Reflecting on Extra Life with Brian Moats

In 2011, I lost my mother, and as I approached the first anniversary of her passing, I discovered Extra Life. Extra Life is a charity that raises funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals around the nation. I joined Extra Life as a way of remembering my mother and doing some good in her name.

-Brian Moats, speaking of why he joined Extra Life

I have enjoyed getting to know Brian and the work he is doing for Extra Life. We recently corresponded on Extra Life via Email. Enjoy!

TheCharityBoardgamer: Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into the gaming hobby?

Brian: I have been involved in gaming since about 1990 when I first played a Nintendo Entertainment System. I was always drawn to their stories, visuals, and the different mechanics they used. I was particularly drawn to platformers and roleplay games. This passion led me to pursue degrees in computer science, mathematics, and business with the hope of one day starting my own game development company. Currently, I am a software engineer working on a NASA contract.

In 2011, I lost my mother, and as I approached the first anniversary of her passing, I discovered Extra Life. Extra Life is a charity that raises funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals around the nation. I joined Extra Life as a way of remembering my mother and doing some good in her name. I created my team WVGamers along with a number of close friends who knew her. Every year we get together, play games, and do good for our community.

Around 2016, I discovered modern board games at a new friendly local game shop (FLGS) opened nearby; I had played a few such as Dungeon and Arkham Horror prior to this. This FLGS has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people who have taught me about so many wonderful games and have joined me on this Extra Life journey to help children and their families in need.

Someone has been playing too much Mega Man 2.

TheCharityBoardgamer: What has been a go-to game you have been playing a lot lately?

Brian: Honestly, I play 10-15 different games a month, but if I were to pick a couple games that are constant go-to games, I would say Ticket to Ride, Mystic Vale, and Splendor.

TheCharityBoardgamer: Any designer that you have great respect for or a publisher that you have enjoyed?

Brian: That is a tough question; I have great respect for all of those designers who have breathed life into these games we all love. The ideas for these games started as spark in their imagination, and they had the burning passion to take a risk and give these games form.

If I had to pick a couple publishers I constantly follow, that would probably be AEG, Smirk and Laughter/Dagger, and Stronghold Games. That said, there are so many smaller publishers make amazing games that may be easy to overlook. Swordcrafters by Adam’s Apple Games is one game I found so unique and led me to really enjoying their other titles. Kobold’s Ate My Babies introduced me to 9th Level Games and all of the other amazing games they have released and continue to release. Ambyria by Paw Warrior Games, Aetherium/Front Lines No Komrades by Anvil 8 Games, Fire in the Library by Weird Giraffe Games…ok…As I said, it is really hard to actually settle on a few because there are so many amazing gems hidden away in the ocean of games.

TheCharityBoardgamer: Tell me about Extra Life.

Brian: Extra Life, as I mentioned earlier, is a charity that raises funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It does so in a marathon style where gamers will spend typically 24 hours straight gaming for the cause while asking for donation support from family and friends. There is no “right” way to handle these. Some Extra Lifers do 24 hour twitch streams, where people will tune in to see what games they are playing; others host centralized events to the public, where they have a schedule of games people can come and play as they wish during the 24 hour period. 24 hours may seem like too much to some; you are free to split the event across weekends or even event months. It is all about the spirit of the cause.

When you sign up, you have the opportunity to select which hospital you will be supporting, which means your donations stay local and support families you may know.

Our Extra Life team, WVGamers, host various events throughout the year to keep Extra Life in the mind of those in the community with the hopes that more people will get involved. We offer free gaming opportunities, raffles, bake sales, and other creative fundraising tactics.

TheCharityBoardgamer: Why is Extra Life important to you?

Brian: I wish I had a deep touching story of how the Children’s Hospital helped me personal or someone I knew. In all honesty, it started as a positive distraction to help with a hard time in my life after losing my mother and as a way to send positive karma into the universe. Over the years as I got to know the hospital representatives and others passionate about the charity, I really grew attached to it and wanted to do more each year. Each year, over 3 million children find themselves needing the aid of children’s hospital and many spend a lot of time there. I love the idea that the donations I raise goes to helping a local child. The donations are used to help make the child’s time spent at the hospital enjoyable through movie/game stations, cameras for families to check in on their children in the NICU after they have to return to work, and even to educate the children and families about whatever illness the child may be battling.

