Ryan shares a personal article involving a gaming experiment he and his family are trying in 2019.

It started with a simple Twitter post from Matt McChesney on December 29th about finding a $25 table on Facebook’s marketplace for his game room. It wasn’t the price of the table, perhaps it was the look of the table in a small room with games…I am not really sure. What I am sure of is that little post started it all…everything you are about to read.

A few days later I read a BGG blog post by designer Adam Daulton (Ninja Camp) where he made the statement, Gaming can be more important than the cardboard on the table.” That really struck a chord with something I have been thinking about lately. He is right, it’s more than just playing a game, it can even be more than “fun” had, or the challenge of outplaying a human opponent, or even more than just a hobby – it’s also about time spent with others. I keep finding myself a slave to TV, whether it’s binging on something or just background noise for having my face in another yet smaller screen (ahem, phone, tablet, computer). Even time spent with loved ones, can really just be everyone in the same room as they stare at one of the aforementioned screens in the evenings. It’s so easy to say, I’m too tired to play a game, by the time we get a table cleaned or cleared off or set up and then the game set up, it will be too late …. It’s easier to turn on the television and watch The Great British Baking Show… at least it much easier for me. How about you?  The question is though is it quality time?”  This has been the stuff fluttering through my head lately.

What if we got a table just for gaming, and not a fold out one, but an actual wooden table, with space for bigger games, etc? One that is left clean, so it’s easy to pull out games and ready to play whenever the urge hits? What if we played games a lot more regularly like in the evenings?  Well, that could be cool but the issue is space and for me to do this I have to give up my “man cave” or as my wife calls it the den – the adult living room, with the nice TV and comfy couch, my retreat space. At first, my idea seemed crazy to my wife but by the time I started questioning if we should do it or not, she was gung-ho. I think the idea of changing that lifestyle of screens to boards on a more regular basis, appeals to her. A year down the road, we may not remember what we played months ago, but we will remember it was quality time and more engaging relationship wise then starting at a screen – both as a married couple and as a family. On top of that, Tom Gurg and I have a lot of Go Forth and Game stuff happening in 2019, including quite a number of review games flowing in that need to be played and podcasts that need to be recorded. As this dances about my head – in comes Adam’s blog with his yearly goal of 150 games played with his children and the striking quote above adding more fuel to the fire. And I think, “yeah let’s do this!”  

Some of the gaming shelves in the new game room.

Just like that, we have been working this week to do this, it will take some time to find the table we want, etc – but the stuff we can do now, we have been doing. It just happens to occur during the New Year,  but all the same, it’s happening. The TV is out, the couch is out and the gaming stuff is being poured in. Will it be hard not to want to plop down and really have no place to do it anymore outside my bedroom?  I am sure it will be. Will it be worth it?  Yes, because we are talking about spending time with family in a way that is unplugged, which may not always be the easiest thing to do in modern America. Hopefully, this experiment we are trying succeeds and that we are able to look back on this crossroad moment say we chose right. 

Why am I sharing this? As some kind of brag?  No, no, hopefully, you see this as encouragement. I mean don’t get me wrong, it seems like its gonna be pretty cool to have a game room, but that isn’t the whole thought process or purpose of posting this.  I understand what it’s like to be part of the hobby for many years and that the passion to play games can die down (sometimes games can be easier to talk about or buy) especially when it takes no energy to turn on the TV or surf the internet for what may seem like 30 minutes but really was 3 hours. So, I am making time, even if it means turning off the TV and only halfway checking Twitter as I play. It may take a while for me to get into the swing of things, for this to become a new normal. You know what is easy though?  It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or caught up in the grind and say “not today,” but I want to exhort all of you to say – “you know what? Yes, today.” Now, of course, I do realize that some who love analog gaming don’t have room in their homes or apartments for a dedicated gaming space or maybe you already have a game room in your home, or perhaps you play board games all the time and don’t need a dedicated space because… well, you’re not as weak-willed as I am. However, that really isn’t the purpose behind this post. I want to encourage you all this year to find something your family (and I don’t just mean the kids, but your spouse as well) are interested in (and no, it doesn’t have to be board gaming) and to make an effort to share in it with them. Spending some quality time with them, even if it means giving something else that is less important up (that rut) in the process. It may be hard, but sometimes that is needed.

May you all make some great gaming memories with the ones you love in 2019 and remember Gaming can be more important than the cardboard on the table.”


PostScript Edit: Have no fear I am not turning anti-TV, purposely watching a family favorite show or watching movies can most certainly be fun and can leave lasting memories. I am talking about watching TV nightly just to watch it.