Ruth Boyack

Today we are featuring Ruth Boyack from The Five By, a podcast where 5 contributors each spend 5 minutes discussing a game they are excited about.  Ruth was born and raised just outside of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. She moved to the US in 2000. She first discovered hobby board gaming in 2010 while killing time on the internet, avoiding her pharmacy school coursework. She is an organizer of a small Summer convention called RUTHcon, a licensed pharmacist, and owner of too many games. She is quite active in her local board gaming community and is joining us from Durham, NC as a first time Granite Game Summit attendee.




  • She got her first tattoo at age 15 using a special ink designed to degrade & disappear within 5-7 years. It didn’t.
  • The only time Ruth suffered a broken bone was when a goose bit her shoulder & broke her collarbone.
  • She is freaked out by moths - no idea why, and she thinks they’re beautiful in images, but do NOT let one near her.

Questions by Kimberly Bullock (KB), answers by Ruth Boyack (RB).



KB: How did The Five By come to be?

RB: One of our producers, Mike or Mason, could probably expound on this more, but I was approached by Mike Risley towards the end of last year and asked if I’d ever considered podcasting. They were aiming to start a new podcast focused on keeping things short and to the point, with the concept being 5 contributors each taking 5 minutes to discuss a game they were excited about. And for some reason my name had come up as someone they wanted involved.

I then proceeded to keep poor Mike waiting while I swithered back and forth but eventually I asked for the Slack channel invite and found myself suddenly part of an incredibly smart, funny, and welcoming bunch of people. And I figured that these were the type of people I wanted to tell me about games, and so if they needed a 5th, then why not join them?

KB: Were there points leading up to your launch that made you nervous, or were more stressful than you anticipated?

RB: I was absolutely terrified every second of every minute as we approached our February 1st launch date. I’d appeared briefly on a few podcast episodes in the past but those were rounding out a group discussion, not taking centre stage for a segment. I have always tended to get panicked and terrified at anything that put me in people’s attention, up to and including teaching games. However, over the previous few months I had been teaching more games and making myself speak up in groups, and so agreeing to do the podcast was partly a way to keep safely forcing myself to confront those fears and anxieties.

KB: How has The Five By been received so far within the community? 

RB: The response has been overwhelming, & far beyond our wildest dreams. Our first episode had over 700 downloads which blew us all away & had us double-checking that nobody involved in the project had just downloaded the damn thing over & over to inflate the numbers.

It’s been tremendously encouraging to have people tell us they like what we do & that they’ve sought out games based on our reviews. We were hoping to share the games we love & highlight older games that deserve to have the dust brushed off, & so far, we appear to be succeeding. Oh, & Mason wants me to stress that, so far, no one has died from listening. As far as we know.



KB: Was there a particular moment or game that really got you hooked within the hobby?

RB: I’d been gaming at home with my not-so-interested boyfriend for a while, but the thing that really hooked me was attending my first ever gaming event, meeting some local gamers, & discovering a ton of new games. It was a 24-hour charity gaming marathon held at a local store, and honestly if I hadn’t been signed up and thus committed, I’d probably have chickened out. Since I now use all of my vacation time on gaming events, & am clearly heading north for G2S, I’m very glad that I discovered how much fun & how fulfilling gaming-focused events can be.

KB: Do you have a go-to game? One that frequently travels with you and hits the table?

RB: Not really. I’m very much an omnigamer and my tastes & moods vary wildly, so what I grab tends to be event or group specific. That being said, I do have some easily-transported, super quick games that I tend to throw in a pocket or in a bag when headed out - things like Red7, The Game (specifically Beth Sobel’s beautiful reskin), or Patchwork. It’s also extremely unlikely for me to attend any gaming event without a Feld game in tow, often Notre Dame or In the Year of the Dragon.

KB: What are you most looking forward to doing/playing at Granite Game Summit?

RB: Meeting Bill Corey Jr. & playing an epic game of Eclipse has to be right up there in terms of things I’m looking forward to.

Personal Twitter    @roooof
Instagram    ruthcon_nc

Podcast Website
Podcast Twitter    @FiveByGames