TheCharityBoardgamer: What is a way that we can help with the Extra Life?

Brian: There are a lot of ways individuals can help. Those with a gaming passion can sign up and seek donations from their community; there is always a need for more people with fresh ideas to get involved.

Those who don’t wish to sign up themselves, tell your friends and family about Extra Life; the more people who know about this wonderful charity, the more opportunities we have to help our community.

Finally, donate. Every dollar helps. You can do one-time payments or even setup re-occurring payments of whatever value; I hear a lot of people like to setup re-occurring donations for a few dollars a month because that adds up over the year and easily money they won’t even notice is gone.

Brian and Amanda rocking the game demos.

TheCharityBoardgamer: Where can we go to find more information about Extra Life?

Brian: The best place to learn more about Extra Life is their website: https://www.extra-life.org/. You can get information about the charity, how to join, and search for people you may know who are supporting the cause.

TheCharityBoardgamer: What were some things from 2019 that you enjoyed? What did you learn?

Brian: Our team is amazing. When I started, I had 1 person signed up for WVGamers and 10 fellow gamers. In 2019, I had over 30 people on the WVGamers team and most of them contributed in some way. Our core planning team consisted of about 6-9 people. They had wonderful ideas on how to get more people signed up across the state, new fundraising ideas (geek penny wars, t-shirt sales, local geek celebrities), and were typically self-driven. It was great knowing there was a supportive team that was always there helping out and took the pressure off my girlfriend and my shoulders.

I think there is a balance that we are trying to find between how many events we can successfully host. We hosted three major events, a couple dozen smaller events, and were all over the state throughout the year for various conventions. While it was great, it also put a strain on a few members of the team; so, I need to be more sensitive to these situations in future years.

Brian has gone mad, and I think he likes it…

TheCharityBoardgamer: What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Brian: On a team level, I want to surpass $9,000 raised again (partly because I want to use the OVER 9,000 meme from Dragonball Z), and I would love to draw in 3-5 more active members of the team to help attend a few of the events around the state that are just a little out of most of our teams’ range. I want to keep driving the fact that we are a team…no, a family, and everyone is equally important. I want to spend a little more time, as a captain, focusing on individual’s strengths and interests to help them find new ways to better themselves and push forward with their own ideas for the betterment of our teams ideals and the amazing cause we support.

If you would like to donate towards Brian and his campaign for Extra Life, click here.

Reflecting on Extra Life with Amanda Jones

Over the years we still honor her, but we have greatly grown our cause as our friends have children of their own that have spent time at our local CMN Hospital… Seeing what impact the funds through Extra Life have done for children at my local CMN Hospital really helps.

-Amanda Lynn Jones, talking about Extra Life

We have had the pleasure of working with Amanda with Extra Life and the following interview was done over email.

The Charity Boardgamer: Amanda, can you tell us about yourself and how you got into the gaming hobby?

Amanda: Hello, I’m Amanda Jones.  A couple things about myself: I love softball and anything Virginia Tech. I’m originally from VA, go Hokies!  I’ve always like board games growing up. My first game I ever remember playing was Pretty Pretty Princess. 

I just recently got back into the hobby a little over 3 years ago when my local game store opened at the mall, Four Horsemen Comics & Gaming.  Now we have about 550 base games, and if you include expansions, we have over 750!  We have a bit of an addiction, gotta have them all. 

The Charity Boardgamer: What has been a go-to game you have been playing a lot lately?

Amanda: Oh man, my go to game, hmmm…. Ticket to Ride gets to the table a lot but also Mystic Vale.  Both are completely different games but oh so much fun to play.


The Charity Boardgamer: Any designer that you have great respect for or a publisher that you have enjoyed?

