Towards the start of the year as a semi-New Years resolution I decided to get more into tabletop gaming. It has always been something on the periphery of my life and when I meet up with close friends it is what we do to hang out. That’s because sitting around a table rolling dice, playing combos of cards and shifting Meeples about the place is a brilliant social activity. In the past year or so my affection for it has grown exponentially and it felt like the right time to try and take it one step further.
There was one problem though; there was no real tabletop/board gaming communities around my area, Bishop’s Stortford. Sure there are a few groups in Cambridge which is a train ride away and there is always something board game related happening in London which I could go to after work but I am a lazy person and I like to do things as local to me as possible. So I took the plunge and set up a Tabletop Meet Up Group for the people of Bishop’s Stortford and the surrounding areas.
Setting up the group was done on a pure whim. Like most nerdy types putting myself out there and meeting new people can at times be a difficult experience. The group however felt right. Worst case scenario if things were truly awful I could just concentrate on the game being played and then disappear into the night, never to be seen again.
Thankfully, rather than falling flat on its face the group is slowly and steadily growing each week. We have several regular players and organisers along with a good chunk of interested people that just need to take that leap and come to their first Meet Up! I’m constantly scribbling down plans to help the group grow and get more people involved. I’ve really taken to the running of it and enjoy seeing this thing I setup grow over time.
Through the group I have played and enjoyed more new games in the past few months than I have in the past few years. It also means that I am readily buying new games at regular intervals because I know I am going to be able to play it with a group of friends within a week. Seriously space in the house is becoming an issue due to the steady stream of new boardgames I keep acquiring. Another upshot is that when I see my life long friends I have two or three new games for them to sink their teeth into and enjoy. It has become a win, win situation for me and that is awesome. It is also giving me lots of ideas. All this exposure to different types of tabletop experiences has got my creative cogs turning. (More on this at another time!)
Being in charge of the group has also meant that I am having to keep on top of things happing in the tabletop scene. Which has meant that visiting websites like Shut Up & Sit Down and Board Game Geek has become part of my daily routine. I’m starting to get involved in those communities too and finding a lot of weird and wonderful people in the process. I’ve also found that sharing my tabletop gaming adventures via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is paying off too. A lot of people keep asking about the games I am playing and if there is any I would recommend for them to play. I am also seeing how others play and enjoy games which in turn feeds into my own gaming plans and ideas.
Basically what I am saying is that after years of being a casual observer and infrequent participant in the board and tabletop gaming scene it is quickly becoming my go to activity and community outside of video games. I wish I had taken the leap sooner!
I started the year thinking that I would maybe go to one or two tabletop things a month if that. Now here I am, looking at the calendar on my phone wondering if I can cram in a fourth gaming session next week.