A couple years ago I realized that my lunch hour didn’t have to consist of eating leftovers inside a cubical. I could spend that hour having fun and experiencing a little piece of life with people I didn’t know that well. This is a story of how relationships where built, friendships were made and tiny race cars made all this possible.
In 2015 I asked a couple guys if they felt like playing a game at lunch. I brought in a copy of Monopoly Deal, one of the few Monopoly games that is not terrible. Picking a game that was quick, easy to teach and portable was important.
My co-workers loved the game, and we began playing almost every day of the work week. People started inviting more co-workers to the table and eventually a couple people had to buy copies of this card game so everyone could play. While Monopoly Deal is a really fun card game, the truth is that we were hungry for fun and friendship in the workplace.
Bigger Than Board Games
Navigating relationships can be a little daunting. You have people who do everything to keep their personal and work lives separate. You have people who struggle in social situations and their cubical is their “safe place”. It can be tough to have relationships at work that are not just surface level. This hobby has the ability break down walls and change the dynamic of the office where we spend most of our week.
Our lunch hour began to evolve past Monopoly Deal after a couple months. We learned to work together in games like Forbidden Island. We stabbed one another in the back with Family Business. We got to see personalities emerge as we played new games week after week. At this point we’ve played tons of filler games with lots of different themes.
This hobby can break down walls and change the dynamic of the office where we spend most of our week.
Eventually my co-workers started bringing in games they found at the store. Taking time to play games can become infectious. It’s become normal to see groups of people gaming in our company cafeteria each day. When a couple people are out of the office for the day, we’ll merge and play games with higher player counts.
A League of Our Own
At the end of the Summer in 2016, I picked up a copy of Formula D from Asmodee. Up to 10 players take the roles of F1 drivers and do everything they can to finish the race without destroying their car. I bought it with the purpose of starting a Formula D Race League that could met during lunch.
We had a couple people commit to play and we tried the game out one day. We knew we had a hit on our hands when it took us almost a week to stop talking about the game!
(Guy enters the elevator)
Co-worker: “What’s in the bag?”
Myself: “A board game. It’s pretty fun.”
Co-worker: “Like Monopoly?”
Myself: “No, it’s a game where grown adults roll dice, move tiny cars around a track and yell at one another.”
This is usually where the co-worker hits the button for the upcoming floor so they can get out of the conversation.
Playing board and card games with co-workers has transformed our workplace and the relationships in our office. We’ve built real relationships that have gone beyond the traditional office chatter about how terrible Mondays are. Since 2015, we’ve had plenty of tough conversations, been there for one another in times of need, and opened up about real life. Some of these relationships have moved outside the office to enjoying game nights and meeting for dinner.
I’ve met so many new people just because they hear from another co-worker that we play games at lunch and they want to jump in. While our culture continues to become more isolated and less friendly, these games give us an open door to invite and invest in people that we may never have taken the time to get to know.
Since I was a little kid, board games have rarely been about the actual game itself. It’s been about the people at the table. Our hobby has the ability to bring people together despite their differences.
While our culture continues to become more isolated and less friendly, these games give us an open door to invite and invest in people…
When you walk through the cafeteria at our office, you’ll notice groups of people playing games, laughing and having a great time. These aren’t just co-workers looking to forget about work for an hour. These are people who are building relationships, sharing a little bit of life, and pushing tiny plastic cars across some cardboard.