10 Questions with Jon Gracey

Tell us one thing about you that the audience won’t already know.

I don’t know if this is interesting but it’s certainly gruesome; I was very sickly back when I was a little baby. I had necrotising tracheitis which is essentially a really bad form of croup. I ended up having to go into hospital to have a tracheostomy – you’ll probably know the operation as the one they do on an aeroplane with the inside of a biro if there are no medical tools around. They shove it in your neck as some sort of breathing tube. Aside from a scar on my neck just below my Adam’s apple, I’ve been absolutely fine since. There’ve been no long-lasting physical complaints and I’m sure there was no psychological trauma for me or my parents (laughs).

If you could swap lives with another NRB team member for a day, who would it be and what would you do?

I’d probably just become one of the young members of the cast and get absolutely hammered. Like Holly or Blair, they’re ten years old, right? I’ll become one of them, get incredibly drunk, and then leave them with the hangover.

What’s been your favourite game to play on NRB and why?

I really loved Mysterium and Dead of Winter. Mysterium was supposed to be this really joyful co-op game but we just fought each other and got really paranoid. Dead of Winder was supposed to be this tense fighting game but we all just teamed up and destroyed Adam. That was great fun. But I think my overall favourite is King of Tokyo. It’s such a fun and simple game. My attempt to win by getting a unique combination on the king roll was so exciting. I still think that is my favourite video to watch back and to have filmed.

If your personality was a board game, which one would it be and why?

I would say Twilight Imperium; complex, rich, competitive, nuanced, intelligent, sexy, and humble.

What’s one board game you think is underrated and deserves more attention?

I’m always a big fan of small box games because, in my mind, people tend to think of large boxes and big chunky games. I actually don’t know if Coup would be considered underrated as a game, but Coup, in its tiny box, has given me the most value for fun and money. I took it with me when I first went travelling in 2014 and it was such a great way of meeting new people and making new friends. One time, I was in Morocco with a bunch of friends it rained continuously. We couldn’t really leave the riad, so we all ended up playing Coup and we got so deep into the strategy. There were so many of us playing again and again and again. That game has no bottom. Depending on the group you can just keep drilling deeper and deeper. So, I don’t know whether it would be considered underrated or not, but given the size of the box and how much fun I’ve had from it, I’d have to say Coup is a game that needs a bit more love. It really is a beautiful game.

If you could have any fictional character as your board game opponent, who would it be and what game would you play?

There’s an old strategy game, I think it’s called Stratego now, but back when I used to play it with my uncle it was called L’Attaque. It’s a chess-like game but you don’t know what pieces the other person has. It’s a really fun military strategy game. My uncle used to absolutely batter me at this game, and I was only about five years old. He could’ve let me win once or twice, right? So, my choice will be to play against a fictionalised older version of my uncle, you know, when he’s not going to be at the top of his game, so that I can try and beat him. I want to claim that victory for my five year old self.

If the NRB team members were ingredients in a recipe, what would each person be, and what dish would you be making?

I think we’ll make a chilli. So Laurie is strong and dependable which means he’s going to be the base of this concoction. He’ll be the tomato sauce. Tilly is going to be the bitter flavour. I don’t mean that in a bad way – it’s good to have a bit of bitterness. It adds flavour. Holly is going to add a kind of ethereal witchiness to it. I think she’ll be a kind of herb found in the woods, hopefully not a poisonous one. Dom is going to be the spicy rage, the chilli flakes on top. Sullivan would be some honey squeezed in. I’d bring some manic energy to the dish, maybe some coffee grounds sprinkled in. Blair would be something American…some good old fashioned American cheese. I feel like this is going to be a horrible meal, I’m not sure I should add anyone else. Everyone else can just be pasta. Except Dan. He can be a cake for dessert afterwards. And Ken can be the kidney beans because his name starts with K.

Imagine board games are now sentient and can play themselves. Which game do you think would have the biggest ego, and which one would be the most humble?

Twilight Imperium would be an absolute douchebag. It’s going to be a know-it-all jock who just swaggers around like, “Wassup b*tches, it’s me!” It would definitely have the biggest ego, but would annoyingly be able to back it up. I think one of those oink games like Fake Artist Goes to New York or Deep Sea Adventures would be the most humble. They’d be very unassuming and then you’d have a brilliant time with them.

Have you ever considered cheating at a board game, and if so what was your self-justification?

I don’t get why people cheat at games. I am really competitive but in a way that I’m mostly competing with myself. I really want to have done a good job. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win because winning is fun. But if you’ve won and you’ve cheated…who cares? Anyone can win if you break the rules. We all agree that the rules are there for a reason, to provide structure and fun. I guess for some people it must be fun to win at all costs, but I cannot compute.

What’s your favourite joke of all time and why?

What’s a lawyer’s favourite drink? Subpoena Colada!

Comrades, have you checked out our interview with the leader of the Dommunist party himself, Dom Allen? You can read it here.