The Play Play Fair was held on the last weekend of June at Fusionopolis and it was a colourful celebration of board games in Singapore. Not just the 'little sibling' of the Asian Board Game Festival, the Play Play Fair aimed to highlight the variety of different games in Singapore and to draw attention to the people and stories behind them, as well as to provide a fun and relaxed time for all!
Even though it was the inaugural event, this year's Play Play Fair featured a diverse range of games from all over our sunny island. From social deduction games (Contraband Insider, Good Spirit Games) to games to improve well-being and mental health (What Truly Matters, Happiness Initiative and Discomfort, House of Many Moons) to games to help with financial education (Capital Gains Studio) and coding education (Potato Pirates) and games about tarot and rivers (The Aerie Games), there was something for everyone. There were also delightful family friendly games from Ameba Games, proudly made in Malaysia games showcased by Centlus, an ingenious new deduction game Hitmen Hotel from MooMeeNyu Games, and an exciting trading card game from Of Heaven & Hell Generations. Centerfire Hobbies also showcased their eyecatching miniatures and Salvage Garden demonstrated how you can make board games accessible for less abled players.
The wide scope and varied topics of the games present showed the crowd the versatility of board games as a medium, and how board games not just entertain, but also educate, heal and unite communities. The demo tables were always full, fueled by the never-ending passion and charisma of the game creators.
Besides the ever popular local creator tables, the Play Play Fair also had a number of unique community features that were rolled out for the first time. There was a large area for open gaming where players could sit down and try out games they just bought, or help themselves to games from the Asian Board Game Festival Library, which featured a dizzying array of games from all over Asia. Geekster, a local game store, ran demos of crowd favourite family games in the open gaming area, and nearby board game cafe BG Monsters also dropped by to teach games to folks who needed help. A popular game in the open gaming area that was never left empty was Come Sail Away, the latest release by Saashi and Saashi.
Another feature of Play Play Fair that attracted lots of community interest was the Bazaar. Although board games are amazing, they take up lots of physical space and being able to give your used games a new home allows you to free up room (and some money!) for new games. Community exchanges like the Bazaar at the Play Play Fair help people in the board games community get rid of pre-loved games as well as get them into the homes of folks who are waiting to give them attention. At least a hundred games changed hands over the weekend!
One key feature of game conventions that never fail to build up excitement are tournaments, and Play Play Fair was proud to host two Kopi King tournaments (adults and children) that were generously sponsored by Ya Kun. You've never really played Kopi King until you've played it at breakneck speed with a bunch of strangers vying with you for $88 worth of kopi and teh! You would think the children's Kopi King tournament would be less intense, but you would be very wrong. The highest score of the day, $15, was from a children's qualifying match and the the top adult scores would not have made it into the children's final! The worthy children's tournament winner walked away with $30 in Ya Kun vouchers and an array of Origame games, while all the children got a Go Go Games set for participating.
Speaking of children, we were pleasantly surprised to see the number of children and families who came out for Play Play Fair. Most Origame games are kid friendly, so it was gratifying to see children all around with smiles on their faces. Games are such a great way for families to bond and make memories, and hopefully they remember coming to the very first Play Play Fair in years to come!
As for us, we will definitely remember the first Play Play Fair for a very long time! We had loads of fun and made lots of friends, and can't wait to do it all over again next year. We are forever grateful to all the passionate game creators, game teachers as well as game players who made this event possible. Special thanks also go out to Benjamin Leow and Jonathan Mun for doing a fabulous emcee job, as well all of the tireless game enthusiasts from #laiplayleow. The Singaporean board games scene is growing and evolving, and we hope the Play Play Fair will be a big part of it. Come out and 'play play' with us at the next one!