Sorry I missed Monday’s article. With school starting I’ve been a little busy, but i managed to get a little bit of Heroscape in and that got me thinking. I wanted to take this Friday to talk about why I game, and the games that brought me here.This goes past the about page gaming philosophy and is more about remembering our roots, because knowing where we came from helps us know where we are going.
I’m sure there were times that I played the traditional family favorites like ‘Sorry’ and ‘Monopoly,’ but that’s not the most memorable first experience with board games or table top. What I remember is visiting my family in Canada and playing dice and card games. The good food, bonding, and conversation made me feel like I hadn’t missed a beat and I was still a part of my family. I looked forward to those games so much because it was the first time some people put down the “you are a visitor” boundary since I had really been on my trip. I loved playing games on my trips because I loved spending quality time with my family.
Then we fast forward a few years and somehow Risk gets into my house. I had no idea how to play and I would make my step dad teach me over and over again with my two little sisters. Now me and my step dad have a great relationship, but playing games with everyone in a way that was (as much as possible) challenging to a young kid was significant. It was great thinking about and analyzing game mechanics, strategy, and also hanging out with family. I figured out that not only could I bond with family, but I could learn important things from them and the games we played.
Gaming was not a big part of my life at this point. I still knew the big board games, but that was about it. I come up to High School and I start making new friends and at a new school, but video games were the biggest games for me to play. That being said my friends figure out they have this old game called Heroscape and we decide to start playing. It was so much fun to play that game with friends. Let me get this straight. Heroscape is unbalanced, unwieldy, has a million pieces that are easy to lose, it is out of print, and it take up a lot of room to play and store. It has one major plus of being incredibly satisfying to play. Every map is built on tiles that stack and lock and with enough pieces you can build anything you want from castles to mountains. Then you get to populate them with wild and magical characters that come with these neat little prepainted minis. The whole experience was a bundle of laughs and it really launched me into an early desire to get into the more staple non-traditional games like Catan, Carcassonne, and other games that start with a C. Here’s where I learned that board games can be just as fun, if not more fun than video games
Now we move forward into young adulthood where doing things cost money, I dont have any money to do things, and if I wanted that money I would be too busy trying to make that money to do those things. This is when I started branching out a little more and meeting people with games. I eventually moved into Xwing and Dnd 3.5. It was like a hobby awakening akin to learning how to walk, or burp on command. Board games kind of became this vessel to not only relax, but to compete, socialize, and learn complex thinking patterns in a way that was fun. I never thought I could not only retain the information of not just one, but multiple textbooks worth of information. Honestly these games prepared me for the mental processes of retaining and learning information that I need to be successful in college now. At this point I was really valuing board games and the effects that they had on me and my friends.
Alright now you have my whole life story. Whenever I think about casual socializing now my mind immediately moves towards gaming and beers with good conversation and healthy competition. I would choose a session of Fantaji over a night in a club at literally any point in my life. By having this mentality I have surrounded myself with other people that I like and like spending their time in the same way. I met my wife without feeling pressured to be someone I’m not, and I have this website that lets me express my love for the hobby. I have even been able to meet awesome and great people who I never would have even known existed without board games and RPGs.
The point to all of this is that while we may love that hobby, it is easy to get distracted by a games mechanics, or get mad or burnt out by the competitive aspect of the game, but remembering why we game can bring our focus on why this is such a special hobby to share with the world. It can also clear up any toxic aspects of gaming that can be slowly seeping into your gaming community. I know it took me going back to heroscape, thinking about how terrible it was, and then realizing how much I did not care about those things to think about this article. Maybe I’ll be applying less salt to my losses from here on out.
Thanks for reading about my thought on gaming and that little blast from my past. If you liked this article then please check out some of our other articles below and like and share this one with our links. Be sure to check us out on Twitter and Facebook @nblogcollective and check out our Patreon too. As soon as I figure out how to we are going to start putting up materials for RPGs so be sure to keep an eye out for that, and as always,