01 Jul Board Gaming: A Hobby of Perpetual Learning
For the last several days, I have been considering what to write about for this blog. Honestly, I have been playing a ton of new (well, new to me) games in the last week or two, but nothing seemed to be the “right” choice for this blog. Many of the games I have played in the past week are definitely worth talking about in the upcoming weeks, but none of them were speaking to me in the way they typically do. As I continued to contemplate each play-through, my thoughts kept coming back to board gaming as a whole rather than speaking about one game in particular. Dwelling on the hobby and considering what it has provided my life with, I realized one major constant throughout the hobby: board gaming promotes perpetual learning.
Beyond sitting down to learn new rules, there is an entire learning component from the social aspects of board gaming. Whether it is how an individual handles loss or navigating conversations with new members to a gaming group, there is always potential to learn from those surrounding you. Sometimes this takes the form of reading the group and trying to pick a game that won’t fall flat with the group you’ve assembled. Sometimes it’s knowing that you group is growing frustrated with your analysis paralysis and making a change to your gaming approach to alleviate tension. There are always opportunities to observe and learn more about others who are sharing the experience.
Beyond a social dynamic, board gaming can bring about other hobbies as well. In a forum I participate in on Facebook, I have seen multiple postings about board game tables people have designed and built themselves. Now some of them look like craftsman, but others clearly attempted something new (furniture building) to enhance their own gaming experience. Building a table is not easy! But people are learning these new skills because of board gaming. I, myself, have begun making boxes out of wood to store different card games in and create my own “deluxe edition” of some of the smaller games we play a lot.
Others have taken to the virtual world of board gaming online. Playing games with Tabletop Simulator and using Vassal Mods can take a bit of work to learn, but people are putting in the time. Tabletopia, while a simpler platform to learn, also can take some time to master, but people are learning what they need to and are getting things down in the digital space. To play some games with friends halfway across the nation, I found myself building a webcam rack to point a camera at my table to lead physical games online. In doing so, while still an amateur, I learned how to use Open Broadcaster Software to display multiple cameras at the same time for a Discord chat. I would never have done so if it weren’t for my love of board gaming.
Looking back, I remember my first convention. I had never been to any convention for something I was particularly interested in, so I found myself looking for every resource available about the con. In this case, it was Origins. By the time I was done researching, I had mapped out the entire city of Columbus and marked all the local restaurants that looked good. I had created a priority list of every booth I needed to visit and had a list, highlighted in different colors, outlining the games I would most likely enjoy at each booth. The hobby placed me in a position to learn all about Columbus and pushed me to create an organized itinerary, something I would have never done otherwise.
All in all, what I find myself reflecting on these days is that this community naturally attracts individuals that love to learn. Whether it is figuring out the best option for victory by continuously playing the same game or it is constantly reading through new rule books and teaching others to play, the experience of gaming is wrapped in learning. Board gaming also pushes people to learn other new things outside of the gaming space. How have you seen this in your own experiences? Have you learned new things for the sake of the hobby? Do you find yourself learning more because of it?
Thank you for reading and always keep on gaming,