Demo Man: An Interview With My Favorite Board Game Hobbyist

With over 1,700 games, Van Fujishige is about as serious a hobbyist as you can get in the board gaming community -- and one of my closest friends. Running demos for multiple companies and involved in the local convention scene, he's constantly posting the best information on the best games. And it doesn't hurt that he has impeccable taste.

How long have you been into board gaming? How did you first get into it?

I'm assuming you mean hobby board gaming? My brother was a big influence when I was in middle school, with games like Gammarauders and The Willow Board Game, but I started again in high school with Munchkin and Chez Geek. I went to school across the street from a comic and game store, which helped.

I think the gaming community here is pretty inclusive. There are all types of gamers here from all walks of life, and everyone is accepted.

I know you do demos and also help with the local conventions, both of which sound really fun. How did you get into that?

I asked! I've been demoing for years, for White Wolf, Z-Man, Battlestations, anyone that was looking! I actually started demoing at a local anime convention because I was an MIB (Steve Jackson Games). A local game store asked me to help run the board game section of the game room with them, and now, years later, I'm the Tabletop Gaming Director for that convention.

What do you think is unique or special about the Hawaii board gaming community?

I think the gaming community here is pretty inclusive. There are all types of gamers here from all walks of life, and everyone is accepted. We also have a lot of transient people here due to the military and tech industry, so there are people from all around the country/globe.

What do you think about people who say that board gaming is in a bubble?

If board gaming is in a bubble, that bubble is huge! I think the trend we're seeing in board gaming can only really get bigger. Our hobby is still relatively small in comparison to others, with more people joining every day. I think Kickstarter and crowdfunding are in a bubble, though.

Is there any aspect to the industry that you feel is in need of change?

The industry changes all the time, for better or for worse. I don't know everything that's going on behind the scenes, but I don't think it's headed in the wrong direction.

What do you hope to achieve in the board game community in the next few years?

My goal is really simple, and extremely greedy: to have such a large community that it's easy to find eager players every day of the week! Realistically, I'd like to introduce more people to board gaming and build stronger bonds within the community.

Finally, what are your favorite games?

Carson City, The Pursuit of Happiness, Funny Friends, Anachrony and Tak!

Van is an inspiration to anyone serious in the board gaming community, working directly with board game shops, conventions, and publishers to help introduce people to fun, new games. Follow Van on Instagram.