Amanda: I have followed Rather Dashing Games since the very beginning of the company.  One of the founders was on a tv show that I just loved Ghost Hunters and when he left the show I quickly became a fan of their games.  They have some simple games and then some dungeon crawl type games.  They are a lot of fun.I also really love Looney Labs.  I learned about them a few years ago through Extra Life.  They were one of the sponsors one year and I was able to get a couple of their games through it.  The games that I have played of theirs are a lot of fun.  My recent addition, Fluxx Marvel, is so much fun especially when the Groot card comes out. 


The Charity Boardgamer: Tell us about Extra Life.

Amanda: Sorry this is going to be a long answer. Extra Life began in 2008 in Orange, TX.    There was a little girl by the name of Victoria who is the reason behind the charity.  Unfortunately, she ended up passing away from cancer, but her legacy lives on through this organization.  You can learn more about her here.

Extra Life typically sets aside one day a year and holds a 24-hour (or 25 hours if it falls on daylight savings) event.  The best thing, you don’t have to do it that day or even for the full time.  You can even break it up and do two 12 hour days or four 6 hour days.  My team typically does an event once a quarter at our local game store and then does a big 24 hour event to wrap up the year on the nationally recognized game day.  

In 2010, Extra Life joined forces with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and has grown through this partnership.  100% of the donations raised goes directly to the CMN Hospital that you sign up for.  In West Virginia our state only has one CMN recognized hospital, WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital which is located in Morgantown. Last year, I was able to raise personally over $1,500 dollars for my local CMN Hospital, and as a state we raised nearly $40,000 through the Extra Life program with about 383 registered participants.

Extra Life is similar to like hoops for heart or jump for heart. You sign up and say you are going to raise money through the program and then you ask your friends and family for donations, and companies may even sponsor you.  Then you just game to raise money.  You can play video games, role playing games and board games. Heck, you can even play Quidditch.  Whatever you classify as gaming, you can do it.  If you want to play baseball to raise money, go for it!  

Amanda went mad with Tower of Madness. All Hail Cthulhu!

The Charity Boardgamer: Why is charity/organization important to you?

Amanda: In all honesty, I got started nine years ago with my boyfriend as a way to honor the passing of his mother the previous year.  The first year we participated it fell during the month she was killed and we needed the distraction and wanted something to honor her that she also enjoyed.  She use to play Wii bowling a lot with Brian and I early on in our relationship.  She was a beast with it.  Brian registered that year and has participated the past nine years.  I finally jumped on the bandwagon and signed up two years later, and we have continued signing up each year.

Over the years we still honor her, but we have greatly grown our cause as our friends have children of their own that have spent time at our local CMN Hospital.  Thankfully it was nothing serious, just precautionary stuff.  Seeing what impact the funds through Extra Life have done for children at my local CMN Hospital really helps. 

One year the money went to NICU cameras and the families were given login information so when they unfortunately had to go back to work they could login and see their kids.  Another year they did a sorta Redbox that they kids can scan their hospital bands and check out video games or movies to enjoy.  The next few years the funds will be going to an education tv system that the kids can use to learn about their illnesses, since more often they are missing out on school so this is a way they can work on their education.  This will be a new system that will go along with the new tower that is currently in construction for the hospital.  It will house over 140 rooms. 

The cool thing about our CMN Hospital is a window that oversees our local Division 1 college football stadium for the WVU Mountaineers.  With this new tower, they are trying to create a mountaineer locker room on the top floor so kids can feel like they are in a locker room.  That will be a nice addition to the children’s hospital. Also, each hospital has a guild that represents that particular hospital.  Since West Virginia only has one registered CMN Hospital, our guild is WVU Children’s Extra Life Guild. 

The guild is structured with a leadership team that consists of our hospital representatives, a president (which I am currently holding for our state, setting up meetings for the entire state, a kickoff meeting to bring all Extra Lifers together to come up with goals for the year and be the face for the hospital with local companies and businesses), a vice president (that typically reaches out to local conventions in and around the state to set up appearances) and a secretary position (takes minutes for our meetings as well as being our book-keeper of conventions attended and what not).  The guild helps give information to the rest of the registered members in the state so they know what is being done with the hospital and sort of the in-between person if something comes up and needs help throughout the year.

The Charity Boardgamer: What is a way that we can help with the charity/organization?

