Today we are featuring Jess Davis who is also known as Boardgame Girl. Jess has been playing games since she was a young child. Her family loved Bingo, which may contribute to her propensity to yell out board games! at a moment’s notice, and playing card games like 31.In fact, her aunts and uncles were borderline compulsive gamblers, betting nickels on their hands of 31 almost every single night. The kids rarely joined in but Jess took to it at a young age, at first helping her father out with his hand and then playing her own when her aunts and uncles soon realized she had a knack for it and could banter and tease as loudly as the rest of them without taking it personally. She also played a mean game of Sorry (Not Sorry). To this day, press your luck and social interaction are her favorite game mechanics.With her upbringing, it is no wonder she took to the growing board game hobby easily. Her friends started playing cooperative tabletop games like Dead of Winter, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Imperial Assault a little over 5 years ago. But really it was her first convention, PAX East, that brought her to the realization that the gaming industry was her passion and cons felt like her home away from home. She joined board gaming social media circles as Boardgame_girl and started documenting her continuous game plays while poking fun at herself and her constant excitement for the hobby. Running away with the Boardgame Circus, as it were, she attended GenCon with Artana for the 50th anniversary event and joined their ranks as Director of Marketing and Sales soon after. Now she is developing games for Artana, entering the boardgame podcast arena to offer an inside view of the industry she loves, and is soon to be offering video playthroughs on her YouTube channel with special industry guests joining in on the fun.
THREE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT JESS:
- Pretty much everywhere I go, I end up with a good story to tell. Since difficulties and wrong turns lead to the best of them, I am really calm in stressful situations and just make the best of them in the most enthusiastic fashion possible. Truly, you’ll see my eyes light up at the unexpected. Needless to say, I would be a blast to have around in the zombie apocalypse. Zombies! The most recent example would be an attempted felony I *almost* committed with MaggiBot in Canada last month while my pal Julie of Greenbriar Games and Daryl Andrews, that 50% of Sagrada designer guy, looked on. It was an accident, we swear! Also, there were Timbits, those Tim Horton’s donut holes. Ask me about it sometime. I may say Timbits wrong. Or is it Timbots? Actually, they should be TimTims. *Squirrel!* Anyway, everything has the potential to be a great adventure!
- I collect things: video game systems dating back to my Atari 2600, comics, Harry Potter wizarding items, journals (I have so many that I couldn’t possibly write in them all in my lifetime), board games!, and people. I pick up friends wherever I go and tend to stay in touch, remember birthdays and anniversaries, and offer to help whenever or wherever needed. As a result, I’ve attended more moving and house painting parties than the average Jane and have some mad skills in both regards. Tetris and taping skills for the win! I’ve planned numerous wedding showers and baby showers and most life event parties with over the top themes and coordinating drink menus as well. So I feel like I could have several back-up careers with copious experience listed upon interviewing. Not that I’d ever stop reviewing, developing, and publishing games. Do what you love!
- I am highly excitable which may be apparent from my social media feeds. I find life and people and everyday things amazing. I mean, SpaceX just launched Falcon Heavy into space and landed two flanking boosters in perfect synchronized formation! I went to Cape Canaveral just to see it because THAT.IS.AMAZING! And I’ll get just as excited about touring a new city, meeting new people, or learning a new board game. I often get asked by people I’ve just met if I am always so excitable. Yes, yes I am. Now let’s go caffeinate and eat some sugar and geek out about all the great games coming out this year. Board games!
Questions by Kimberly Revia (KR), and answers by Jess Davis (JD).
THREE BOARD GAME MEDIA RELATED QUESTIONS:
KR: What inspired you to start reviewing games?
JD: I fell in love with this hobby after playing some co-op campaigns of Dead of Winter, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Imperial Assault with two of my best friends. Then I attended PAX East which is in my backyard. I had been to multiple Comic Cons but attending a gaming convention showed me an even closer knit con community than I had known before. I knew I had found my passion. I love the people; the gamers, the designers, the artists, the publishers, and the reviewers. Everyone works together and helps each other. Board gaming cons illustrate that to the highest degree. It’s a big travelling board game circus! I always wanted to run away with the circus. And this one has board games! There is nothing I would rather do.
KR: What forms of media do you find the most successful for reaching people in the hobby?
JD: Instagamers are amazing for their snapshots of games in progress and support of each other in all facets of gaming. I started there and those people took me in and cemented my love of the hobby. Twitter is an ongoing boardgame conversation that is equal parts comedy, cutting edge news, and real-time assistance with anything from rules questions to what should I buy to supporting people in the hobby exactly when they need it. I love it for its immediate impact and instant comradery. Facebook highlights games in development, announcements, and brings me new websites and content creators to follow. I mostly utilize the board game groups on Facebook to see what everyone is up to and hear feedback on games. Last but certainly not least, BoardGameGeek offers the cutting edge game news and blogs that I’ve followed since the beginning. I’ve met some amazing gamers on there and they, of course, put on an amazing gaming convention, BGG Con. It is always the highlight of my year. That said, this is my first year at Granite Games Summit so we’ll see!
KR: How do you delegate your time for content creation?
JD: That isn’t easy. There are so many outlets to update. And moving into the podcast realm and into video in the near future leaves little time for other things. I have made a commitment to prioritize gaming because that is what brought me to this passion and that is what will allow me to continue to put out well informed content. I am also developing games now for Artana in addition to bringing their games to the market so life gets busy! Luckily, it is all I want to do and I get to do it wherever I feel like hanging out that day. I can visit friends like Board gamer Steph, All the Meeples of the Rainbow on BGG, who also works from home for Renegade Games. Or I can hang out at my favorite local game store, Battleground Games in Saugus, MA, to work and play games there. I can even travel and work by the pool or at a coffee shop since there are gamers everywhere! That makes all the time involved much more enjoyable since I really love the social part of this hobby more than anything else.
THREE QUESTIONS JUST FOR FUN:
KR: If you could play only one game for an entire year, what game would you choose?
JD: I could play Caverna ad infinitum. Or would it be Viticulture with Tuscany EE? Oh, Twilight Imperium 4 would take an entire day so that is just 365 plays. But then there is Sidereal Confluence which has the copious social interaction that I love! How about Mega Civ?! Wait. Wait. Would all the Martin Wallace games count as “one game” and I could just alternate through those? I think I’d split into a million pieces if forced to choose. But those are some front runners.
KR: What is your perfect game night beverage choice?
JD: What time of the day? It varies since I tend to game all day and night. I love savoring a single Scotch neat but rarely drink and game. So it would likely be a soy latte or cranberry juice. I am rarely without caffeine and cranberry juice is what I drink when travelling which is what I am always doing for cons.
KR: What is your favorite thing about attending board game conventions?
JD: My family! I mean, the people. The people in this industry have become my chosen family. I adore them and miss them when we’re not conning. Winter break is especially brutal but we’ll be back at the con circuit soon…. Thank goodness I can stalk, I mean follow them on social media in between conventions.
You can find out more about Jess and what she is up to by following the links below!