In the world of gamers, there are many who prefer to play board games, with thousands gathering at tabletop game conventions where they can meet game creators and play role, strategy or card games (to name a few) and watch live demonstrations.
P1 Accounting Clerk Julie Metzler has been demonstrating games for Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) at two large board game conventions each year for 18 years.
The weekend of November 30 through December 2, Julie demonstrated AEG board games with her sister, Sam, at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia.
In August each year, she demonstrates at Gen Con: The Best Four Days in Gaming, which is held in Indianapolis and is the largest tabletop games convention in North America, drawing 65,000 people.
“The conventions are like a mini vacation, I look forward to them and have lots of fun and learn a lot,” she said. “Even though I tend to work a lot while I’m there, I enjoy it because there is so much there that I normally don’t see here in any little board game store. And I get that interaction with all kinds of people who also love board games.”
The game demonstrators are typically volunteers who are “paid” with admission to the conventions. They also often are paid in product – games they can bring home.
Julie brought several Smash Up expansions to donate to the Lenexa office’s Toys for Tots box after PAX Unplugged. The expansions consist of additional factions and can be played on their own, with other expansions and with the original Smash Up.
At PAX Unplugged, Julie demonstrated two games. Her favorite of the two is Cat Lady, a card game that debuted last year and has become a crowd favorite. At PAX Unplugged, AEG sold out of it on the second day. Cat Lady is easy to learn and teach and can be played in under an hour, which makes it fun for Julie to demo. And Cat Lady is also a great example of how games have changed over time.
“The games have evolved to where they are way beyond Risk or most of the generic games we grew up with - you actually get involved. In Cat Lady, you ARE a Cat Lady – gathering cats, feeding them, giving them toys and costumes and the goal is to make sure you feed all your cats by the end of the game or they will run away,” she said.
But away from tabletop games, Julie prefers dogs over cats. Every Saturday morning (unless she is out of town), you can find her walking dogs from the Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter.
“I’ve made some great dog buddies, I’m always glad when one of them is adopted but you get attached, too, that can be hard,” she said.
Keep having fun and doing good, Julie!
Julie believes so strongly in the positive powers of board games that she helped found Games for Troops, Inc., an organization that raises money to purchase and send games to troops stationed overseas. Games for Troops has continuously purchased and shipped games to troops since 2010.
She served as treasurer for the organization for several years and will return to the board in January. “Military people overseas and their friends and families can request a game from a form on our website. We mostly buy board and card games but sometimes have answered requests for computer games,” said Julie.
“We work hard to fulfill all the requests and have found that the best way to do that is to raise money, then buy the games on Amazon and have them shipped.”