This social aspect of board games is part of what Darren and his friends enjoy. But, thinking back to the days when Monopoly was popular, people often worry about the time it takes to complete a game. "A common question I hear," says Darren, "is 'Does a game need to last all day?' No it doesn't. Most can be played in less than two hours and taught in ten minutes. Board games are very approachable and there's a game for everyone: adults, families, kids."
Darren has been involved in the gaming industry for as long as he can remember. "I worked for another gaming store for almost 14 years, and then it just seemed a natural step for me to get into business for myself, which allowed me to expand my range."
Strategies Games & Hobbies specialize in non-electronic games. "We have a huge selection," says Darren. "I look to Europe for inspiration - they're at the forefront of gaming, particularly the games included in the Spiel Des Jahres [Game of the Year] award in Germany.” Darren notes that playing board games is a very European pastime. "For the past 20 years, all the best games have come from Europe."
While the video game culture is still very popular in North America, Darren has seen a trend towards the rising popularity of board games – not because of boredom with their electronic counterpart, but because people are looking for other ways to play games.
"For example, the trend now is towards cooperative games. Rather than being extremely competitive, you sit down with a partner or group, and you discuss strategies and moves. The game Pandemic is a good example of this genre," he says.
The number of players in a board game can vary greatly. "We have games that can be played just by a couple, a small group, or a large party. You can organize a dinner party around a game, or play it for an hour or two in the afternoon," Darren says. "We also have games for the hard-core gamers who like to play eight hours at a time. That would be me."
Darren is happy to inform people that board games are just not as complicated or time-consuming as they may seem. "It's a great way to spend a fun, social, interactive time with your friends or family," he adds." >