Email subscriptions, my enabler and personal growth are the topics of this month's mailbag. Remember, you can have your questions answered in future instances of the mailbag by submitting your questions. No question too big or too small, inane or grandiose. I'll reach to the far corners of the internet and personal experience to provide the answers you desperately seek.

Is there a way to subscribe to the reviews so I get an email when a new one is available? -J. Riddell

There is now!

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Who first got you into board games? -Sarah Verdusco

I've always had a fascination with board games growing up. I remember saving up for a copy of Clue in middle school. I remember designing my own board game about traveling nomads as a school project. But I never considered it a hobby until I was taken to a board game cafe in Korea by a friend. We didn't even have plans to play board games. We just wanted milkshakes! There just happened to be a copy of Blokus next to our table and we decided to give it a shot. He beat me soundly, but I was hooked! When I got home I immediately started researching board games, stumbled upon Board Game Geek and Board Games with Scott. There was no turning back. So thank you, Han-kyu! You were a great friend and you changed my life.

What character development benefits do you see in board games? -EJ Boston

There have been some interesting articles and studies extolling the benefits of board games to mental health recently. And while it's nice to know that my hobby is helping to stave off dementia, it's difficult to see it in action. What I have seen board games contribute to is my own development as a person. I'm not a patient person by nature and board games have often tested what little patience I do have. Whether it's going through rule books or teaching new players, I can easily become frustrated. But patience is a skill and with practice, it can improve. I've still got a long ways to go, but I can definitely see an improvement in myself.

I've also noticed my teaching skills have improved over time. It can be difficult to teach complex systems to new players in a short amount of time. It's a delicate balance between diving into the intricate minutiae and giving a broad overview that leaves players needing more. It requires the aforementioned patience, but most importantly, I've found that empathy is a very important tool for teaching. Trying to put yourself in the shoes of the newcomer and anticipating trouble spots and questions that would arise makes teaching a much smoother experience.