Amanda: One way is to personally sign up at extra-life.org.  Even if you don’t raise anything, signing gets you emails with updates about what’s going on with the program and your local CMN Hospital.  Donating is always good.  Every little bit helps!  Spread the word about Extra Life.  When one person hears about it they tell others, and it will grow and impact more people.

The Charity Boardgamer: Where can we go to find more information about Extra Life?

Amanda: You can go onto www.extra-life.org to learn more about the program and to register.  Each hospital has their own Extra Life guild as well. West Virginia, only has one hospital so our state only has one guild, so check out WVU Children’s Extra Life on Facebook. 

You can see some of these crazy people April 25th at The Four Horsemen raising money for Extra Life.

 
The Charity Boardgamer: What were some things from 2019 that you enjoyed? What did you learn?

Amanda: Oh man something that I enjoyed from 2019, hmm, I really enjoyed going to larger conventions. I was able to attend Origins 2019 in Columbus, OH and PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, PA through a board game organization I am a part of Double Exposure Envoy.  I got to demonstrate games from publishers for the convention attendees and it was so much fun presenting a game one after another to people that were genuinely interested in the game(s).  Through this, I was also able to talk about Extra Life with a number of companies that had never heard of it or have but did’t really know what all it actually was.  It was nice seeing the ins and outs of larger conventions.  It gave me ideas to help grow some of the events that my Extra Life team does throughout the year as well.


The Charity Boardgamer: What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Amanda: This year my personal goal is to raise $1,500 for Extra Life and I’m hoping that our state as a whole can meet or surpass our total from last year which was just shy of $40,000!  I’d also really like to attend Extra Life United which is a gaming convention for Extra Lifers to try and raise money for their local children’s hospital.  It also falls during the CMN Hospital week, where they gather the “Champions” of CMN Hospitals and do lectures on what impact CMN has been doing the past year and how it has grown.  It looks like it is a lot of fun.  Here is to hoping at least.

After this interview, Amanda was given the chance to go to Extra Life United. She will be representing all the children affected by WVU Medicine from April 7th-9th, raising money #forthekids! You also can donate to her 2020 campaign by clicking here.

Real Women of Gaming: Talking about Three Events that are Making a Difference

Margot holding Baby Groot at You’re Not Alone

“Several of us are bullying and suicide survivors. We still face bullies as adults. Suicide is the second leading cause of death from 10 to 34. That is unacceptable and we want to do what we can to help in anyway possible.”

Margot Shenton, speaking about You’re Not Alone

I had the pleasure of speaking with Margot of Real Women of Gaming in January of 2020.

The Charity Boardgamer: Margot, thank you so much for meeting with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.

Margot: Thanks for having me. My husband introduced me to a few YouTube videos about some extra nerdy board games and we both fell in love with the idea of playing Betrayal at House on the Hill. It was out of print at the time but I watched for it and once it was out again got it for him for his birthday. I can’t even count the amount of times we’ve played it. 

The Charity Boardgamer: Did you do many board games when you were younger?

Margot: Honestly I have Complex PTSD so I don’t remember. I assume I played the typical board games that children do. I remember my father teaching me Chess and I think I owned Candy Land. 

The Charity Boardgamer: What have been some that you have enjoyed a lot lately? Any publisher or designer that is a go-to?

Margot: After Pax Unplugged in Philadelphia we have a plethora of new games. Recently I’ve greatly enjoyed Fire in the Library by Weird Giraffe Games and Crazier Eights: One Thousand & One Nights by James Gray. I don’t typically focus on the publishers or designers, at least not previously. I would gravitate towards games that captured my interest. However that has changed, if I love one I am sure I will love more. Oh, also Danger The Game by Origami Whale Games. Great party game. 

The Charity Boardgamer: Love Fire in the Library.

Margot: Amazing game, amazing designer. I got to meet Carla she is wonderful and I adore her. 

The Charity Boardgamer: Tell us about Real Women of Gaming. What brought this into fruition and what are some of the things that the organization does?

