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9-Mar-2011: Harnessing the Virtual World


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#1 jack208

jack208

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 05:42 PM


Harnessing the virtual world
March 9th, 2011 | Published in Cards and Boards

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are hugely popular, but blogs still have their place.

The Nielsen Company estimates that there are over 156 million blogs, so the blog universe is huge.

I follow and like a number of boardgames and TCG accounts on Twitter and Facebook respectively, but also keep up with a bunch of blogs.

It’s truly a wonderful thing to have virtual conversation with the like-minded (and sometimes detractors) on your favorite topics.

Hiew Chok Sien loves boardgaming, and he’s the author of a home-grown boardgames blog, hiewandboardgames.blogspot.com, as well. He also has a Chinese language blog (hiewchoksien.blogspot.com), which he started late last year.

Starting by curating

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Hiew started blogging about boardgames, all because he wanted to share his game sessions with his friends.

“By the middle of 2007, I had been playing boardgames for about three years, and had accumulated a fair number of photos taken during game sessions.

“A blog seemed like a convenient way to post photos somewhere so that I could share with my friends and also keep record,” said Hiew, who is in his early 30s.

He believes that keeping track of the sessions played – which he calls “keeping record” – is a common trait for hardcore and enthusiastic boardgamers.

“In the beginning, I did write a little bit about my own boardgaming experiences. I had expected the blog to eventually become just an online scrapbook, but it turned out to be quite an enjoyable experience. The blog has now grown to become a bit of a forum for my friends and boardgame fans alike, to discuss everything and anything about boardgames,” he said.

Locking themselves up to game

Hiew started blogging to spread the news about his new hobby.

“I got hooked on boardgames during a work assignment in Taiwan a few years back, where I got to know of a boardgame café called Witch House (www.witchhouse.org). People played plenty of German or Euro-style boardgames there.

“I came back and spread the interest to my colleagues and we sometimes locked ourselves up in an unoccupied office space to play over lunch time,” shared Hiew.

He loves boardgames due to “the intellectual challenge and stimulation” it provides, and the face-to-face interaction with like-minded friends.

His favorite games include Race for the Galaxy (a quick but complex card game about empire-building set in space), Agricola (a game about farming in the Middle Ages), and Through the Ages, a civilization-building game that allows you to reenact the history of mankind in one sitting.

The most important thing

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Hiew does not think his blog is too different from the other blogs.

“It’s pretty much just one gamer sharing his personal journey, impressions of games played, and photos. I try to write in a way that new gamers won’t find difficult to follow. At the same time, I break my game reviews into sections so that the veterans can choose to skip to the conclusion,” he said.

“I don’t really blog all that often, about one or two posts per week. I try to blog only when I have something to say and not because I have to say something,” said Hiew, who spends two to three hours a week blogging, depending on his schedule.

Aside from focusing on his blog, he also makes it a point to contribute to the gaming community at large, by contributing tips and resources to the likes of Boardgamegeek.com.

“I do reference sheets for games that I own or want to play. They started as a handy tool for myself to remember rules details, and they also help me teach games by summarising the game rules in a structured way. So far, I have done about 170 reference sheets,” said Hiew.

They’re available for download at bit.ly/idMiMQ.

Hiew is also a part of local boardgames club, Boardgamecafe.net. He occasionally joins them on their usual Friday night sessions at Old Town Kopitiam in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, to teach and play boardgames.

*CHEE YIH YANG will unbox his copy of Rice Wars, someday. In the meantime, he needs to make sure his own blog gets updated regularly.

E-mail the esoteric gaming nut at yihyang@gmail.com if you have comments, questions, hot gaming news and tips, and trading lists and deck ideas, for both Magic and World of Warcraft.

Follow him on Twitter @arcturus_mengsk

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CK Au - nick: jack208

Hiew's Blog - Interview with an Online Retailer (click here)
The Star - All-a-Board (click here)

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