I haven’t really frequented game stores since I closed Allegiance Games (my store) down in 2003. I just don’t get out that much when it comes to games. I’ve spent most of my gaming time either playing online on my PC, or having my friends over to get rounds of boardgames in. I’ve got a great space for it so I figured, “Why would I ever want to go out to meet other gamers when I can game every weekend with people I know?” I’m definitely an extrovert, but getting me to go somewhere is the REAL challenge.
Well, while promoting JunKing (and Junk Spirit Games’ eventual other games) I’ve had some great opportunities to go to gaming meetups. Here are the reasons I have found to get out of your comfort zone and meet new gamers in your area:
1.) All your old jokes are new again.
Trust me, you are funny! But …. I only have enough jokes for about one or maybe two evenings. Here is my current favorite that you can have: When someone mentions about buying a new game you can say, “Oh yeah, I can’t afford to buy new games, I’m so poor I can’t afford the R so I am just ‘poo’.” That gets a laugh every time cause it is a horrible dad joke, but you only can get one laugh out of it. Well…… those gamers at the game meetups have never heard it…..
2.) You get to talk about your favorite subject! (you)
People want to meet you too! Tell them about all your adventures defending the townsfolk of Noonshade Keep from rampaging trolls, or how you were the Last Starfighter. Or talk about your favorite games and why you like them. Be sure to listen to them as well, you’re going to learn some things about all the people you forgot to meet.
3.) You get to meet weird and awesome and very different people.
Yeah, people are weird, like….really weird. But they are also awesome. Additionally, the people in your normal game group are likely very much like you which actually can be quite boring. Meeting new people gives you a new look on things. I love this Bill Nye quote:
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”
I think about this every time I meet a new person, and especially when I meet a gamer for the first time. Games can be played and interpreted so many ways. Seeing them from other people’s perspectives is eye-opening when you take the time to notice.
4.) You get to play games you’ve never seen before.
So far I’ve gone to a handful of game meetups where I knew no one when I walked into the room. I have spent as little as 3 hours and as much as 12 hours gaming with people that bring their own games for people to enjoy. I brought my games too and I wanted to play them. But I realized that there are so many boardgames out now that these events may be my only opportunity to play the games that the other gamers brought. (Mostly cause I am broke as a joke, see dad joke above.) At these game meetups, people are excited to see the game I made (JunKing currently) and of course that is fun for me, but being able to be taught and play a new (to me) game has been incredibly fun.
5.) You may discover that you are playing a favorite game incorrectly.
I’ve corrected (and have been corrected) so many sets of rules I’ve lost count. It happens all the time, you read over the rules and based on your presumptions you make an assessment about how something works, you teach your friends and unknowingly play a game wrong for a loooong time. My favorite example of being corrected was back when I had my game store; We ran multiple Blood Bowl leagues and everyone loved running their teams to victory with their painted models, playbooks, and everything that comes with league gaming. Well…… we were two leagues in when a new gamer walked in my store, watching a couple customers playing Blood Bowl. The ball fell out of bounds, and the player grabs this template:
That is the Throw In template. It represents the fans throwing the ball back into play when the ball goes out of bounds. The player rolled a d6 and placed the ball under the number rolled. The new guy stepped in and clarified, “You are supposed to roll 2d6 to see how far it is thrown in.” Everyone in the store heard him, and everyone’s jaws hit the floor. You could hear a pin drop as every one of us remembered ALL the Blood Bowl games we have played incorrectly. It happens. Go to a game meetup and you will either be the new guy or the seasoned gamer in the above scenario…..more than once.
6.) You get insights on different ways to win/play games you already know.
When I am gaming with my friends, winning games normally just takes a brute force push straight through the middle into a wall that’s been created to stop said push. But some games often have a level of finesse involved that you may not be aware of. Most good games will have multiple ways to win and you may think you know them all. But I guarantee that if you game with people you don’t know you’ll be beat by some tactic you’ve never seen before. Then you get to bring that back to your own game group.
7.) You’ll get great recommendations on what games to buy next.
This may not be a good thing if you are broke as I am (again, see horrible joke above) but game meetups are a great way to talk to gamers concerning why you may want to buy a specific game. For example, I’ve had my eyes on Steampunk Rally for some time, ever since I sadly realized that I missed the Kickstarter. I was about to play Steampunk Rally with another dad, and he explained to me why I would enjoy playing this with my daughters. As another gamer dad, I felt I could trust his perspective because he talked about the ways his own kids traversed the game’s mechanics and why they liked the game as a family. So now, that one is definitely on my list.
All in all, this year has been an interesting one for me, I took up the cause to say “Yes” to more things (more on that later) but I’m very glad that I took up going to random game meetups. So many people to meet, so many games to play.