I was nervous! It was just the thought of getting together with a bunch of complete strangers to play board games that had me squirming in my skin. “Who are these people who like to play board games,” I thought?
It was no surprise I asked my husband for backup going into my first gaming group. I labored long over what I should wear. In the end, I went with feminine casual. I figured I would act like I was just poking around, like I’d been out shopping, and stumbled upon them. That way I could recon the ‘gamers,’ that strange unknown wild life, and slip out if it looked too weird.
I felt uncomfortable when I first entered the coffee shop with the gaming group. There were some kids getting ready to play a role-playing game and I was thinking that was my que to slip out. Then, I was greeted by a friendly facilitator who quickly put me at ease.
As people began to trickle in, I was surprised to see the demographics. There were singles, couples, and even families. At first blush, gamers appeared to be an average cross section of society.
It has been a while since first attending a gaming group and I’ve learned a few things about people drawn to this hobby. It is not the level of education, type of profession, or social standing that matters. They are people with PhDs, and those with no degrees. They are young and old. They are scientists, teachers, military members, librarians, stay-at-home moms, retirees, and just about everyone in between.
The common bond is about people being relational. Our phones and technology have been driving us apart from face-to-face relationships. Such a huge percentage of our interactions depend on body language, intonation, and facial expressions. Many of these are missing from our texts, phone calls, and chats.
I think part of the recent growth in the board game hobby is people recognizing a desire to build meaningful relationships. Sitting down to a game with a complete stranger is a comfortable way to meet people. It allows for an enjoyable shared experience that breaks through social, religious, political, and economic boarders.
Those interested in board games are people interested in being with others. If they were not, they would play games on apps, gaming platforms, and in online forums. They are willing to take the risk of meeting new people in order to share human companionship and interaction.
Personally, I can attest to how important it is that we share time having fun with others. My husband and I have a profoundly disabled and medically complicated child. The stress of her 24/7 care and life-threatening condition can literally drain the life out of us. Finding people to play board games with has been a life-line.
I had been unsure about the type of people drawn to the board gaming hobby. Now I know we are people from all walks of life. We enjoy time together over a game and meeting new people.