by Evan Duggan
VANCOUVER, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Jesse Turner leaned over, took aim with a token that rests on the edge of the table and then flicked it with his thumb across the playing surface towards a row of cards.
He was playing Flip Ships at the second annual Vancouver board game convention. The event, the largest of its kind in Canada, actually goes by the official name of "Shux," which is short for the Shut Up & Sit Down Expo.
Turner is one of about 1,800 attendees at the event, which features new board game demonstrations, a library of games to try, as well as organized game sessions, panels and presentations.
Turner and his friends found Flip Ships at the sizable expo library.
"It's actually a physical game, which I'm not a big fan of usually," he told Xinhua after his turn. "But this one is great because it's like the Space Invaders game."
According to the official explanation, Flip Ships is a cooperative dexterity game in which "players take on the roles of brave pilots defending their planet from an onslaught of firepower."
It looks mostly like players flicking tokens onto playing cards.
"Getting that hit feels a lot different than doing like a good maneuver in any other game," Turner said.
Interest in board games seems to be surging. The organizers said the number of attendees jumped by about 1,000 people this year, after their first expo last year. Because of the interest, they had to shift from a small hotel ballroom to a sprawling Vancouver Convention Centre hall.
In Canada, board games are now the leading category of new toy sales, with new game shops and clubs popping up everywhere, said Lisa Pope, the show manager.
"More people are enjoying games, where it's evolved from sitting with your grandma and playing monopoly, to coming here and playing with your grandma at monopoly," she said, laughing.
She said people seem to be craving analog, or non-digital fun and games.
Board game interest definitely surging in North America and hundreds of other similar conventions are popping up all over the place, said Adam Growden, who is here from Seattle, representing game producer Devir Games.
Growden said there are many different theories about why people are regaining interest in table-top games.
"My theory, and one I always have liked, is that with the explosion of video games and Internet, people want to get back to having analog things in front of them," he said.
Indeed, across the countless rows of playing tables, nobody seems to be looking at their phones.
"They want to sit with their friends and be able to play something together," Growden said.
Enthusiasm for board games must be high, as attendees to this event were spending 189 Canadian dollars (about 144 U.S. dollars) for weekend tickets to the convention, which continues through Sunday at the Vancouver Convention Centre.