Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Today is a day to reflect on what you're thankful for, so I wanted to take the time and share our thanks. 2016 has been a heck of a year for us and there's a lot to share, so try to stick with me!

The year started out with what was a life-changing experience for both Rob and I - Extra Life United. The national tournament for Extra Life gave us a chance to see how big an impact our fundraising can have. We met families from across North America who needed the services of Children's Miracle Network hospitals. It was a tearful, joyful few days. We also met fellow Extra Lifers and left with dozens of new friends.
The Extra Life United Gang

After ELU was the Chits & Bits Game Marathon- our big event for the year. It was a huge success, mostly due to the hard work of our team. We raised over $20,000 for The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, and had a great time doing it. Over a hundred prizes were given away, and tons of games were played over the 24 hour marathon. Our team continues to do amazing things, and Rob and I are both so thankful for all their hard work.

Our thank you video gives a good overview of our past.

Just a few short weeks after the marathon, was my departure for the Appalachian Trail. It was another life-changing experience for me. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, and while it didn't end the way I hoped, it taught me a lot about myself. The support that I received from friends, family and strangers gave me a lot of strength.

When I returned from the trail, it was to the welcoming arms of my friends and family, which made the transition back to "normal" life much easier. I was able to find work from the generosity of Brenden and Chris Hill at Crossroad Games, and then started a new career with the UPS Store, which I'm very thankful for. Rob and I got right back into the swing of things, starting this blog, and new events like Brews & Board Games.

We just returned from BGGCon, which was a great experience, and promises to bring some new opportunities for us in the future. We played a ton of games, and made some great connections with some potential new sponsors.

We have some irons in the fire still for this year, including our Chits & Bits Christmas Party. We hope that you'll come celebrate with us on December 14th at Sebago Brewing Company. The details are in the Facebook event here.

This year has brought many changes to my life, and for that I'm thankful. Gaming and Extra Life has enriched my life and I want to thank you for being part of it. I'm thankful for Michelle; for Rob and Mike, who are the driving force behind Chits & Bits; for Kate and Meaghan, our incredible reps from BBCH; for Stephanie, Michael, and the rest of the ELU crew; Dave B, Brenden, Chris and the rest of my friends at Crossroad Games. I'm thankful for my Mom and stepfather John, who have always been there when I needed them. I'm thankful for every single person reading this, for the support you've given us, and continue to give. I look forward to 2017 and what the future will bring.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

BGGCon in review

The Con has come to a close and here we sit on our return flight. We'll get back to Maine at around 11:30pm and both of us have to work tomorrow. But all in all it was well worth it.

We were both first timers at BGGCon. I'd heard good things but honestly wasn't sure what to expect. Having been to GenCon a few times, I was curious to see how it compared. Numbers-wise BGG is much smaller, approximately 3,100 attendees as opposed to Gen Con'a 60,000+. This is a good difference, Gen Con is a frenetic experience with so much to see and crowds to fight through. BGG Con rarely felt like I had to fight through the crowds. Because of this, we were able to spend some quality time with some designers and vendors and really get to learn from them.

Another key difference is that at BGGCon, we played a TON of games. They have a huge lending library so we were able to try a number of things that we had heard about but hadn't had a chance to buy. I'd say at least half the time we were at the con, we were gaming.

Another wonderful thing happened at BGGCon- because of the size and intimacy of the event, and our ability to talk to people, we have potentially scored some really great new sponsors for the Chits & Bits marathon. I'm not going to jinx anything but we may have some big things coming down the pike as we get closer to next year's event.

Thanks again to our our hosts Michael Oliver and his family. It was exceedingly generous of them to put us up for the week. Extra Life has made us some great friends around the country and Michael is definitely one of them.

If you love hobby gaming, BGGCon is the one you need to attend. Get tickets if you can and maybe we'll see you there next year!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's been a while

Yes, it's been a while, I know. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of your best intentions. I've had a number of balls in the air over the past few months, and one of them that got dropped was this blog. I haven't had much time to write, or rather I haven't made much time to write, but that is changing. I'll be updating more frequently, now that some things have settled down

So what's new, you ask? Well right now, Rob and I are sitting on a plane headed for BGGCon in Dallas (Board Game Geek for the uninitiated). It's our reward for the hours we put in for the Chits & Bits Game Marathon. This will be four days of crazy gaming and spending time with friends from across the country.

Waiting for our flight.

Speaking of Extra Life, the national game day has come and gone, and by all accounts was a huge success. We made the trek up to Bangor, Maine to support our friends at Flip the Table for their marathon, since they were great enough to support ours. We had a blast, and they were very successful- raising over $10,000 for Eastern Maine Healthcare. A lot of friends from all over also held events, I wish we could have gone to them all. All in all, Extra Life has now raised over $8,000,000 this year for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across North America. It feels exceptional to be part of such an amazing cause. And the year's not over yet.

We haven't had much time to play games, that pesky life thing again, but we did make it the Granite Game Summit in NH last month and that was also a great event. It is a new event, so it was great to see it do so well.

Since I'm typing this on my dying phone and my thumb is cramping up, I'll sign off for now. More soon I promise.