Margot: In 2013 I was surfing Facebook and looking for a page that I could interact with that represented gamer women like myself. At the time I was over 30, married and talking about a family. All the pages that I came across were hyper sexualized ‘girls’ OR a cacophony of men saying that there were no such thing as a gamer girl, only fake gamer girls existed. So I grabbed a couple of my friends and we started a page called Real Women of Gaming, to destroy Fake Gamer Girls. It kind of spiraled from there. We never planned to be more than a Facebook page but then we started a website with articles. Then YouTube, why not streaming, how about charity events too? So we tried it all!

Cosplayers making a difference for a good cause.

The Charity Boardgamer: That is what I wanted to talk with you about today: Charity. You have three major events coming up and we would love to hear more about them in detail. 

Margot: I love talking about our Charity events. Our first of the year is Be Someone’s Superhero. Planned for February 29th this year. Our team spends 12 hours relay streaming video games. Each streamer plays for about 2 hours before handing off to the next streamer and so on. I will be spending the day in Uncanny! Comics at the King of Prussia Mall (Largest Mall in the Country) in Pennsylvania for 11 hours with some cosplayers and talking to people who come in to raise funds there. This event is to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia via Extra Life. 

All set up for Be Someone’s Superhero at Uncanny! in King of Prussia Mall

The Charity Boardgamer: What is Extra Life for those who may not know about it?

Margot: Extra Life is an amazing foundation that partners gamers with hospitals to put all those hours of sheer dedication and streaming to good by helping them raise money. They have an amazing website that does almost everything for you. All you have to do is sign up and promote it. They take all the donations online via paypal, credit cards, etc. 100% goes to the hospital of your choosing. Since most of us live around here we chose CHOP. We’ve been doing this for over 5 years, have raised thousand. Won several Gold Medals (for raising over 1k in a year) and even won an award last year for being one of the Top 30 teams to raise money. 

Margot: CHOP is special to me because I have a 5 year old daughter and if anything happens to her there is a center right down the street. Also, we got to learn that all of our donations go to helping the kids while they are in the hospital. 7 weeks old or 17 years, the hospital is a hard place to be. Our donations help them with tablets, toys, gaming consoles, movies, actives, whatever the kids need to continue to be kids while in the hospital.

The Charity Boardgamer: Any video game that you are eager to play for the charity?

Margot: I won’t be playing video games for Be Someone’s Superhero. I get to explain what we are doing and Extra Life for 11 hours in a mall to pick up some extra donations. However, I am excited to watch them play Jackbox that night and see if we hit our goal. We have extra incentives this year beyond giving away games and such online. I think if we hit goal I have to eat hot sauce or a spider. I can’t remember. 

The Charity Boardgamer: A spider?!? That sounds amazing! What is your goal for that day?

Margot: No. LOL It’s a terrible idea but I get REALLY competitive when it comes to raising money for charity so I will pull out all the stops to hit our goals. I think we are hoping for at least 1k for the day tho 1.5k would make me really happy!

The Charity Boardgamer: For that stream, do you have a link for it? What platforms will we be able to watch it from?

Margot: We will be streaming on Twitch http://twitch.tv/realwomenofgaming only for this event. It will begin at 9am EST and run till about 9pm EST.

The Charity Boardgamer: Will there be a way to donate on the Twitch Stream?

Margot: Of course! Our amazing Gaia the Gamer Bot will be putting out the donation link for our Extra-Life often as well as our amazing Mods who will make sure that if asked for the link will be there.  https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=402282#donate.

Rogue scouting out the prizes at You’re Not Alone

The Charity Boardgamer: That is awesome! So tell us about the next event after the 29th.

Margot: After that is You’re Not Alone, our biggest event of the year. Typically in July because that is our anniversary month of when RWoG was created. You’re Not Alone is our Anti Bullying Event. We’ve raised money for a few charities but have kept with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center of the past few years. We aim to raise awareness of the growing epidemic and to tell people there is another side to being bullied. Several of us are bullying and suicide survivors. We still face bullies as adults. Suicide is the second leading cause of death from 10 to 34. That is unacceptable and we want to do what we can to help in anyway possible. If I had taken my life I wouldn’t have a warrior princess daughter, amazing husband, this wonderful organization & community. All of the friends that are my family nor any of the work that I do. We are taking all that pain that we went through and turning it into good. 

