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  • Portland Area Historical Society

David McCord - Games Thru the Ages

You might say David McCord of Ionia is a game fan. (“Fan” is short for “fanatic.”)

As with most folks, he played the usual games as a kid. The stuff you find in closets and attics and yard sales and thrift shops. He joined the chess club in high school, played table-top war games during the college years, dabbled with Dungeons and Dragons of course.

Then life happened, and he got married and had a few kids. Now he had game players living in the house, so he pulled out the old favorites for family game night.

Somewhere along the line he got bit. Being a history buff, he started looking into games of the past; the Victorians, the pioneers, the ancient civilizations around the world. And at the same time, in the late 20th century, there began a world-wide resurgence of table-top gaming. It became a full-fledged hobby for millions of people. It’s a reaction, maybe, to the video game world with its unrelenting hypnotic action and high-tech non-human contact.

Well, David started to gather together some games that interested him. Then more. Then more. Yes, and then more.

The collection now totals about 1700 commercially produced board games. And then there are another hundred or so reproductions of historical games that he’s made himself. And add to that 40 more that he has designed himself. And to aid in his research, there are several shelves of books on the subject of games. And shelves of spare parts and … well, you get the picture.

David plays in a weekly local game group with other table-top game fans and occasionally attends groups in neighboring towns. Now and then he travels to large game conventions and belongs to several organizations of game collectors and historians.

David has partnered with Red Hen Toys of Grand Rapids to produce a series of historical games from around the world called “Peg Pastimes.” He produces how-to-play videos and has a growing YouTube channel to showcase games of all kinds. And there’s the website, of course, where he shares his original game design work.

McCord will be presenting at the Portland Area Historical Society meeting on February 22nd. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM at the Portland Area Senior Center. This presentation will focus on table games of the past 200 years (and then some). How the pastime became a hobby, and evolved into the multi-billion-dollar industry it is today. David will talk about the major players in bringing games to the world in the late 19th and early 20th century—people like Milton Bradley, the Parker Brothers, and others you may not have heard of. To illustrate these stories, he will show examples from his collection.

For more information on McCord, check out:

· David’s game designs

· David’s YouTube Channel

· David’s games for sale


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