Brooklynites are rolling the dice on a new pastime.
In Williasmburg, new, elaborate board- and card-games for grown-ups, briefly thought to have gone the way of the dodo, are proliferating like money in the coffers of a Monopoly player who owns all the utilities. A diehard gamer says that the new diversions owe their renewed popularity to widespread internet fatigue.
“People are looking for more ways to spend time face to face with friends and family,” said Luis Chato, co-owner of Twenty Sided Store, a tabletop gaming store on Grand Street at Marcy Avenue. “Tabletop gaming is a great way to not be on your computer for another five hours once you get home.”
More and more borough nerds are ditching the video-game controllers in favor of tabletop games such as Settlers of Catan, Cards Against Humanity, and Ticket To Ride. These games are no Christmas-time diversion with family. Think Dungeons and Dragons, not Clue. And now the owners of Twenty Sided Store have decided to make the craze official with a series of board-game leagues. The shop launched the leagues a few weeks back, including one for the perennially popular Settlers of Catan, a German game called “Settlers” by enthusiasts, in which each player attempts to build a civilization from scratch, vying with others to convert limited resources into infrastructure.
Twenty Sided Store’s game nights regularly attract dozens of board-game junkies.
“I started playing as a kid and never really stopped playing — I just ran out of people to play with,” said Michael Park, a member of the shop’s Settlers league. “It is nice to have my board-gaming friends. We are all pretty nerdy people.”
A co-creator of a game based on “Moby-Dick” echoed the notion that even geeks are sick of being glued to their phones and other electronic devices.
“There is a resurgence in the homespun and the tactile and things that have physical presence,” said Tavit Geudelekian.
Geudelekian and his co-designers at King Post Studios, also in Williamsburg, spent a year and a half designing Moby Dick, a board game taken whole cloth from the Herman Melville novel. The game allows players to take shots at the great whale and try with all their might to kill it. But the joke is on them. No one ever gets to kill the creature. The players, who all represent sailors, die off one by one. The last one standing wins.
“The last survivor gets the right to say ‘You can call me Ishmael,’ ” said Geudelekian. “You can never actually kill Moby Dick, because that would break the fiction.”
King Post is now working on a second board game modeled after a work of classic fiction, but Geudelekian said he is not yet ready to announce which one.
Despite its growing popularity, tabletop gaming is still a niche market.
“If I walked down a crowded street in Brooklyn and asked 100 people if they liked Settlers of Catan, only one or two people would know what I was talking about,” said Chato. “But the mass appeal is growing.”