Sun, 1 October 2023
Please join us on the Boardgames To Go discord server where you can chat online with other podcast listeners.
If you entered the hobby as I did pre-2000, you didn't have BGG, podcasts, YouTube, or even a good way to buy games online. You often didn't have English rules in the box for what games you had in your small collection. But what you did have is The Game Cabinet. This was probably the very first boardgame website that ever existed. It was created by Silicon Valley boardgamer Ken Tidwell, who was at the leading edge of the hobby and the Internet. Thanks to Ken's website we had our first access to game reviews, letters columns, information about where to buy games, and online versions of Mike Siggins' famous boardgame zine, Sumo (fullname Sumo's Karaoke Club). I cannot properly convey how important and influential this website was to those of us getting started. Although it was a website, it was presented as an online magazine with numerous "issues" as it was periodically updated with a batch of fresh content. Its last issue was published in 2000. But it's still online! Go visit it at gamecabinet.com.
As an oldtimer myself, I've wanted to get Ken on my podcast for many years. Finally I managed to do it. I was delighted and surprised to have Ken tell the story of The Game Cabinet...but it turned out not to be a story stuck in the past. We definitely spend a good chunk of time talking about those early days, but when Ken disappeared online over two decades ago he didn't stop playing games. Not only that, he maintained his fascination with the leading edge of creativity in game design. In a nutshell, he's no curmudgeon like me! He's still got an enormous collection, goes to conventions, plays lots of games, is fascinated with the innovations of the Tokyo Game Market...and even Kickstarter. He's on a number of Discord servers and stays plugged in. He's even up on the indie RPG world that I keep hearing about, too.