So far, I’ve talked a lot about what we’ve done when we’ve found ourselves in a city or location that doesn’t have an active gaming population. You’ve read about the difficulties of not having a game group, and how to still get your fix when no one you know wants to game. Now for a better experience we’ve had.
When my wife and I travelled to Santa Fe, New Mexico for work, I was a little excited before we even left. Of course, I had gotten on meet up and googled game stores, and sure enough, a meetup game group existed. At first glance, it didn’t have a lot of people RSVP for events, but I wasn’t too worried about it. Those are rarely accurate. I also noticed that this group hosted a gaming meetup every Monday evening at a local comic book store. I figured that was a good thing that there was enough interest to have a weekly gathering. I was cautiously optimistic.
We arrived in Santa Fe at about 5:30 on a Monday evening, and as badly as I wanted to dump all of our stuff at our apartment and hurry to the game night, my wife(again the voice of reason) reiterated to me that it would be better to unpack our things and get organized instead of hurrying off to game night. I was disappointed, but one of the reasons I married her was because she’s typically smarter than me.
The next week we packed up a bag of board games and headed to the comic store. There’s always some nerves when you go to an event where you aren’t going to know anybody. Fortunately, those nerves were quickly settled. I don’t remember what game we played that first night, or even who we played with, but I will tell you that the group of gamers that they have out in Santa Fe are a pretty awesome bunch. We felt super welcomed and invited to be a part of the group, not just some participants. Every Monday thereafter, as well as every Wednesday at a different venue, my wife and I made sure to get together with our new gaming friends. The community out there did it right. If you were new, there was always someone to introduce themselves and play a game with you. Rarely did people attend an event, play a game or two, and leave without at least one or two people going out of their way to make newcomers feel welcomed.
When our time in Santa Fe had come to an end, we were very sad and disappointed to have to leave this new group that we had become a part of. I had made genuine friends that had extended beyond the surface level. We had gotten to know each other and develop relationships that normally wouldn’t have been created in such a short time. I look forward to the day when I’ll be able to get back to Santa Fe to see that gaming group again or hopefully cross paths with them at a convention or 2.
I really feel that that’s the power of gaming. The ability to take total strangers and put them in a setting where you can interact with one another while getting to know each other. It provides a medium for developing relationships.
Like I mentioned above, while South Carolina had been a difficult state to be in, New Mexico was the exact opposite. I’m sure I would have made friends and gotten to know people, but I don’t know how well that would have been without board games.
What great friendships have been created for you because of gaming?