Friday, March 7, 2014

My First Successful Game Night

Yes, we even played Spot-It.

Unless you have a dedicated group of friends who LOVE board games and are willing to put time aside to play, gathering friends for game nights is a chore. People have work to do, appointments to keep, and errands to run. And even if you get willing participants, pinpointing the precise moment in which everyone's free time is in unison is a game in itself. Frankly, I have better odds getting a bulls-eye on a dartboard.

And while these game nights are grand fun, it comes at such a tiring expense. Tag on the fact that the next one may be a couple months down the line, and you have terribly-long downtimes between plays.

Starting Fresh and New


It started with a casual meetup with local friends on a Friday night, getting together to play some multiplayer video games in front of one TV, as in days past (yeah, online can suck it). Groups usually were never less than 4 people, and we'd have a loud time playing Towerfall most of the time, winding down the night with some retro gaming goodness. The end of the work week was a perfect time to hang out late, even though we usually last for 3-4 hours.

One night, someone brought Liar's Dice to play. The game was taught quickly, and people were soon enjoying themselves very much! As people chaotically laughed at each passing round, I casually dropped in other board games that I thought would be fun to play. People's ears perked up as I poured description over description of many games in my collection, many whom never even HEARD of the games that I thought were classics in the genre.

The Window


"Why don't I bring some games over next time," I suggest, to a sea of nodding heads.

And just like that, I've become THE man who brings the games to game night. I'm no longer the "bridesmaid" - I'm the "bride"! Er...you know what I mean...

After a few busy Friday nights, I finally set a Friday game night! I eagerly piled all the games on my stack and steadily carried them to my car. The drive was only minutes away, but I drove as if my life depended on it!


Escape: The Curse of the Temple would be my starter - something simple and quick in 10 minutes. Then it would be Pandemic, a classic co-op that I know would work. I also brought along Boss Monsters and Blueprints, as other fillers. And Formula D would be the "long shot" choice to suggest, should they want something more meatier. (well, compared to what I was bringing)

My First Organized Game Night

When I arrived, there were 4 people total, which was perfect. I cleared the table, got Escape out, and covered the basic rules. It was mutually decided that we would stand while playing, because dice = Vegas = roulette, apparently. After setting up for the basic game (minus the curses and treasures), handing the dice, and prepping the soundtrack, we were off!


The first game was a travesty. Everyone missed getting back to the center room TWICE, and we were all left with 3 dice apiece to fend for ourselves. The game ended with everyone screaming at the table in a fury of flying fists and f-bombs, exhausting everyone. It was a terrible first game, but it was spectacular how everyone immediately discussed what went wrong, and agreed to move as a team. I smiled pretty hard at that. It wasn't long until we started a second game to test that theory out.


The second game was closer, but success was still out of reach near the final seconds before the door shut. With a renewed sense of adventure, we braved the temple once more.


This time, people got out. We unloaded the gems in record time, and we were doing our best to find the exit and get out. It was the closest game we had, with one person left at the exit as the door slammed shut on him. People cursed at me for making my escape moments before, accusing me of betrayal. "How could you leave him behind?? He went back to save you, man!!" All the jabs and jests were in good fun, and we all had a good laugh.

This. This was what I've always wanted. No video game or social media can match this. This was pure fun at its heart, and we were all harnessing the energy from each other. What happened next, however, surprised me.

A Long Shot


In the wake of an exhaustive Escape marathon, one of my friends pulled out Formula D and wanted to check it out. Flustered, I struggled to contain my enthusiasm as I described the gameplay mechanic of dice-rolling to "race" around the track. I didn't utter no more than that sentence when he said, "sure, let's play this next."

I wasted no time setting the game up, which practically eclipsed the small table! After a rocky tutorial start, we were off on the track! I'll just let the photos speak for themselves...

And they're off!

I take the lead!!

One of the tightest turns that night...

Around here, people were realizing the power of dice rolls.

Still ended up very close near the end.

And the first to cross the finish line...was ME!!

Jackpot


We ended the game after one lap, but everyone was in a gaming high.

"Let's do this again!" "What else do you have?" "I know some others who would want to join!" 

"We can definitely do this every Friday night!"

There it was. That's what I wanted to hear.

And sure enough, tonight's the second game night. I'll be bringing Pandemic to play, since we didn't get around to it last time. I may make my "long shot" to be Lords of Waterdeep, though with this excitement, I don't think I'll be calling it a "long shot" anymore.

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