Friday, June 30, 2006

New Epidemic Sweeps the Nation

Leaves Families Broken and Scarred

Saw this in my local newspaper. I thought I would reprint it here. There are two references to Gone Gaming:

AP (Newark, NJ) The Newark chapter of Board Gamers Anonymous (BGA) meets in the dank basement of an ancient public library on Thursday nights. Homes in the neighborhood have barred windows and the streets are littered with paper, bottles and other debris. There is a building across the street with a neon sign flashing "arry's L q or Sto e" in ancient red letters. The Board Gamers Anonymous have been meeting in these cramped quarters every week for the last 18 months. There are a dozen hard core board gamers who form the core of the group and another two dozen who are family members and friends of addicts.

“Most people are shocked when they hear about our group,” states David, the founding member of the Newark chapter of BGA, “most people have never heard of board game addiction, but I can assure you it is a very real problem.”

There are two chapters of BGA in the Newark area. David says, “There's a meeting on Monday night near the University, but I prefer the Thursday group here at the library. It just feels more real. The Thursday night people aren't just going because they have to answer to a probation officer or divorce attorney. Most of us in the Thursday night group have hit bottom and are struggling to better ourselves.”

Standing outside the library smoking cigarettes and waiting for the meeting to begin the board game addicts speak in hushed tones amongst themselves. They do their best to ignore library patrons who walk by and cast side long glances. Working mothers see the addicts and yell at their children to "Wait!", as the children run for the library entrance. The moms scurry to catch up, then hold their children under a protective wing and stare intently at the sidewalk as they pass by.

To be fair the board gamers form a rather odd looking group.

Joe has as scar that runs from the bridge of his nose to his right ear. He says that scar is the end result of a late-night, unlicensed, El Grande game.

Hank has the # 1 sword from Samurai Swords protruding from his left eye. The doctors decided it would be more dangerous to remove the sword than to leave it. Hank says it serves as a constant reminder not to mix excessive amounts of Jolt Cola and board games.

John's left arm is in a cast from shoulder to wrist. He broke it making a particularly difficult chess move. This is the third time he has broken it playing chess. The doctor tells him he'll never play chess with that arm again.

Except for the nervous twitch under his right eye Bob looks normal until you talk to him. You then realize that his jaw is wired shut and his teeth are cracked and broken. Bob explains in writing, “I found a couple recipes on the internet for board game salads. They looked pretty good, so I tried them. I have to say that Dame Coldfoot is a much better cook than Joe Gola. Gola’s recipe had way too many dice. It took all of a week to pass those dice, not to mention my teeth.”

The meeting I attended was a real tear jerker. Sherry (not her real name) told how she awoke in the gutter clutching her Scrabble board and hallucinating that her ex-husband was standing over her yelling at her for spending all their money on antique Scrabble boards, again. "How many times do I have to tell you woman? There are no Scrabble games from 1870! It's a scam."

Hank, the man with the sword protruding from his eye, states that he grew up in a gaming household. He confesses that he thought all adults argued over zones-of-control and leading a heart before one had been sluffed. It has only been since the sword accident, which caused him to enter the health care system, that Hank has learned that arguing over who gets the blue tokens was not normal behavior. "In a way this sword saved my life," states Hank, "I would have probably never gotten the help I need to break this addiction. I was playing games constantly, rarely even taking time to bathe."

The meetings last one hour and are always emotional, several of the participants confided to me.

The root cause of board game addiction is not completely understood, but researchers at Rio Grande University have linked board game addiction syndrome (BAS) to a particular gene that is thought responsible for geekiness, although environmental causes are also suspected to play a role.

Professor Tummelson of Rio Grande University says, “Research into this area has only been under way for a few months, we really don’t know much about the condition. There appears to be a genetic component, but only ten percent of the people with goA (the gene thought responsible) will turn into board game addicts.” Tummelson adds, “For comparison, less than 1/10 of one percent of the general population will become addicted to board games.”

When asked what he would warn parents to watch for in children suspected to suffer from BAS Tummelson says, "That's a tough question. I would definitely tell them to watch for a marked disinterest in cleanliness and spending an inordinate amount of time on board game sites such as Gone Gaming and Boardgamegeek."

Although the root cause of board game addiction still isn’t well understood the network of shady suppliers and dealers who feed this addiction are well understood. A Federal official who spoke under the condition of anonymity says, “The majority of the games causing the trouble are brought into this country by ships originating in Europe, primarily Germany. Many of the games are produced in China and brought into Germany in giant containers that are rarely inspected. Once they enter the States they are then resold through internet sites with innocuous sounding names like Funagain and Gamefest."


Anonymous said...

"...rarely even taking time to bathe."

When I got to that line I was laughing so hard I was crying.

I'll have to finish reading it after my tears dry.

Coldfoot said...

You didn't see that one coming?

Gerald McD said...

Great humor.

Are you sure you're working 70 hours a week? You must keep a laptop on the seat (and use it) while you're driving.

Oh, well, keep it coming.

Dame Koldfoot said...

For more great game recipes, like Settler's Pizza, El Grande Pollo Relleno and Knizia's Seven Game Torte, send $20 and a self addressed stamped envelope to Dame Koldfoot Productions. Most proceeds will go to funding research to find a cure for Boardgame Addiction Syndrome. Hurry and your will receive two recipe books for the price of one! This is a limited time offer. ACT NOW and help find a cure for this devastating disease.

Coldfoot said...

So do you have an address or 800 number for the BGA? I've looked in my phone book and there isn't a local chapter.

Anonymous said...

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