The man with 1,300 games ... all above boardBy Rob Preece
FOR many, they are synonymous with family rows and squabbles, but board games provide the highlight of the week for Yorkshire man Jon Power.
And Mr Power, 42, from York, has plenty to choose from â€“ he has collected more than 1,300 games, each requiring different strategies. In just 10 years, he has spent more than Â£10,000 on board games â€“ the price of five nights in a hotel on Mayfair for an unlucky Monopoly player.
Now many more people have caught the bug, and players flock from across the north of England to attend regular gaming sessions in York.
Mr Power, who works in insurance, said: "I have well over 1,300 items in my collection. Out of that, there are a few extension games, but I must have getting on for 1,000 totally different board games.
"If I was collecting records or books, I could read or listen to them on my own. But if you want to play a board game, you have to get people around to play it.
"Of all my collection, I've probably only played about 40 per cent of the games. There are always new games coming out."
Mr Power, a bachelor, said he began collecting 10 years ago after he became bored of playing computer games.
He said: "I started buying board games but, at first, I couldn't find anything I really liked. They were either roll-and-move games like Monopoly or they had lots of rules I couldn't get my head around.
"It was 1996 or 1997 when some friends of mine asked me to come over and play a game they had ordered, called Settlers of Catan. It completely changed my life."
Mr Power believes that, to find games which promote co-operation and avoid family arguments, shoppers should look to an unlikely source â€“ Germany.
American companies are translating German-made games for English speakers, and the adaptations are proving a hit on tables across Britain.
Mr Power said: "The games are designed to have lots of player interaction.
"They are very competitive, but they are very positive and constructive.
"You aren't attacking other people and you don't get eliminated from the game. Compare that to Monopoly.
"Monopoly takes hours and hours to play. Once you've been around the board a few times and the properties are all gone, there's nothing to do.
"Generally, if you ask anyone who has played Monopoly whether it has ever ended up in a fight, more often than not people say it has."
Mr Power is so hooked on 'Eurogames', as German games are known by enthusiasts, that he makes annual excursions to try new products on the market.
But instead of taking a trip to Marylebone Station or advancing to Pall Mall, he joins 1,500 other fans in Essen, Germany, each year for a four-day games festival.
Some of the games in Mr Power's collection have a Yorkshire connection. Rosenk'nig, for example, allows players to relive the War of the Roses in their living room.
And players of the railway-themed game Stephenson's Rocket can visit locations including Leeds and York on their travels across the board.
In 2005, Mr Power set up the board game group Beyond Monopoly! so that more players could meet and get involved.
The group meets at the Railway Institute, in Queen Street, York, on the first and third Saturday of each month.
Mr Power said: "We had 12 or 13 people at the first meeting, but at the last meeting we had 38.
"We've got a big collection of games, and it's a very positive and constructive hobby.
"People come in and bring their children. They come and play one game and that's it â€“ they're hooked.
"A lot of the games we play can be very quick, perhaps lasting half an hour or an hour."
For more information about Beyond Monopoly! and collecting board games, visit www.boardgamegeek.com and http://bmyork.pbwiki.com/
Last Updated: 10 April 2007http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleID=2691072&SectionID=55
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