We love games, that’s why you’re reading this, you wouldn’t take part if you weren’t enjoying yourself and consistently games make people happy. Now as you and I probably know it’s much more than just games. So what is it that floats peoples boats?  In what will be a series arc for several posts, I’m going to talk to a number of people (who know stuff) about what really beeps their jeep about gaming.

So with no further adieu I’m going to hand you over to our first expert a buddy of mine, Darren Quinn.  Mental Health Professional and above all, avid gamer…

“Do what you love, more often. It’s good for your mental health!”

The following is based on my experience both as an amateur boardgamer & a mental health professional.

I work as a counsellor and noticed that a question I often ask is “What makes you happy??”.  I was thinking this week “Darren, What makes you happy & how can it affect mental health??”  The first part was easy – “Board Games”. The second part though took a little more thought and research.

So I thought and researched and this is what I came up with.

Face-face real contact: How nice it is that in this day & age of Selfies, Snapchat & FaceTube that I can sit down in a comfortable, warm space with people and spend a number of hours engaging with something that we all seriously  enjoy.  Rather this than sitting at home alone, isolating oneself, which is a major factor in depression.  The importance of real communication and genuine connection cannot be understated when it comes to one’s mental health.


Reduced risk of mental health issues: Keeping your mind engaged, which you are more likely to do if you enjoy yourself, is a major factor in reducing the risk of cognitive decline (including Alzheimer’s and dementia). The more you engage in such activities the stronger your brain becomes in fighting the risk of such decline. The brain is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it gets.


Stress reduction: The recent spike in interest (and sales) of Adult Colouring Books in this country is generally attributed to the mindful nature of spending time focusing on an activity for a period of time (i.e. getting away from the phone/laptop/tablet). I’m confident that this sense of spending a period of time focusing, forgetting my troubles as it were, when playing games is a huge contributor to the reduction of stress and anxiety in my life. Now, I just need to figure out how to achieve the necessary number of points for victory with just 2 sheep, 3 cattle with 2 turns to go. Also worth mentioning is the correlation between stress reduction and body relaxation, which lowers blood pressure. As a person with a history of high blood pressure in my family, I am fully aware that high blood pressure is associated with greater risk of artery damage, heart disease and stroke.


Goal achieving:  A number of people I encounter have issues with achieving goals. Setting goals and figuring out how best to achieve them is common among most games (e.g.  Get the most points by focus on production & shipping of corn). The more one does this in gaming, the better they become at it. Practice makes perfect right? Cognitively speaking if a person believes they can achieve any goal then they can achieve goals. So if I have achieved a goal in a board game, why not one in life. I truly believe that board gaming increases one’s ability to set and achieve goals, an invaluable life skill.

Problem solving:  Gaming helps us in exercising essential cognitive skills, such as problem solving. Many of the most popular games out there are puzzles (e.g. Pandemic, Five Tribes).  In essence a puzzle is an exercise in problem solving. Again it is my belief that the more problem solving engaged with in gaming, increases my ability to problem solve.

Child Development:   A friends’ child was recently asked by an Occupational Therapist to play a game called Rush Hour. This game comes with a board, cars and a number of cards which simulates a traffic jam. The player needs to figure out how an ice-cream truck gets out of each traffic jam. Essentially this involves the player moving the various cars around the 3-D board so that the ice-cream truck can escape. From this I can see how board games can be helpful in occupational therapy.  I know they certainly helped this little boy, increasing his co-ordination, spatial awareness and motor development. Now he’s moved onto Rampage and is having great fun flicking monsters around.


Feeling Good:  Simply put, the benefit of laughter, togetherness & banter. A player constantly messing up a rule, a bragging player who thinks they’ve won coming unstuck, just simple funny moments that happen during the game and things people say playing them. Laughter increases endorphins (the chemical in the body related to our level of happiness) which makes us feel good. This sense of feeling good fosters an atmosphere of trust, fun and togetherness, which in turn leads to better self-esteem and self-value.

Darren Quinn

So What makes Knavecon Special ? #7


The shops again.

