If you’ve found your way to this page, we assume you’ve read the short introduction on the front page and want to know a bit more about us and our website. If you would like to know more about modern boardgames first, we’ve written a very short beginners guide, to help explain what’s new and different about them.
About the GOATS
The group was started by two Stanford-in-the-Vale villagers, one who had a large collection of games and nobody to play them with, while the other had only a few games, but frequented Didcot Games Club. After discussing it over the summer, and putting up some posters, the first meeting of boardGOATS was held on Tuesday 2nd October 2012, at the village pub. There were six people on that first night and the first game we played was Jamaica.
Less than a year later, one of our stalwart locals was unable to come due to work commitments and then a fire led to the abrupt closure of the pub, so it looked like the end of our fledgling game group before we’d really started. We had always said that we wanted to remain in public premises in the village so that we were local and nobody had “ownership” of the group. We also wanted to avoid the administration associated with a membership/location fee especially as with such a small group we felt it would have the potential for becoming a bit of a millstone. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a replacement location that ticked all the boxes, so we continued in private houses in the village for the next year. Unable to grow, we effectively became a small meeting of friends with a website.
Happily, rumours that the pub was going to close permanently were unfounded and the Horse and Jockey reopened in March 2014 with our first meeting in the refitted dining room the following month. Since then, we’ve acquired a few more members and held out-reach sessions at The Mix in Wantage. We’ve also been mentioned in some of the local advertising magazines, in particular Round and About and there have been adverts on JACKfm and interviews on Radio Oxford too which have helped to raise our profile locally. The group is slowly growing in number, and there are now typically between eight and twelve people at games nights. The Horse and Jockey is a great place to meet and we are very pleased that they continue to support the group giving us space to play without charge. The food is excellent (especially the pizzas and chips) and many of us now meet early and have supper there before playing. So, if you arrive before we’ve finished, look out for the orange Sainsbury’s bags of games and keep in mind that other than that we may look like people “just eating”!
Covid-19 and Meeting Online
In March 2020, Covid-19 struck the UK. Like all many other groups, boardGOATS was left with the choice of meeting online or not meeting at all. We decided that it is at times of stress that people need social contact more than ever, and board games are a great medium for that. So, despite the limitations of “remote gaming”, we felt that staying in touch was the most important thing, so we persisted with online meetings until August 2021 when we returned to our beloved Horse and Jockey.
About the Website
The website was originally conceived as calling-card that spawned posts to FaceBook and Twitter. The idea was that people could follow us on the social media sites and it would help remind them that there was a meeting coming up. For this reason, we decided to advertise a “Feature Game” which would ideally be eye-catching and help draw people to the group. Rather than a boring list of potential meetings, the website then naturally developed into a record of what we had played. We hoped this would help potential new members to see the type of games we enjoy playing and maybe encourage people to come along and join us.
In January 2013, board games made it onto BBC Breakfast news inspiring us to write an article titled “Boardgames in the News”. Over the next couple of months, this was followed by other newsworthy items including a succession of Monopoly stories and a report on Radio 4. Over the course of the next year, we continued to add occasional news articles covering material of this sort and a year later began an occasional series of articles on games and gaming and how they are reported in the media. These were so successful that our online following expanded way beyond those who actually attend. As a result, in addition to our FaceBook and Twitter pages, we also now have tumblr. and RSS feeds.
About the Write-ups
The write-ups usually include a brief summary of the game and a little bit about what happened. The length of the write-ups varies and usually depends on how much time we have and how many games were played and by whom. Importantly, the run-down of game play is not intended to be sufficient to play the game, it is intended to be just enough for someone unfamiliar with the game to be able to make sense of the write up and remind the rest of us how it worked!
The use of colours instead of names is to protect players’ anonymity – some people prefer to remain anonymous online, and we want to respect that. So, rather than using pseudonyms in the first write-ups, the colour people used became their “name” for the rest of the night. This was OK, but in some games players don’t have a “colour”. Also, some players generally stick to the same colours, so it was confusing when the colours occasionally switched, especially when people ended up playing more than one colour in an evening. Eventually, colours sort-of stuck to certain regular players and a list of who’s who is available for members of the group.
Some of the pictures used to illustrate this site were taken by the authors or members of the group, the rest are linked from the original source, mostly boardgamegeek.com (BGG). As such, although we make an effort to use images in the correct context, they are not illustrations of what happened and are really only there to break up the text and make it easier and more pleasant to read.
Although we are a not-for-profit organisation, some years ago, it came to our attention that some people may not like their images to be used in this fashion. As a result, we now ask permission in advance and include a specific attribution. We have also attempted to obtain retrospective permission for images that we’ve used in the past, but this has been a big job, so if something has been overlooked, we apologise. A list of BGG users and other sources who have kindly agreed to support our website in this way (and any conditions associated with our use of their images) is included below.
- Capitaine Grappin
- Club Amatent
- da pyrate§
- Lord Warlock§
- The Carmen
- William Hunt
- Altema Games
- Board Game Point of View
- The League of Nonsensical Gamers
- Znad Planszy
† New images on a case-by-case basis
‡ Selected images only
§ Notification requested for new posts