser.
Is there a time when you just come and play board games without it being a fundraiser?
Yes. Every Wednesday at Smokehouse Brewery in Grandview from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm and every second Sunday of the month. It is free to show up and is open to anyone 21 and older. They have good food and beer specials.
Our club has been around for 5 years. We have about 1,400 people in the group. There are anywhere from 30 people to 200 people at a large event. It is a pretty diverse group of people. We have people who are 21 and we have people who are 65. It is not all the game nerds that some people would expect. We do have a few of those and I am one of them. It is a fun way to socialize and it is good for creativity and intellectual development. It is also a healthy thing to do. It helps to fight off Alzheimer’s because playing games uses parts of your brain that most adults don’t use after they stop playing.
My partner, Raymond Chandler III and I, are launching our game “City of the Big Shoulders” on www.kickstarter.com.
What is kickstarter?
Kickstarter is one of the best places to launch a board game. It is a crowd funding resource. Anybody who is an independent gamer or independent publisher will usually launch their games on kick starter.
It is a heavy economic Euro game set it Chicago around the turn of the century. We are excited about it because it combines 18xx game mechanics with heavy euro games.
What are you talking about?
It’s a heavy game. Anyone who is interested in economics or heavy euro games would love it. It is the first game that we are launching.
How can you be contacted?
Parallelboardgames.com and we are on Facebook as parallelgames and on twitter at parallelspiel.
Check us out on kickstarter. We would love for you to watch our video and check out our game. We would love to hear your feedback.
Sidebar. I thought he was the DJ
Why are you a member of this club and why do you support this event?
You are not the first person to think I am the DJ. I brought video games. One way to get more people to come out is to offer a variety of things that they can do. We have all the arcade games like pin ball, card games, and board games. One of the things missing was a video game station. Since bitzcon is going on today, I brought out the suite of blizzard titled games. Anybody can come up and play or watch. There is no donation involved in this, because if you pay the $10 up front, that gets you anything inside.
What is Blizzard?
Blizzard is a game developer. They make some of the most popular games in the world, including world of war craft. What we have here is overwatch. It is their first-person shooter. I was playing Heroes of the Storm when you walked up, which is their multi player online battle arena or amoba. All these games are available for people if they want to play. They are online games; but you can play them with one device. I have the laptop and the controller, and anybody can just throw down.
How did you become a member of the group?
Cheryl (who you interviewed earlier) is my girlfriend’s best friend. We do a weekly event. I was going to all of those for a while. Normally everyone is playing board games. I will either paint or do video games.
Nope, just let me know when you want to get beat in Mortal Combat.
Sidebar: The competitor in me knew not to agree to play Mortal Combat. I haven’t played in YEARS. Mr. Collins, I might have given you a run for your money back in the day…
I’m going to be honest. When I saw this event online, I thought people would be playing Monopoly, Clue, etc. I didn’t recognize any of the games people were playing.
We have a wide variety of the types of games that we like. If you think about it, what restaurant is going to be better; McDonald’s or the local restaurant that you never heard of before? The local restaurant you never heard of before. A lot of these games are made by independent developers. Some of them are popular. Sorry, Trouble, and Monopoly are like your Parker Brothers, main brand games. And they are fun games. These games are often more complex, have a higher skill level and have more going on with them. Sometimes we will support local board game makers like “The City of the Big Shoulders.” Emily and some of her friends made that game from scratch. We not only support the local charities but also each other.
Settlers of Cantan is one of the most popular board game that there is. It requires you to have some board game knowledge to be familiar with. It is one of the games that has one of the highest tournament rating. If you are only familiar with Sorry and Monopoly, that is a game that you never heard of. There are mainstream games that are deeper in the board game community; but there are plenty of games where only 100 copies exist and one of them is here.
Why do you participate?
I participate because my son has been helped by Nationwide Children’s hospital. They are great for making children feel at ease. He was in there for a sensitive issue. He had to have a minor surgery and they were able to calm him down. They allowed him to have whatever flavor he wanted on the anesthetic mask. He was being strong until they started to wheel him back and he started missing mom and dad. They were able to calm him down. Ever since the surgery, he hasn’t had any complications. We didn’t have to pay anything on the bill. It was a teaching situation for the hospital. I have been attending events for Beer and Board games for about 3 years. It is a great way to mingle, get with like minded people, and learn different board games. There is always something new out there.
If you have never been here for an event, come, participate and get involved in the auctions. Don’t tell Cheryl I out bid her… There are plenty of things to choose for in the auctions and it all goes to great cause.
Why do you participate in this event?
I like kids, I like playing board games, and I like to drink. Doing all those things together to help the kids is a really good cause.
Have you been here all four years? Will you be here all 24 hours?
I have been here all four years. I was the one who brought the idea to Cheryl 4 years ago. I wanted to do the whole 24 hours the first year, but then I got pregnant and couldn’t. Since then, I have always done between 13 and 16 hours each time. I usually come back in the morning to help everybody get pumped up for the last couple of hours.
Tell me about this game. I bet you are going to tell me you are winning.
I am so not winning…. This is Twilight Imperium, the 4th edition. This is a world domination game. Everybody is trying to have the most power in this world. They are placing their ships down and they are working with the other races to try to have the most influence in the world. Sometimes that means they are fighting other races and sometimes that means they are working with other races to get resources and build their power. At the end of the game, whoever has the most points wins. It doesn’t always mean that you were the one who beat up people the most. Sometimes it is, you have worked with everyone the best.
