Why who you game with matters
I have been hosting a regular game night for over 20 years now and have come to the realization that who you game with matters. The recent pandemic has had an impact on my normal gaming opportunities just as I am sure it has had on everyone. We went from meeting together weekly to finding other avenues to play, such as playing online, using apps, or playing solo games or using computerized games to play loved games alone.
At first, playing online was a great solution. Friends could still gather via chat of other media options to still meet, play games, and talk. My group was quite often six or more people, which began to clog up the chat and conversation. The chat window became a big distraction from the game, and voice conversations started to become jumbled and frustrating to follow if the group ever started to play two different games. As a result I converted to turn based games, where players could take a turn and I would get an email or a push notification that it was my turn to play. Still a big fan of this option even after game night has started to return to normal.
But, even online gaming began to wear on me. It just was not the same. The joy I receive from playing board games is from the connections I make at the table. The relationships we build, the comradery that forms, the experiences we share. All of these reasons are why I have had a regular game night each week. Yes, the games are fun too, but it is the people that matter most.
Each year I set gaming goals. So far I have met my goals. 2020 meant most of those games were played solo or online. I was able to still meet all of those goals, but the joy that comes from working on and completing those goals had weakened for sure. It was a year where it felt more like I was simply punching a card instead of embracing those evenings. As we slowly come back to in person gaming the realization of who we game with matters more and more.