Interview – The Big Game Theory game store Adelaide

One of the team recently made a game purchase online with an Aussie store she’d not dealt with before. We heard the story behind the store and we were so taken with it that we decided to ask them for an interview. That store is Adelaide based The Big Game Theory.

So why did the story interest us? Because the guy who owns The Big Game Theory is 15 and still in high school. Cameron started the store when he was 14 and with the support and help of his dad is hoping to grow his business whilst still studying.

What’s not to love about that? Hard working kid, supportive parent, great stuff. Let’s learn a bit more about these guys and what they’re about.

The Big Game Theory tabletop game store Adelaide Australia - Interview with Gameapalooza Australia

Tell us a bit about how The Big Game Theory started. Where did the idea come from, who had the idea and how did you begin to move on the idea?
Cameron: Well, before we started The Big Game Theory, my friends and I were regular visitors to an Adelaide Café that featured board games on a Friday and Saturday night. After attending these nights for a few months the owner decided to close up and look for alternative premises in the CBD. This left me feeling like there was still a need for a board games venue in the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide and it sparked the idea that I could run a similar event myself.

Mark: Cameron has always preferred group activities and board games have held his fascination from a young age. When he proposed the idea at 14 years old, we were only too happy to try and help him realise his dream, I was amazed at his maturity and vision, I also appreciated the community that board gaming can create, it looked like a wonderful way for him to own his first business. We went out and bought a heap of games and haven’t stopped since.

Where is The Big Game Theory based?
Cameron:
We are based in Adelaide; our monthly game nights host around 50 to 60 people and growing. We have a games library of over 400 games and we sell games locally and nationally via The Big Game Theory online store.

Mark: Our core business is the Gaming nights that are run at our local Community club. We were lucky enough to run the Tabletop venue at AVCON 2015 and have continued to grow steadily month by month. The sales side of things is online at the moment but ultimately destined for a bricks and mortar store.

The Big Game Theory Adelaide game store Australia - Interview with GameapaloozaThe Big Game Theory run some healthy looking events

We take it you are a fan / fans of The Big Bang Theory, if so who is your favourite character and why?
Cameron:
Personally my favourite character is Raj, I feel he adds loads of comedy to the show. I love the way he makes his character socially awkward around others and say’s lines that can be interpreted in multiple ways.

Mark: We’ve actually been lucky enough to be contacted about The Big Game Theory by the shows owners, but that’s a story for another time. I do love the show and favourite character for me would be Sheldon, he can be extremely direct and matter of fact but shows an innocence that can be quite endearing.

What are your hopes for The Big Game Theory game store going forward?
Cameron:
I hope that The Big Game Theory becomes well known for a venue to attend for a great gaming night and great priced products, it would be awesome to hear people on the street talking about a business I own. I also hope that people start to learn that Board Games aren’t just roll the dice and move the pawn around the board. New games are so much more engaging and exciting and I believe everyone should be able to share this experience.

Mark: For Cameron to realise his potential and develop his business to its full potential. I think we are in an amazing time of Board game resurgence and Cameron has the chance to help drive its popularity!

Given your age Cameron, we assume you are studying, what are you studying and do you think you will stay at school or leave in favour of running your own business?
Mark, what do you think about that? 
Cameron:
Yeah, I am currently in Year 11 and doing a large amount of Science and Maths courses. I also study Japanese once a week at the School of Languages. I really want to continue studying, I feel as if it could open up so many opportunities for me in the future. I would like to go to Uni after I finish school but I am not entirely sure what course I would like to undertake.

Mark: I would strongly encourage him to stick it out with his study. He is very capable and has such potential to grow his skills and knowledge with further study that will enable him to build a fantastic business, his way! I’ll keep trying to run things for him in the mean time!

The Big Game Theory tabletop board game store Adelaide - Gameapalooza InterviewThe Big Game Theory pop-up shop

Do you play games together or is this purely a business arrangement?
Cameron:
I try to get everyone to play together at least once week, however it is hard to find the time to play when everyone else has other commitments. My mum and sister are very supportive with our events but tire a bit of the need to constantly play.

Mark: I think that because of the amount of games that we now have, we only get to play each one a couple of times, some not at all. But as a family we do still try and find the time. It is a great way to get off the technology and spend time as a family.

Okay, time to get to possibly the easiest / hardest question. What are your personal top 5 tabletop games and why?
Cameron:
My top five games would have to be, Shadows Over Camelot, Shadow Hunters, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Between two Cities and Times Stories. However there are so many more I wish I could put on this list.

Mark: Light, fun games are my thing .Always up for a game of Ticket to Ride, Colt Express, For Sale, DC Comics Deck – Building and Machi Koro! I’m not very good at games that take a whole lot of planning, strategy or complexity although I do enjoy them.

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 (Scrabble, Monopoly etc.)? 
Cameron:
I like to teach Sushi Go to newcomers as it has fun artwork, easy to understand rules and mechanics. Overall it offers a great experience for people new to modern style board games.

Mark: I probably like to steer people to games like For Sale, Snake Oil, Machi Koro or Roll for it, for me they are all light, fun and easy to teach!

If you could get one major licence made into a board game, what would it be and why? (movie, TV, book, comic, video game).
Cameron:
I am a big fan of the Video Game Smite by Hi-Rez Studios, it is a MOBA style game that could easily be made into a board game similar to Rum & Bones.

Mark: Maybe something like The Matrix, could have some cool elements in it!

Are there any American style (Ameritrash) board games that you think manage the sort of depth that many German-style games offer?  Do you have any in your collection? 
Mark:
We both agree that games like Dead of Winter and Robinson Crusoe would come under Ameritrash but offer an amount of depth and varied mechanics, but we are by no means experts or want to get into an argument over it. Both in our collection.

Have you used Kickstarter to back any tabletop games? What was the last one you backed and received and were you happy with it? Anything you’re waiting on? 
Cameron:
I don’t usually spend too much time looking around on Kickstarter, otherwise this business would probably be bankrupt. There are too many games that just tempt me to spend money on them.

Mark: This is probably more my domain, I have Kickstarted a heap of games, the last one backed, received and was fun was probably Exploding Kittens, have had a few duds and still waiting on about a half dozen, looking forward to Santorini and Tavarua the most!

What is the oldest board game you still own and why?  What older game do you wish you owned?
Cameron:
I bought a vintage 1970’s version of Stratego from a second hand store while on holidays when I was about 12, thought it was the best game and played it to death with my cousin. Still have it and it occasionally gets a run at our events.

Mark: When we started getting into buying games seriously for the business, I bought copies of Hero Quest as it was something I loved as a kid, months later I found out that my nephew still had my fully painted copy that I thought he had got rid of and had kept for about 10 years.

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?
Cameron:
I would have to say that Ghost Stories is usually the one, every time I play it I have so much belief that I can win, only to be destroyed in the first half of the game. I have never won, probably never will.

Mark: Generally, I go into a game prepared to be beaten by Cameron, so have already made my peace with it, no table flipping needed!

You can check out The Big Game Theory at the following places online:
The Big Game Theory Website
The Big Game Theory Store
The Big Game Theory Facebook Page
The Big Game Theory Twitter: @TheBigGameTheory
The Big Game Theory Instagram: @thebiggametheory
The Big Game Theory Boardgamegeek Profile: TheBigGameTheory
Finally, you can email The Big Game Theory at: thebiggametheory@hotmail.com

Well that is a whole lot of places you can catch these guys. We wish them well in their future endeavors and hope you enjoyed this interview.

Til tomorrow… happy gaming!