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How Family Got Me Into Gaming

Our mission at Foxtrot Games is to publish beautiful and approachable games. Here’s what we mean by that.

Our mission at Foxtrot Games is to publish beautiful and approachable games. By approachable, I mean games that are easy to learn and quick to play. Games have always been a part of my life, and I thank my family for introducing me to games at a young age. Our emphasis on approach-ability comes from my background of playing games with family.

Ticket to RideBut when I talk about family games, I do not mean games intended for children that adults can tolerate. (I have learned over the years that this is how many people in the industry interpret the term family game.) Even as a child, I never experienced gaming as simply a child’s activity. I have many memories of my parents playing games with their friends. When we went on trips with extended family, my dad and my aunt and my grandparents played card games. I’m sure my parents humored me by playing children’s games (like Hungry Hungry Hippos) with me, “playing down” to games at my level.

But the real joy for me was “playing up,” getting to play grown-up games at the grown-ups’ table.

Playing Cards

We played games all year long, but every Christmas my mom made a big deal about getting us a new game that we would all play together as a family on Christmas Day. These included many of classic games like MonopolyLife, and Yahtzee, but also some modern mainstream games as they came out. We played backgammon, chess, and dominoes. When I went away to college, it was only natural to find other people who played games. I learned about Axis & Allies in college, and I also discovered the early Project Gipf games. The first time I brought my Backgammonfuture wife home to meet my parents, we taught her Clue. (Crazy story: we let her go first, and she won on the very first turn!)

In a family setting, approachable games provide a great atmosphere for family members from multiple generations to interact in a fun, non-threatening way on equal footing. But these games work well in other settings inside the hobby. Some call them filler games because these games work to fill time between meatier games. Others call them gateway games because these games work to introduce new people to gaming. It’s been quite a joy to hear from people who love our games in each of these different settings: with families, as fillers with regular gaming groups, and with people who don’t normally play games.

Catan: Cities and Knights

Did your family get you into gaming? If so, what is one of your favorite memories of family gaming? If not, what did get you into gaming?

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Thanks for this, Randy. Resonates with me well. One of my missions right now for my personal collection is to increase the number of games that my kids can play that are interesting for all. I just feel so bad when they want to play something simplistic like Trouble! or Operation and it’s all I can do to hide my utter boredom. I’m loving the increasing number of games like yours that don’t want to “appease” parents but want to *include* everyone. It was a great joy to me the other day to have my 6-year-old ask if we could play Flash Point: Fire Rescue. I’m really enjoying the board game Renaissance we’re living in (and creating!)

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