Last night after a lovely, satisfying game of Agricola (Full disclosure: Yes, I won. By quite a bit.), I was sitting and talking to two of the guys I had played with, and musing on what had brought us – a banker, an IT genie, and an historian cum family care giver – to that table, at 10PM on a Thursday, to have a conversation. The conversation was mostly about games of course, but we also touched upon traffic, OLGS vs FLGS shopping, and foot fetishes*. I envy social groups that couldn’t have this happen. People who, on the surface, by the more commonly-used standards of what binds people together, have little or nothing in common, come together for the love of games and stay at the table because, well, we’re just people. Maybe we’re awkward, and/or shy. Maybe we don’t have a lot of places to meet people. With a game on the table, it doesn’t matter so much. It’s as if the game, which acts as a safety barrier that allows us to comfortably sit down together, becomes a tool to break down that larger social barrier. Once we’ve battled over who gets to plow a field first, perhaps cursing the person who manages to get that magical colored disk onto the Plow Field spot first, the social barrier has been weakened. Maybe we’re not friends, yet, but we’re comrades in arms. We’ve seen things.
My non-gamer sister came with me for part of my 14-hour marathon at the FLGS for International Table Top Day, and she remarked to me upon that fact that she saw so many “major nerds,” who seemed super awkward etc etc, wearing wedding rings. I pointedly glanced at my own wedding ring, and I shrugged, and I said, “Well, sweetie, we find each other.”
And that’s one of the great beauties of this hobby of ours. We, the gamers, find each other, and we find the games, and we get to the table, and we play.
* For the curious: We were talking about whether or not each of us had ever gotten into Magic: The Gathering. I allowed that I had, briefly, in college, because a guy I was dating was into it, but then it turned out he had a foot fetish, and at the tender age of 20, I hadn’t even dreamed of people wanting to do some of the things he wanted to do about that, so the relationship, both with the boy and the game, ended.