Margot: This is an 11 hour event. We will be in Uncanny! Comics in the King of Prussia Mall and streaming from the Mall. Our streamers will play game, we will have raffle items to help us raise more money. We’ve had Doomtown, Cards Against Humanity, Steve Jackson games all donate items to us in the past. Alone with more amazing people who send us everything from dice to hand made jewelry. It’s a humbling experience that makes me emotional every year to see these people put forth their work to help us. We’ve raised thousands and we hope to raise thousands more. Our date this year is not yet determined but we will start planning the moment that Be Someone’s Superhero is completed. Our goal for You’re Not Alone is also 1k but I’m always looking to go bigger. 

The Charity Boardgamer: Where could one go to learn more about You’re Not Alone?

Margot: You can keep tabs on all of our social media or check out  https://realwomenofgaming.com/youre-not-alone.

The Charity Boardgamer: Also, do you have a link for PACER’s if someone wanted to donate and learn more about them?

Margot: Of course!  https://www.pacer.org/bullying/

The Charity Boardgamer: So we have February and July. What’s after those events?

Margot: Oh Chris, than comes my FAVORITE EVENT! Charities & Champions! I grab a bunch of my internet friends with followings, youtubers, podcasts, comedians… and I make them sit in a room and play Dungeons and Dragons for 12 hours while we stream it! This year will be our 4th year and I AM SO EXCITED! We are raising money for CHOP through Extra Life and we create crazy incentives for the event. You can HELP or HURT the players with your donations! It is literally exhausting for us but so much fun at the same time. It’s 6 people hanging out playing something they absolutely love for charity! This is our Fall event. Sep/Oct depending on schedules. Last year we included special one shots that people could donate to get into and I’m hoping to take it a step further this year. Vel, our Dungeon Master for the L.O.S.T D&D Streaming show, who also happens to be my husband, will be running it again and I can’t wait to start pulling at people to come play.

The Charity Boardgamer: What is your go-to class in D&D? What are you thinking about being this year?

Margot: I’ve been playing for over 20 years and am currently in 3 games and run one in our discord server. I don’t know anymore. I play in every Charities and Champions. I’m the only constant lol so the first year I played a rogue I think, than a bad ass barbarian ( I am itching to play another one ) and in 2019 I played a Paladin. So maybe something magical this year? Who knows! Maybe I’ll get to play a Drow again or another Aasimar. There are so many amazing options. I tend to stay away from Clerics since that is my L.O.S.T character and that’s gone on for over 4 years now, however a Grave Cleric would be nice or maybe a Bard from the College of Nightmares. 

Taking a break during the livestream for Charities and Champions

The Charity Boardgamer: This sounds like it’s going to be a great year for you all. I cannot wait to hear more about these events as they come closer to their dates. Margot, It was a pleasure speaking with you today and I wish you success as you continue this work for great causes.

Margot: Thank you so much Chris for helping to get the word out about our amazing events! 

Reflecting on Extra Life 2019: An Interview with Joe Madigan

“The kids. It’s as simple as that. I have 3 of my own with one on the way. I want to know that if something were to happen to them, there would be amazing people out there supporting us in our time of need.”

-Joe Madigan, speaking on why he supports Extra Life.

I had the pleasure speaking with Joe Madigan on November 18th, 2019 about his experience running a charity event for Extra Life, an organization that helps Children’s Miracle Network.

The Charity Boardgamer: Joe, Thanks for talking with me today. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into gaming.

Joe: I got into gaming as a young child with a pong system my dad brought home when I was about 6. After that, it was Atari, then NES through pretty much every system through my current PS4.

I didn’t really get into the board gaming hobby until about 9 years ago, with my introduction to my first hobby board game, Ghost Stories. I had never played anything like it before in my life; it was cooperative, and difficult, but a ton of fun. At that point, I instantly fell in love with the hobby, and I have my brothers to blame.

Since that point, I’ve been playing board games almost every week; trying new games and expanding my breadth of what I feel comfortable playing.

