Interview with the guys at Presents of Mind – Paddington, Qld

We love our local tabletop game stores, between us we have spent thousands of dollars in bricks and mortar stores both here in Australia as well as the UK and U.S. Needless to say the most important tabletop game stores to us are our local stores and that means Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

We’re hitting up our local tabletop gaming stores for interviews and the first one we contacted was one of our favorite stores “Presents of Mind” in Paddington (Brisbane). They’ve got a great range, friendly staff and for younger gamers they also have a wicked kids section, they’re well worth a trip if you haven’t been.

Please Note: Some of the questions in this interview are the same as in other interviews we’re doing, that’s because we think if it’s a good question, why not. Also interviews may feature more than one person. Now let’s get to it.

Presents of Mind Game Store Brisbane Qld - InterviewPresents of Mind in Paddington, worth a trip.

Presents of Mind Game Store – Interview:

Firstly who are you? If more than one person is going to respond, who are you both… or all?
Tim: Hey! I’m a 24 year old games-obsessed student who started with the store 3 years ago.
Tricia: Hi. I’m the original founder of Presents of Mind, and have been working in it and on it for the last 20 years.

“Presents of Mind” has been open in Paddington since 1996, cast your minds back.. back to that time when the Macarena topped the charts and teens were being slashed to pieces by a man nicknamed Ghostface in a little flick titled Scream. Yes it’s 1996, you’re opening a game store, why?
Tricia: Presents of Mind was actually born out of the sheer frustration of not being able to find suitable, interesting presents for my son. I decided to fill it with all things cerebral, and 20 years later it has evolved into a store for all ages, and is still growing.

Have you always had a similar range, or has it changed over time due to popularity or lack thereof? Have you always stocked German-style games, or has the fairly recent resurgence seen that part of the business grow?
Tim: I joined the team in 2012, which turned out to be perfect timing for a board game fanatic like myself. This analog gaming resurgence that we are currently enjoying kicked into gear during that first year, and since then we have only seen more and more great games hit the market. Euro-style games (especially the Spiel de Jahres winners) like Carcassonne and Catan have been a mainstay of the store almost since its inception, so it was exciting to see them become an even larger part of the Australian market in recent years.

Presents of Mind tabletop game store Brisbane Qld - InterviewLooking for kids games? Try Presents of Mind in Paddington.

Okay, let’s get to what we all want to know and possibly the easiest / hardest question. What are your personal top 5 tabletop games and why?
Tim: Definitely one of the hardest questions to answer, but my top 5 right now look like this:
Android: Netrunner – an LCG that just keeps on giving. Superbly thematic, incredibly balanced and always tense, it can quickly become an obsession but it’s one that I am more than happy to have.
Archipelago – a semi-cooperative, sprawling euro with so many tightly designed mechanics. It has something in it for everyone, from economy-building to hidden agendas to genuinely exciting exploration. It doesn’t hurt that it is one of the most beautiful-looking games either.
Sheriff of Nottingham – because there is no better moment in all of boardgaming than the intense, will-they-or-won’t-they seconds before the Sheriff either snaps your bag open or lets you through. Did they fall for your bluff? Or did all your plans come crashing down? No matter what, it’s just as stressful and fun when it’s your turn to become the inspector.
Splendor – one of the most-played games in my collection, Splendor is so pitch-perfect in all elements of its design. Always different, always exciting, and always VERY sweaty.
Ticket To Ride – I have never, ever played a game of Ticket with someone who hasn’t loved it straight away. Whether they were new to the scene or hardened gamers, it is just as exceptional for everyone.

In your personal opinion, are there any games in particular that lend themselves well to newcomers, that is, people who have never played anything other than perhaps the non German-style games?
Tim: Definitely. For me, it is Ticket To Ride, Skull, and Carcassonne that remain the go-to introduction games for me. It is almost impossible to have anything close to a bad time with any of them, and they provide a great foundation for learning more involved games in the future.

Are there any American style (Ameritrash) board games that you think manage the sort of depth that many German-style games offer?
Tim: I think so. The Game of Thrones boardgame being one of the more recent examples. It is absolutely huge, and drenched in theme, but it works perfectly to scratch both thematic and strategic itches. With this board-gaming renaissance that we are enjoying right now, I think that a lot of designers are crossing elements over from traditional gaming styles and creating some interesting fusions.

Presents of Mind game store Brisbane Australia - InterviewJust some of the games at Presents of Mind

Keeping in with the geographic line of questions, have you played any of the games coming out of Asia that have been repurposed for the english language audience? And have you noticed any stark differences as with those between Ameritrash and German-style.
Tim: I was lucky enough recently to play a few titles from Oink Games’ line; Troll, Deep Sea Adventure and Fake Artist Goes To New York. I think the emphasis on minimalism, in both mechanics and component/graphic design has something that a lot of traditional publishers and designers could learn from. We have a very valuable skill as humans to fill in a lot of blanks when it comes to making our own fun within the framework of a game, and these games definitely let that fact shine.

What is the oldest board game you own and why?
Tim: I think from my collection the oldest game I own (at least as far as time from original publication) would be my copy of Chinatown.

Last question, let’s end on a real downer… Of the new slew of boardgames of the last decade or so, what ones have made you want to throw pieces at the wall or do a table flip and why?
Tim: I don’t necessarily think this is a downer of a question, especially when that frustration can actually be a major part of the game’s appeal. Such as with my pick; Splendor. There has never been more swearing or more tables in danger of serious damage from a game than with Splendor, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Awesome! We’d like to thank Tim and Tricia for their valuable time and taking part in this series. There’s loads of great insight there about not only owning a game store, but also great advice on the games themselves.

You can find Presents of Mind online here.
Or the bricks and mortar store at:
285 Given Tce
Paddington
Qld Australia

Phone: 07 3367 3711
Email: info@presentsofmind.com.au