Game-A-Thon: An Annual Board Game Celebration

The holidays mean a lot for many people. Most commonly, they’re a chance to celebrate family and friends and rekindle those relationships. No two families or groups of friends do it quite the same way, and here at Couch Bandits, we celebrate the holidays with games (surprise!). This tradition of ours began in college. We only got so much time to see each other during breaks and holidays that it became important to make the most of it. Thus, Game-A-Thon was born.

Game-A-Thon is a two-part annual marathon of board games and pizza. Part 1 takes place just after Thanksgiving, and Part 2 is right after Christmas. In its own way, Game-A-Thon has become its own holiday for us. It’s an event we look forward to the entire year.

Each iteration of Game-A-Thon has seen it evolve and grow in some capacity. Game-A-Thon started as a way to revisit those summer weekends during high school, going over to a friend’s house and playing games to an ungodly hour while stuffing our faces with energy drinks, pizza, and chips.

Early Game-A-Thons saw a few video games, but as it continued, we decided to move toward board and card games. I’m not sure why we made that decision; maybe it let us be more social with one another while playing instead of having our eyes glued to the screen.

Like other holidays, certain traditions became cemented through happy accidents. Any good party requires pizza, and the first Game-A-Thon was no different.

Four of us made the pilgrimage to Jake’s house around noon and were waiting for a fifth friend for much longer than expected. Eventually, a sheet pizza was ordered for dinner. Our friend then texted us, saying he had fallen asleep and was on his way over. The pizza arrived, and there was much rejoicing and more pizza than we could comfortably eat.

Not even three minutes later, the door bell rang again. We knew it was our other friend, but one of us made the stupid joke, “Look, it’s probably the pizza guy again with even more pizza.” Our friend Craig walked in the door with a pizza as a lateness apology. Not only that, but he had it in one of those heat-storing sleeves the pizza deliverers use. EVEN MORE PIZZA.

That sparked the tradition of having more pizza each Game-A-Thon, culminating in last year’s masterpiece: Everyone bringing a pizza. You were not allowed to come to Game-A-Thon without a pizza. Part 2 became even more specific, with each of us having to bring a pie from a different chain or local shop. It was one of our most proud ideas.

Of course, as important as the pizzas are, it’s called GAME-A-Thon, not Pizz-A-Thon. Every year sees games new and old brought to the mix. Card games, board games, bizarre Twilight: New Moon: The Movie Board Games that really-aren’t-fun-but-we-don’t-know-where-it-came-from-since-none-of-us-watched-Twilight-and-it-was-just-a-poorly-made-game-that-we-found-hilarious-at-3-am are all featured.

We even found a game we thought was the perfect embodiment of Game-A-Thon: a pizza board game. New York Slice is now infamous. The construction and design of the game is top-notch. The box opens like a pizza box. The instructions are designed like a menu. The score sheet is like a receipt.

Too bad it was a disaster to play. Maybe it was the fact we played this around 4 in the morning, or that we lit a candle scented like a pizza that made noxious fumes when mixed with our night of pizza-farts, or maybe the game is just subpar. We don’t know, since we haven’t touched it since. But it must return.

Courtesy of Dimanche on Board Game Geek.

So, why am I making this post? Well, partly to share one of the reasons games are important to us: They are an excuse for us all to get together and eat ungodly amounts of pizza. Partly, it is to encourage you to share your own fun game night stories and traditions or start your own if you don’t already.

Even more importantly, though, it is to give context to a big announcement: this year’s Game-A-Thons will be live streamed! Join us Saturday, November 24 starting around 2pm EST on our Twitch channel.

We’ll be streaming all kinds of board games all day long and well into the night. The Thanksgiving event will also be serving as a practice run for the bigger and better post-Christmas stream, which we’ll be hosting as a fundraising stream with all proceeds going to Extra Life!

More information for the fundraising page will be posted soon, as well as a more precise date and time for that stream.

The Extra Life logo

We are very excited to bring Game-A-Thon to you all, and we hope you’ll join us!

If you have any fun board game celebrations you’d like to share, please do so! We’d love to hear from you.

Curious about our favorite board games? Check some out here:

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