How I am nurturing, grooming minds with tabletop games —Yeside Osuolale

Yeside Osuolale is a creative mind with a background in Media Communications, a brilliant Tabletop Games Designer, Founder & Creative Lead at Forerunner Games Limited which recently launched the very first board games cafe in the South-West. In this interview with Olaronke Jaiyeola, she speaks on the idea behind her games cafe and purpose it stands to serve. Excerpts:

 

Why analogue games?

I engage the power of non-digital gaming to help build, nurture and sustain meaningful relationships. Much of my work is centered on making learning more fun and interesting to diverse sets of learners, spanning across education, religion, fitness and so on.

 

What led to your interest and development of analogue/fun games?

In a quest to find purpose and also impact the world around me, I stumbled on tabletop games. I have always been a creative person who loves sketching mazes and puzzles for people to solve. My earliest memories were in secondary school when I even had a book dedicated to this until it was stolen (chuckles). In 2019, I had just decided to publish a collection of puzzles for children, when I thought about researching the industry. What I found blew my mind. It’s a billion dollar industry and barely harnessed in our country.

This made me eager to know more about the industry and how to make it thrive here in Nigeria. I did not know I will do this at some point in my life, but I am happy I found this path. I take it with all seriousness, as a “’calling.”

 

Why the deviation from the norm, digital games?

Board gaming is unplugged entertainment. I wanted an avenue where people can come together and spend quality time; playing, learning, sharing and bonding without depending on a mic, device or some voice chat. Tabletop games have the power to do these -bringing even strangers together. They are also perfect conversation starters.

Unlike digital games that have little social and face-to-face contact, analogue games retain the social factor and are so much more satisfying. If there is anything COVID-19 taught us, it is that human connection is very important. Another thing is that every board game has a different feel to it, unlike in digital games where one is stuck to a controller or mouse pad (needless to say that extended periods starring at a screen is bad for the sight and brain).

 

What benefits are derivable from your invention?

It is a healthy form of entertainment. It relieves stress and releases happy hormones, which has been proven to increase one’s lifespan. Analog Games Café is also an avenue to grow a community of gamers, where more games can be played, developed and enjoyed.

 

Which age bracket are the games meant for?

As I like to say, there is no age limit for tabletop gaming; everyone should as a matter of necessity include it in their weekly and monthly schedule because of their endless benefits. For our games café, analogue, it is open to people from ages 8 and above.

 

What economic value does it intend to serve the nation?

Forerunner Games is a tabletop games-designing and publishing organisation committed to the overall wellness of individuals and families; enlightening them about the many benefits (health, mental, social) of Tabletop Gaming. We serve as a development, marketing, and monetisation channel for the tabletop gaming industry in Nigeria and as such, contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through employment, publishing, sales and export of these games.

 

Describe the games you have in the cafe and explain how it can help solve a problem? What problem do your games solve?

The shelves of the café are stocked with both classic and modern games by Nigerians and other independent game designers around the world.

Forerunner Games tag line, Beyond Play, captures it excellently! Our games make learning easier. The games help develop moral values in players; they provoke higher level strategic thinking, build up essential cognitive skills, such as decision making, logical thinking and problem solving. Social skills like team work, effective communication, waiting your turn and others, are also not left out.

 

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