Updated: May 20, 2021
What is the power of gaming? Why do we come together over the game table time and time again? Is it the need to win? Is it the need to explore new experiences? Well, I cannot answer that question for you, all I can do is provide some insight of my perspective and tell you how the power of gaming affects me and my life.
I have been playing games with a weekly game group for almost 25 years now. We started by playing Star Wars Customizable Card Game back in 1995. Over the years we evolved into the world of board games starting with Settlers of Catan and later evolving to games like Metro, Web of Power, and Carolus Magnus. That games library has now grown to almost 500 unique games.
For me, gaming has more to do with the enjoyment of people than it does with exploring new worlds and new experiences. I would very much consider myself a social gamer. I am not necessarily all about social games, I do enjoy my share of solo games, but for me, the highlight of gaming is the people I game with. I very much enjoy conventions and meeting people in the hobby. The first convention I attended was Saltcon several years back. Saltcon is a gaming convention that is held each spring, usually the first weekend in March. I attended the convention as a host of Meeple Nation and with the experiences that our friend Brent Mair had gained from attending BGGCon, we were hosting several games. We recorded a live podcast there which the recording failed and was unusable, but we started meeting people who listened to the podcast and relationships began to bud. I remember our good friends David and Tamy Bremer were there to support us. Ever since then I always look forward to seeing, chatting, and gaming with these wonderful people. And of course, I always look forward to running a game of Ultimate Werewolf with the Bremers. David can tell an amazing yarn and I eagerly await for the time someone accuses him of being a werewolf.
Saltcon was also where we were introduced to the ladies of HUGG (Herriman Utah Gaming Gal) This was a group of women who loved to play board games and their husbands were all disinterested. It was great to meet this group who were key in influencing my oldest daughter, Ashley, that it was cool to play games as an adult. HUGG pulled Ashley in and got her excited about games like Salem 1692, a social game all about witch hunting. Members of HUGG have become some of our closer friends, in fact we even planned a weekend of food and gaming with HUGG. What an amazing weekend!
I love the experience of running into someone from a past convention and to now have that common link and common shared experience. Those links form bonds, they form memories, they bring people together. I have now attended BGGCon the past two available years and anxiously look forward to hopefully being able to attend again in 2021. There are friends, colleagues, and events that excite me to once again be able to game with and enjoy those gaming opportunities.
The people I game with make game nights worth it. Our gaming group has evolved and morphed many times over the years, the faces change, the numbers change, people move, and sometimes life simply gets in the way and limits the time that we get to enjoy games and game night. Still, it is the people that make the game night. The Covid19 pandemic changed the dynamic of game night for a while. We were able to adapt some; we were able to use tools and websites like Discord, Board Game Arena, and Yucata. Meeting virtually was better than not meeting for sure, and meeting virtually allowed me to game with those who do not live so close. Through these gaming websites I was able to complete the gaming goals I had in 2020, but that human connection was not the same.
I am so very grateful for the friendships and memories I have that are based around game night and board game conventions. Game night, in my opinion, should never be about the winning, or losing, it should always be about good times and good people. Game night should bring us back together on a regular basis. Respectful banter is always a plus, it helps strengthen and reinforce those great experiences. To me, that is the power of gaming.