Now, I’m going to GenCon every year and have gotten my wife and daughters into the hobby as well. I love that I get to see their faces light up when figuring out strategies, especially ones that beat me.

Tables set and ready for the 24 hour event.

The Charity Boardgamer: That is a great feeling as a parent when the little ones have that sense of victory.What has been the go-to game with your family?

Joe: Can’t Stop is always a great game for the kidsWe also have started playing Stuffed Fables as a familyI think that is their favorite game right now. They really like the story aspect and the cooperative nature of the gameeveryone wins or loses as a teammy oldest is almost 10, so I’ve been trying to push her comfort zone with some more complex games

The Charity Boardgamer: Joe, tell me about Extra Life. What got you involved with the charity.

Joe: I first heard about Extra Life from my new neighbor, shortly after we moved into our current house. I was extremely interested by the premise of the charity. Gaming. As I mentioned early, I have been gaming my entire life and this charity felt like the perfect opportunity to do and share what I love to help children and families in need.

I have three beautiful girls and with another child on the way. I want to be able to help however I can. I want to be able to show my girls that you can do amazing things to help people in need, while still having fun.

Games, anyone?

The Charity Boardgamer: How many years have you been doing Extra Life?

Joe: This was my first year doing Extra Life. I had initially set a goal of fundraising $200 for the charity, but by leveraging some advice, I quickly re-set my goal for $500 and raised more than double that amount.

The Charity Boardgamer: Doubled the amount? That is great.How did you accomplish this? What were some of the things that made it a first year success?

Joe: It was great to see and more than I could have hoped for my first year raising money for Extra Life. I’m already looking at things I would change and do better to hopefully double that amount next year.

The Charity Boardgamer: What were some of the goals or incentives you had for those attending the event?What all did you have at the event?

Joe: There were two things that I had that I believe helped make the event successful. First, I was able to secure a grant from Thrivent Financial to provide food and drinks to everyone that attended. The participants donated what they wanted for eating and drinking and all that money went to Extra Life. The second thing I believe made the event successful, was the raffle. I was able to find some great deals on Mansions of Madness and The Game of Thrones Card Game and had a few more games donated by a couple game companies. Those two things alone created more than $600 in donations.

The one other thing that made it successful was I engaged our church to host the event. This gave us a great space to have multiple games going at the same time with no shortage of tables. I’ve already received feedback that they want to host the event again next year.

24 hours of fun while raising money for a good cause.

The Charity Boardgamer: Now, if I’m correct, Game Day for Extra Life is 24 hours. Did you do the full 24 hours?

Joe: I did do 24 hours. I started playing on Friday at midnight and played until after midnight on Saturday. There were 7 people that showed up right at midnight and we played 7th Continent and Just One. Everyone left around 3 am. I was by myself from then until 10 am playing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Baseball Simulator on my SNES Classic.

The Charity Boardgamer: A Link to the Past is so good!

Joe: One of my all time favorites! That’s when people started to show up. We had about 50 or so different people throughout the day, maxing out around 25 in the afternoon. I thought the hardest part of staying awake was going to be that 4-5 am time period, but it was right around 9 am. Right before people started showing up. I think the anticipation made that part the worst.

The Charity Boardgamer: So did you do anything crazy for hitting your goal?

Joe: Not this year. We have baby #4 due any day now, and my wife didn’t want me to do anything crazy. We will be having family pictures done in a few weeks and wanted to ensure that I would look normal for the picturesAt least as normal as I can look.

Next year, all bets are off. Dyed hair, shaved beard, who knows?

The Charity Boardgamer: So tell me what was one thing that made this worth doing. Why should others support Extra Life?

Joe: The kids. It’s as simple as that. I have 3 of my own with one on the way. I want to know that if something were to happen to them, there would be amazing people out there supporting us in our time of need.

The Charity Boardgamer: Joe, Thanks again for telling us about your experience with Extra Life, and congratulations on the new baby on the way!

Joe: Thanks, Chris. I appreciate everything you do for the hobby and for charity.

To find out more about Extra Life, go to Extra Life’s Website. If you want to raise money for Extra Life, please do so. It is a great cause.

Joe and the Madigan family with their newest addition.