Family time long ago became a victim to the hectic pace of life, from work schedules and myriad activities for the kids to the distractions of electronic devices. Now, with many of us forced not only to slow down but to stay at home, there’s a chance family time might be too much of a good thing.
Stuck in close quarters, many of us spending a considerable amount of time together for the past couple of month might be getting a little testy, especially when it may feel that there is no end in sight.
One way to reduce stress levels while spending quality time together is through playing board games, suggests David Ball, owner of Dragonhill Games in Elmira. Gathering around the table to play a game together is something of an analog throwback during a pause in our digital age.
“We provide a play space for people of all ages, mostly for board games and collectible card games, things like Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, things of that nature, but all of the board games as well,” explained Ball, who opened the business in 2017.
Dragonhill Games specializes in harder-to-find titles, as well as traditional classics like Monopoly. At the store, you will find a large selection of Euro-games such as Ticket to Ride, Catan, Carcassonne as well as many expansion packs. These Euro classics are currently trending, and Ball recommends them for quarantining.
“All of those titles are sort of easy to pick up and can be learned by anyone and are easy to pick up for any age.”
Expansion packs add additional rules, characters and challenges and can also refresh and change the experience of play. However, the most significant title at the moment is Pandemic, which was a popular title before COVID-19, but has recently soared in popularity.
Ball himself grew up in a “board game family,” meaning he grew up with traditional titles and family game nights. He has also been playing the trading card game, Magic: The Gathering for more than 25 years now. The interest in the world of board games always existed within him.
Ball’s board game business began as a side hustle while he was working as a full-time truck driver.
“I had sort of an online business I was buying and reselling collectible cards like Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering for the past 12 years,” he said.
The last position Ball held was with a waste management company, a position from which he was laid off when the region changed contractors.
“I took the opportunity at that time to look at opening my own business, and Elmira just seemed like the perfect place for it,” said Ball, who used the money raised from the online business to open a physical location in downtown Elmira.
Although board games and collectibles may not be considered an essential business, Ball’s shop has been open for curbside pick-up. He can be reached through a message on his Facebook page, Dragonhill Games, or by phone at 519-573-1361. Payment is to be done through remote pay via e-transfer or credit card over the phone. Dragonhill is also offering delivery for local residents.