This past Saturday was International Tabletop Day 2015. A day dedicated to gaming of the analogue variety. Started by uber-geeks Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day three years ago, the event has grown exponentially. We at Need To Consume are avid tabletop gamers so we decided to throw our own little shindig in central London.
Venues were hard to come by, unless could convince one of the team to sell a kidney on the black market. As a result we ended up in The Bloomsbury Tavern on Shaftesbury Avenue. It was quaint little gothic pub which had an area upstairs with seating and tables for the rabble we had showing up across the ten hours we had planned on being there. Being stoked for the day, I was there nice and early with a suitcase, yes a suitcase full of games. We wanted to ensure we had a real mix of games so anyone from a complete beginner to a seasoned veteran could show up, find something and have a good time without feeling out of their depth or bored.
We kicked off things with a group deciding to play the opening levels of Zombie 15′, two people going head to head with a game of The Duke (a rather interesting chess derivative), a game of Munchkin and an interesting indie card game which sadly the name of which escapes me entirely. It was all rather quiet to begin with, as we had a mix of people who all knew each other and others who had found our event on the official website and just wanted to come along to see what it was all about.
A group play Pandemic and try to save the world from nasty diseases.
It didn’t take long for people to settle in, for alliances to be forged or grudges to be set; for which only blood would be worthy compensation (all in game of course). Seeing those who where very familiar with a game and it’s complex mechanics and taking newcomers through the rules was an inspiring sight. One thing that certain areas of the geek community can be guilty of, is looking down on those who don’t understand or have in-depth knowledge of a show or video game. Board games appear to be a great leveller. I saw someone playing in a head to head game, coach and guide his opponent. He could have just provided the basic rules and destroyed his opponent. But that really isn’t in the spirit of the day. Yes, people can learn tactics and tricks but this isn’t like playing an online multiplayer where you will always come up against those who sink hours upon hours into it and can thus dramatically reduce your enjoyment. With tabletop, you can be at the mercy of a card draw or a roll of the dice. A seasoned pro can lose to a complete beginner. That is what makes tabletop so damn appealing.