Jobs 101: Board game shop manager
Meet someone who works in the playground of his dreams.
It sounds like the best job in the world when you’re paid to play games and watch YouTube videos. For 26-year-old Vernon Yip, board games store manager at Games @ PI, this fantasy has become a reality.
Studied: Diploma in Interactive Digital Media, Republic Polytechnic
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’ve been working here for about four years now. I decided to work here immediately after army because I could be around stuff I really enjoyed. I could also show off to people the knowledge I had about my hobby.
When and how did you become interested in board games?
My parents bought me a board game set when I was about 8-years-old. I barely knew anything about it, but it sparked an interest. When I hit polytechnic, I started to have more free time and found that I was still interested in board games. So I started to delve deep into it.
Describe a typical day at work.
It still is a very typical retail store. Our job is mainly to provide recommendations based on what customers request. This research is mostly done through watching YouTube videos and reading summaries online.
Beyond that, we’re either assisting customers in their games, or trying out different new games that come in.
We don’t always have fun and play with board games though. Fine as the line is, we think that the line between having fun and taking work seriously is important. If you’re in the middle of a game with a customer and they seriously need your help; you have to turn off your game mode and take it as your job to help them.
What are some challenges you face?
It’s very important in this job to keep up to date with the different games. Because of how quickly stuff in this industry gets released, it becomes really difficult to catch up and have good product knowledge once you fall behind.
Most of the board game players seem to be males. Does having such a niche hobby affect guys’ chances of meeting girls and getting attached?
I’ve never had a girlfriend, but I’ve seen people meet their significant other over board game meets or role-playing games. I’ve also seen couples with one person playing whilst the other just sits there watching.
Although it isn’t a major catalyst, games undeniably help in socialising.
Is there anything you don’t like about your job?
If anything, you end up spending more money on games working here than if you’re not, because you see new games every day and go: “I want this, I want that!”
Controlling yourself becomes hard when new games are released. That’s the only downside I guess, if you want to see it that way.
What motivates you in your job?
Most people only know of Monopoly, Risk and the Game of Life when it comes to board games, but there are so many more board games these people can be exposed to. Knowing that these people have tried the games and grown to love it really is satisfying to me.
|Educational requirements: There aren’t any requirements, but it is preferred that you have studied a course related to game design.
Qualities needed: Interest in games, and the ability to distinguish between having fun and working seriously.
Salary range: $1,400 to $2,000.
Working hours: Around 10 hours a day, five days a week.
Career prospects: Board game store owner, and in some cases, game designer or board game publisher.