Meet The Clouders – Board game Special

06.07.2023 | 5 min read

Meet The Clouders – Board Games Special

Welcome to our ‘Meet The Clouders’ series. Today, we’ll be talking to Igor Kwiatkowski, our Mid Python Developer and Rafał Fąk, our JavaScript Developer. Together, they started the 10Clouds board games club - which meets regularly to play and explore a wide variety of games.

Igor and Rafał are passionate about creating a fun and engaging atmosphere where team members can unwind, socialize, and foster strong bonds beyond their daily work routines.

During our conversation, we delved into their favorite board games, the benefits of board gaming for team building, and why these in person meet ups are a great antidote to our increasingly digital world. So, grab a seat, roll the dice, and let’s dive in.

You both work as developers which means that the vast majority of your working day is spent online. What do board games offer that digital socializing doesn’t?

Igor: The friendly competition. Being surprised by a coworker's strong move, and trying to cobble up a response is something you don't usually get on online calls. On the other side of the coin, it’s your job to get in their head, anticipate what they are thinking, and then enjoy the look on their face when they realize you got them figured out. Also, the jokes made at the table and the friendly trash talk are quite different from other types of socializing.

Rafał: Perhaps it's stating the obvious, but I believe that the most significant aspect that board games offer, which digital socializing cannot replicate, is the direct interaction with another person. A more specific example that comes to mind is the concept of 'table talk,' which essentially refers to negotiation among players that happens beyond the game itself. This phenomenon is based on interpersonal skills and it is much more dynamic when we are all sitting around the same table compared to when we communicate through some online messenger.

What are your favorite board games and why?

Igor: My recent favorite is the 18XX family of games: a series of quite involved economical simulations of the 19th century railroad industry. They model both the stock market and individual company operations, and the systems interact in complex ways. This allows for some out-of-the-box thinking, and the game outcomes are very unpredictable, even without any “truly” random elements like die rolls or card draws. I wouldn’t really recommend them for newcomers, though.

Rafał: I don't have a specific favorite board game. I enjoy playing a variety of games. Instead, I can tell you about the elements that I find interesting in games. I like games that involve resource management or games with space planning, where the game board plays a significant role. I also enjoy deck-building mechanics. I value games that are 'easy to play, hard to master,' where the rules are not overly complex, but the depth of gameplay is substantial.

I think the game needs to be suitable for the occasion. Sometimes, a social game that sparks laughter rather than intense strategic thinking is a better choice for a fun evening with friends.

However, if I were to mention some titles that hold good memories for me, I would mention: "Scythe", "Terraforming Mars" and "Lords of Waterdeep".

What skills do you think you can develop while playing?

Igor: Board games require planning, but there are other players trying to anticipate and interrupt your plans. You can practice both long-term strategy, and adapting to the changing environment. You need to stay agile! Some games also encourage negotiating, making deals, or straight out bluffing. Sometimes you can squeeze out a win even if technically your moves were not the best, but you managed to talk the others into handing you the victory.

Rafał: Some games that involve managing resources can help you develop the skill of planning actions to optimize profit. Games with higher player interaction and greater randomness can enhance skills related to risk management and the ability to adapt to unfavorable circumstances. There are also games that emphasize negotiation or auction mechanics, which can improve interpersonal skills.

Board games provide opportunities to develop strategic thinking, decision-making abilities, problem-solving skills, and effective communication with other players.

The club was a grassroots initiative at 10Clouds. Can you tell us a bit more about the company culture?

Igor: When playing board games I play to win, but it's always in good spirit. I will always support a new player learning the game, and I might even suggest a good move to my opponent against my interest. This aligns well with the 10C vibes: we always give it our best, but stay chill and support each other.

Rafał: I see that among the employees of our company, there are many individuals who are open to trying new things and have diverse interests.

I think that 10Clouds creates a good work environment that encourages growth, while also emphasizing teamwork, mutual support, and strong integration among people.

What advice would you give to anyone just starting out with board games?

Igor: Try looking for a board game cafe or a meet up in your area. Usually they are very welcoming, and you get to know both new people, and new games. If you’re blessed with some friends willing to give it a shot, that’s great. Remember that if you become the main person providing games for your group, you don’t have to go overboard with spending. This huge and expensive game with dozens of plastic miniatures that caught your eye is not necessarily more fun than a small card game you can get for the price of a nice lunch.

Rafał: The world of board games has seen significant growth in recent years, and the number of games available is impressive. Therefore, my advice to someone new to this hobby would be to explore various types of games and remain open to discovering new ones.

Thank you Igor and Rafał.

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