Letter from the Editor: Above Board

Board games made me what I am. Kind of.

owe what I am to board games. Monopoly made me rich. Risk made me powerful. Scrabble turned me into the most incredible wordsmith ever.

Or maybe not.

But they sure were fun to play. I still remember marathon games of Monopoly with my cousins that would last an entire weekend because we allowed unlimited borrowing from the bank.  I stayed up late many a night playing Risk with roommates in college (should I concentrate my forces in Australia or Kamchatka?).  And my dad and I engaged in numerous games of Scrabble over the years. Practically every game, when it seemed that all allowable space had been used, he would place his remaining “i’’ tile to create the word “ai,’’ which is a species of three-toed sloth found only in Brazil. He had learned that from working crossword puzzles.

Of course, today, ai—or AI—has another meaning altogether. But there’s no artificial intelligence at work when you’re playing a tabletop game. It’s you matching wits with at least one other live person, a truly refreshing concept in this digital age. This month in The Find, we focus on tabletop games with more modern titles than Monopoly—like Mansions of Madness, Captain Sonar and Raise Your Goblets. And you won’t need to borrow from the bank to play: They range in price from $120 all the way down to just 15 bucks.

Need an opponent?  The Cloak and Blaster in Waterford Lakes (cloakandblaster.com) bills itself as a gaming pub and features lots of table games. The Orange County Regional History Center (thehistorycenter.org) stages periodic retro game nights; the next one is November 17. There are several local Meetup gaming groups, including The Thirsty Gamers (meetup.com/thethirstygamers). And to peruse the latest board and card challenges available, check out a new local store, Family Game Night Orlando (fgnorlando.com).

Speaking of fun, we had some with Best of Orlando, staging shots of some winners in front of a wood-cut sign made especially for us by Factur makerspace. It got primped and painted, and finally doused with colorful pixie dust. As for our annual list, we once again feature reader picks in dozens of categories, with stories on selected winners. Elsewhere inside, writer Megan Padilla sizes up two new local blockbuster attractions, Disney’s Pandora-The World of Avatar and Universal’s Volcano Bay. Laura Anders Lee ponders her son’s journey into first grade. And Joseph Hayes tries out two new seafood-based restaurants, Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen and Muddy Waters.

Be sure to mark your calendars: On September 23, we’ll stage the inaugural Orlando magazine Burger Battle, in which local restaurants will be put to the test to determine which has Orlando’s best burger. It’ll be an evening of fun, drinks and, of course, lots of burgers. Go to orlandoburgerbattle.com for details.

BARRY GLENN
barry.glenn@orlandomagazine.com

Categories: Column