Every year, it seems like people's attention spans are getting shorter. Nowadays, it's difficult for many to sit and pay attention to a video that spans about 10 minutes long at minimum. Rainalyn Medina had this in mind when creating her organization, 1 Minute Board Games. 1 Minute Board Games sets out to teach people how to play certain board games with one minute long videos on TikTok. Today, the Global Spotlight talks with Rainalyn about all things board games, collecting, and togetherness.
What made you first start posting board game videos?
During the Summer of 2020 I downloaded TikTok to pass time during the pandemic. I saw a video of someone’s board game collection and realized that, besides that one, I had never seen board game content on TikTok. I thought it would be a fun passion project so I filmed and posted my first 1 minute tutorial on Five Tribes.
When and why did you start collecting board games?
I got into hobby board gaming through my partner, Phil. He has been collecting board games for well over a decade and had a collection of roughly 100 games when we met. When we started dating he introduced me to tabletop games and I fell in love with them. Over time I started to develop my own taste in board games, so I started to purchase some to add to our collection. Now we have way too many!
What’s your earliest memory of playing a board game?
My earliest memories are from when I was around 4. I played a lot of chess with my grandpa. Have you seen The Queen’s Gambit? It was nothing like that. I’m still really bad at any chess-adjacent games. But I’m grateful for the time spent with my grandpa and it fostered a love for strategy games early on.
Did you think you’d gain an online following as big as you have now when you first started creating board game content?
Absolutely not, and it still doesn’t really register to this day. I’ve been recognized in public a couple of times and I have friends of friends who follow my page. I’m really grateful that, board game content aside, people like and relate to me as a person. I think that’s a large part of the reason 1 Minute Board Games has gotten as big as it is.
People like to joke that games like UNO ruin friendships. What games do you think have the same “friendship ruining” effect as UNO?
Hands down, Ticket to Ride. Players have routes in their hand and are trying to connect 2 different cities to each other to score points. Sometimes there’s only one track available to complete your route, so when another player blocks that there’s no coming back. I actually haven’t played a game of Ticket to Ride since that last happened to me. It was brutal!
Why are board games so important to you?
Board games are important to me because they’re a way to spend time with and connect with your friends while exercising your brain. I’ve always loved learning and problem solving and a lot of the games I love really make you think and work for the victory. It’s a lot of fun to figure out what the best and worst strategies are in a board game.
Have you ever thought of creating your own games?
I’ve definitely thought about it, but I don’t think I ever will. I’m too much of a perfectionist so if I don’t do something right the first time I’m really hard on myself. I’m also impatient, so I would want my first design out of the gates to be this heavy, convoluted, elegant game. I wouldn’t be willing to go through the growing pains of designing a subpar game.
What do you hope your content does for viewers?
The goal of my content is to grasp people’s attention for long enough to get them interested in searching more information about a game. I love learning about new games, but I also have ADD and am unable to sit through even a 7 minute video of a game. However I do know enough about games and my taste where if someone gave me a 1 minute rundown, I know if I want to learn more about it.
I hope my content encourages people to play a board game. What I love about TikTok is the insane ability for virality. I have several videos that have millions of views and it’s likely many those viewers didn’t even know these types of games existed. Knowing that I was able to introduce at least one person to the hobby board gaming space means so much to me.
Lastly and importantly, I hope my content provides representation for viewers. I’m confident I would’ve been involved in the tabletop community a lot earlier if I had someone who looked like me to look to, but back then the top creators on YouTube were all middle-aged white cis men. I hope any women or young people or Asian people can see themselves in me and see that this hobby is truly for everyone.
In what ways can playing board games help bring people closer together?
The first board game convention I went to I was sitting at a table learning a game called Wingspan. A man walks up to me and asks if him and his friend can join. He also volunteers to teach me the game since he had a few plays under his belt. While he’s teaching another man walks by and asks if we have room for another player. Before you know it I’m sitting at the table with 3 strangers playing this amazing game we’re all excited to play. After the game (which I narrowly lost) we all went our separate ways and I never saw them again.
I’m sorry that was an anecdote instead of a direct answer, but I think about that moment a lot. We were from different cultures and generations but were able to share this amazing experience together. I hope that in sharing tables and eventually becoming friends with people from different backgrounds -- especially those from the BIMPOC and LGBTQ+ communities -- we’re able to learn from and how to support them.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT. WE LOOK FORWARD TO BRINGING YOU THE VOICE OF MORE INSPIRING ARTISTS AND CHANGEMAKERS IN 2022.