It’s not a Knavecon without The Gathering. The guys from the gathering will be joining us once again for another epic day of gaming.  Hosts of the revered Conclave convention, Master of Magic and Purveyors of all things gaming, the lads will be there front and centre on the day.  (Do Not Going drinking with them)



The Grand Knavecon Raffle is back!


For all of you planning to attend or just happy to support Knavecon I once again give you the Grand Raffle.  for the princely sum of €1 your name will be entered into our draw for a selection of Board Games which will be raffled on the day.  (early supporters will get two entries for their euro up until midnight Friday 28th)

The prize fund will be added to as time progresses and more games will be added to the list and this post updated.  On the Day, a big ticket Item as the grand prize will be purchased from one our shops

So to kick things off Knavecon are Putting up a new, unopened copy of Samurai card game for the Raffle.


Who’s game?


How do we take part?  :   For every € your name will be entered into our raffle.  (you get two tickets until midnight 28th August).  local pay me in person or PM me for paypal details.  (Whiskey, Rifles or Glass beads will not suffice)

Can I buy Multiple tickets? : Absolutely, Tickets go on sale now at €1 each or 8 for €5.  Until the 28th Aug to start this off we will give you double tickets.

When will the Raffle take place? :  At Knavecon, the Raffle will be drawn

Is this at all like a father Ted Raffle? : No, this is honest and fair, no staff members or their relatives will be allowed participate.  Tickets will be drawn on the day

What can I win? : The prize fund will be added to as tickets are sold, since I expect a number of companies to contribute to it, this will be a very good value raffle.

If I can’t make it to Knavecon but want to take part? : Prizes can be posted out to the winners via Parcel Motel or an Post.  P+P costs must be covered by the winner if they cannot collect or have collected on the day.

How will Prizes be allocated ? : Depending on how many games are in the draw, each winner will receive ONE boardgame as a prize for each draw,  e.g. if there are five games in the draw, five winners will be drawn.

Can I win more than once ? : Absolutely, if you’re name is drawn more than once you will receive a prize each time.

What if no-one takes part? : That’s OK, Knavecon will honour it’s undertaking and supply at a minimum set of games and items

SO, get cracking, get your tickets NOW for the event and take advantage of the early double ticket sale before the the con

Watch this space



So What makes Knavecon Special ? #6


The Shops. Again!

Once again we’re welcoming The Comic Value to Knavecon.  In his own words  “I missed one Knavecon and that’s too many”.

If comics are your poison.  You won’t find a better service that Comic Vault. I know a few readers who get comics regularly posted to them by CV and they rave about them.  They also do a nice line in board and card games



So What makes Knavecon Special ? #4

donThe Coffee, the Donuts and the Coffee.

Dungeons and Donuts are once again going to be supplying Donuts for Knavecon, including the now famous and exclusive “Bitter and Twisted” Knavecon donut.  Plus there’s free coffee all day for participants.  Sugar, Fat and Coffee the three important food groups of gaming (four if you include crunchy burnt bits)



The KnaveKids Promise


Knavekids is kicking off on next Sunday, the 19th July for the first time in what I hope will be a regular shadow convention to the regular Knavecon.

After the last Knavecon’s success with the kids corner we’re going to hold a family friendly event aimed at families and children who want take part in something that’s a win win for everyone involved

Boardgames are something that the whole family can enjoy, they’ve come a long way from Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders. The benefits are too numerous to list here.

Wether you’re a veteran gamer or someone who wandered into the event thinking it was a wedding and didn’t leave, you’re going to have a good time, your kids are going to have a good time.  I promise you

Come join us




Who’s Afraid? – eMail Werewolf V is afoot


Calling all werewolf fans, Knavecon is now recruiting for the annual email Werewolf Game.  if you’ve played this game before you will know exactly what it is about.  If you’ve attended Knavecon and took part in Werewolf you’ll know what it’s about too.  This version gets played out by email with the wolves claiming a victim every day (bar weekends where they take a rest).   Voting also happens once a day

Even if you haven’t played werewolf (or any other game) before it’s simple and I guarantee you’ll have a good time.

I’ve secured the masterly skills of the Dread Pirate Joe to once again GM the game.  Game is open to anyone with an email address, So….

Get your email addresses into me and when we have 30+ we will kick off

Who’s game?



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