A little about me. I have twin 3 year olds. I don’t know how it started, maybe it was their grandpa that thought it would be a fun idea. Anyways, part of out nightly routine consists of me telling them a bedtime story once they are both laying down in their bunkbed. This has been going on for a good number of months now, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. So I was thinking it might be fun to tell a personal story, board game related of course, for this week’s article.
Once upon a time…sorry, force of habit. Let’s see, it was almost 3 years ago. I had recently been bitten by the board gaming bug. I was obsessed with The Dice Tower, my collection of games was growing, and I’d tried inviting anyone and everyone I knew over for game nights. I had had little luck with my wife, she ‘tolerates’ the hobby. My former high school buddies showed little interest, merely humoring me with a game here and there. As it turned out most of my gaming was with my two younger brothers and their friends. While this wasn’t ideal, I couldn’t complain, as I got my games played.
After some time though, I started to feel like the odd man out, despite being the host of these weekly game nights. I longed for others who shared my enthusiasm for the hobby. Others who would be excited to try my latest purchases. Would it be to much to ask that they have some knowledge of a game prior to me pulling it off the shelf? My gaming tastes were changing from the dice filled amerithrash games like Dead of Winter to more cube-pushing euros like Orleans. Unfortunately these types of games didn’t interest them and it made it all but impossible to really get them played.
What was a guy to do? I would often sulk to my wife complaining that I had no one to game with and that I might as well sell all my games, secretly hoping she would offer to play with me, but she never really had much to say. I suppose desperate times called for desperate measures, and so I did something that I’m not proud of. Ok, so I am a little proud of it. I decided I’d get onto the KSL classifieds page for board and card games, a site I frequently visited for buying and selling used games. Except this time I didn’t post a listing for a game but for a game group. I quickly described myself, giving my age, gaming tastes, and available evenings. I submitted the listing without any real expectations but was quickly surprised at its results.
Within 48 hours I received 3 different texts, each a fellow gamer inviting me to join them at a their weekly game night. The text first came from a gamer in Salt Lake City inviting me to their weekly get together at a game store up north each Saturday afternoon. I had to respectfully decline, given I was uncertain that my wife would ever let me leave her alone with our 6 month old twins during our day off just to drive all the way up to South Salt Lake. The next invite came from a guy living in Alpine. He said his cousin comes over almost weekly to play games and sometimes brings a friend or two. The last and final invite was from a young father, inviting me to a game store in south Provo where him, his wife, and their 11 month old got together on a weekly basis to play with some friends.
Both of these seemed like good offers. I grew up in Alpine and felt comfortable with it since it was so close and familiar. The game group in Provo met on a night that I had a later college class, allowing me to swing by on my way home. Out of convenience this was the first game night I decided to check out. I was quite nervous. Based on my prior experience with game stores I knew this could very well be an overweight and stinky gamer that seem stereotypical for the hobby. But the dude turned out to not only act normal but also smell normal too. It was so enjoyable that I went home and immediately told my wife that we should invite him and his wife over for games sometime next week.
While it seemed I’d found a pretty good game group, I felt I should give the other guy in Alpine a chance since he’d been willing to give me one. I scheduled a night to swing by his place to meet him and meet his cousin for a game or two. I wasn’t as nervous going into this game night knowing that if it didn’t work out I already had a fall back. I was a little tentative knowing that Alpine is quite affluent and it seemed unlikely he was my age or at least in the same stage of life. I was wrong again. Turned out he lived with his wife in his grandmother’s basement where they were expecting their first child. It was quite laid back and casual. And his cousin was also really chill.
I had gone from no game group to two different game groups within the matter of a week or two. It didn’t even occur to me that this could also be a new problem. Between my wife, our six month old twins, work, school, and church callings it would be a lot to ask to get out two nights a week, even if it sounded like a blast. How was I supposed to choose between the two. Both had given me a chance by inviting me, a complete stranger, to join them in their homes and with their friends.
It then occurred to me that I could keep both groups. I contacted both guys and asked if they wanted to meet up at Game Grid for a game night. It was a hit. I had successfully merged the main part of both groups and could now enjoy everyones’ company one night a week. As I had stated earlier this was well over 2 years ago, and what started out as 4 guys getting together once a week has now turned into a group text including more than 12 individuals meeting up at each others’ homes or our favorite game store, Game Grid.
It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago I was debating getting out of the hobby due to the fact that I had no one to game with, while now I have more people to game with than I can manage. My wife has also had the pleasure of meeting new friends and so have my children all through this game group. So I’d like to publicly thank Tommy Aikens and Derek Anderson for taking a chance on a random gamer with a somewhat desperate add on KSL. I hope the good times we’ve had together over the last 2 years is payment enough. I know I wouldn’t trade then for anything. As for any of you that may find yourselves in a similar position I was in, we frequently meet at Game Grid on Wednesday nights for their weekly game night. Please feel free to swing by and join us.