It looks like this is a passionate game. This seems to be the game where people are arguing, raising their voice, etc. What is up with that?
I don’t want to fight you in the beginning of the game; we are going to be cool. But half way through the game, well now, I must punch you in the face. It is that sort of feeling.
Somebody somewhere said it takes about 8 hours to play this game. Were they exaggerating?
No. It takes 4 to 10 hours depending on the number of players and how experienced the players are with the game.
Why do you participate in this event?
I have been modern game boarding for 8 years. We came out today to support Extra Life to give money for Children’s Hospital. We can come, play some games, drink some beer, and have some fun. It’s all for a good cause.
What game are you playing?
Rajas of the ganges is where we play princes and princesses in India, expanding our kingdoms, cutting through the jungle and creating trade routes to other princes. We are trying to build the temples in India while we increase our own wealth. The first person to make their wealth, their richness and their fame meet on the track wins. It is sort of a race game, where we try to make temples, build them up and make more as we increase our own wealth. Whoever does that first, wins.
Tell me about your game.
Blood on the clock tower is a social deduction game. It shares a lot of DNA with Werewolf. The game has been in development for about 4 years. We are going to kickstart it in January.
Let me stop you what is Werewolf?
Social deduction is a style of game in which every person has information or a secret role. Your job is to glean the correct amount of information to help your team win or to help your player survive until the end of the game. There are a lot of examples like Werewolf, Secret Hitler.
The biggest stylistic differences is in Werewolf there is an individual winner. With Blood on the Clock Tower your team wins. There is a good team and an evil team. Every win or loss is done as a team, which is a lot of fun. Also, there is no player elimination, which means that even if you get killed, you are still able to participate in the game. It keeps everyone involved until the very end. Hopefully, nobody will end up really bored. Every person has some type of role and information that has an impact on the game. The minimum number of players is 5 plus the story teller. I have run 20 player games before.
Let’s say you have 6 people of average or above average intelligence. How long should the game take?
Each game can last between 45 minutes and 2 hours. If you have a 5-player game, it can last about 30 to 40 minutes, a 10-player game can last about an hour, and a 20-person game can last about 2 hours or more. It depends on how much they talk.
I don’t see a lot of parts to the game. Is the game different each time it is played?
Yes. There are 20 different roles and no set script. The storyteller can determine which roles go into the game.
How much will the game cost?
It is not finalized, but we are hoping to offer it for about $100.
Anything else you want to tell me?
You are not going to necessarily get accurate information from all the roles.
So, people just lie in the game?
They could be lying, or the storyteller can give them false information. For example, there is a character called the drunk. You think you are a towns folk, but the storyteller tells you inaccurate information because you are a drunk. Your job is to glean whether you are drunk or not. At some point in the game you will utter the phrase, “I’m not evil but I might be drunk.”
Is this a local product?
I am from Columbus originally. Most of the design team is in Sydney Australia. Hopefully most of the production will be done in the US.
How can we find you?
We are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: Blood on the Clock Tower. There are copies of the game in Seattle, Columbus, San Francisco, New York, Boston, various places in Europe, and in Sydney. We have been at every convention over the past summer. We have people in Essen.
What is Essen?
It is a giant major gaming convention in Germany. We were at Origins here in Columbus. We were at Gen Con in Indianapolis. We are trying to build up by word of mouth. Everyone who has played this game raves about it.
Sidebar: I watched the game played. It was fun to watch and looked like it was fun to play. He didn’t exaggerate about the drunk. There was also a character (I can’t remember which one) whose function was to try to save the major players from being eliminated. So, that character was lying. Seems like if you loved the Perry Mason show from back in the day and you can lie with a straight face that you would be great at and enjoy this game.
How long have you been associated with the group?
Have you attended all 4 events?
Do you stay all 24 hours?
I have not, and I don’t intend to.
You were telling me about some of the categories of all these new games that come out. What are they?
It would be hard to name all of them, but off the top of my head there are: social deduction games, euro games, and deck building games. Euro games are going to be about buying, trading and selling. Social deduction games are going to be about trying to figure out things with other people. Deck building games, you collect cards to build a bigger and bigger deck to win your thing.
Do you have a favorite or do you play them all?
I like Euro games the most. They tend to be longer, and usually they take an hour or two. The social deduction games usually take around 30 minutes, which on a limited time schedule, can be a little nicer.
Is it difficult to play some of these games with a little “liquid” in you?
Yes. It is also more fun and entertaining.
There are probably 4 different game board clubs in Columbus.
Which club do the older people, older than 50 go?
There are some people in our club over 50. CABS would be more for people over 50. Our average age would be in the 30’s and you do have to be over 21 for our club.
Are there places other than the club meetings where people go to play board games?
My favorite is Table Top Game Café in Clintonville. They have a minimum that they ask you go buy, then you have access to their entire game library. I believe the first one in Columbus is called Kingmakers Board Game Parlour which is in the Short North. You pay a library fee (I think it is $5) then you can play as many games as you want. There are other places like cafes and bars that will have a decent game library.
My take: It is wonderful that like-minded people come together to hang out, play the games with passion, but no real arguing. This reminded me of the times we would stay up most of the night playing spades. I love the concept of playing until you are too tired to play anymore. They were playing new games when I expected to see several tables of monopoly, taboo, right, left, center, and Mexican Dominos. I did not expect to be exposed to new games where the designers were in attendance and participants were playing games not yet on the market. They have developed a great social club where people can come, hang out and have a good time. It is a bonus that they can play, have fun and donate to Nationwide Children’s hospital.