New Fire To An Old Passion: Boardgames!

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By Mark Ellis, Cohort 8, Groundswell Build

Each week, a participant in Groundswell’s Build program shares reflections, learnings, and experiences from their journey of building a social venture. See current and past participant posts in the Student Blog.


Just before joining Groundswell, I started reaching out to find my people.

Reconnecting to a passion I pushed aside in recent years has been exhilarating, like a burst of self-discovery. Board games are exploding in popularity. Attending a recent convention in Vancouver really opened my eyes to this, and connecting with other folks who want to design games has been a great journey in just a few short months. I never imagined that the Meetup group I floated hopefully into the ether in September would now be tipping the scales at 200 members, or that I would find collaborators to host design events with so quickly.

Groundswell is helping me to harness this inspiration, and to focus on building an effective enterprise. I really enjoy learning from both the mentors and the cohort, but for research types like me the key is probably the kick up the backside that gets me to implement plans and take action! And there is a lot to be done.

Without play, life would be dull indeed. Yet games can feel indulgent when there is so much glaring inequality. My recent work with the homeless population in Vancouver puts much into perspective. It will be a huge challenge to use the power of games as a force for greater good, and create something sustainable. No doubt I will lose a few games along the way, but as a great sportsman once said, ‘if you’re afraid of losing, then you daren’t win’.