Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: Countdown to International Tabletop Day 2018

I love that there is a day in the year dedicated to Tabletop Gaming. Sure there are Cons all over the place that dedicate days upon days to gaming, but I am fond of there being a "holiday" for gaming.

I remember the very first International Tabletop Day (ITTD) on March 30, 2013. My middle school game club hosted our first spring  event on that day. I'll be honest... there weren't a great many participants, but we all had fun gaming. Since then we've hosted our Spring event on International Tabletop Day, until last year when it fell at a very bad time in the school year: Spring Break. But when my students first found out about International Tabletop Day, they thought it was so cool and since then it has been something special that my veteran club kids have come to appreciate.

The day sprung out of the viral sensation of the Geek & Sundry show Tabletop hosted by Wil Wheaton. Tabletop has become iconic for thrusting tabletop gaming into the spotlight and, while I was a gamer before the show, the show itself has a special place in my heart. We even backed their Season 3 and had our name on the wall on the set. I am very proud of that. Myself and my students love Tabletop so much, at GenCon in 2016 my students asked me to give him a shirt, a letter, a picture, and our club pin, inducting him as a member of our club. I didn't get to meet him myself, but he gladly accepted our invitation. I also felt embarrassed, though, that I gave him the wrong size shirt. Have I mentioned how much I suck at guessing shirt sizes? I made sure to give all my students a copy of his acceptance and it's something my club treasures very much.

So International Tabletop Day is near and dear to my heart. I wanted to share a whole history of the day here, but really there isn't much to share. As I dug around for historical information, I learned that someone who had a falling out with the show is the one who was able to really get the day out there, which made me mildly disappointed, but at least it started something that has lasted 6 years. On the International Tabletop Day site, it says this day has been around for 7 years, but I think that might be incorrect considering all other sources indicate 2013 as being the first International Tabletop Day. It was in the works, according to Wheaton's blog, prior to 2013, but 2013 was the first official year that they hosted the event. Regardless, the event has had staying power and I love it.

The day is not only for gamers to get together with friends or to play at home, but it's something to build a community. Geek & Sundry has live-streamed their events and now you can watch them on Twitch. Game stores and cafes host events. My local store one year hosted the Exploding Kittens event. The stores also get promos to hand out to people who attend. I love the promos, but at a certain point had trouble getting them and it made me sad. We hosted events, but due to not being a retailer, we were not able to get swag for those who attended our event (it was a community event).

Since my local store, which I love and adore, will probably be celebrating the day this year, I thought that I would change things up for my students and we're going to be hosting one of our club lock-ins that night. Well... the Friday night leading into Saturday so that at midnight we can ring in the holiday with bells and whistles. I ordered a promotions kit so I can get the kids super psyched about the event. I'll definitely be blogging about that, because it should be a pretty big deal... well... if the kids remembered to notify their parents of the date before a week before the event. Kids... sheesh.

This year, though, I thought, in honor of this year's International Tabletop Day and also my return to the world of gaming, I would participate in a countdown to International Tabletop Day. After 4 seasons of Tabletop, I reflected on how much it has affected me as a gamer. As I went through the list of episodes from the four seasons, I had these little reflections about several of the games and how they have meaning for me, beyond just it being a good game. So I've decided to do a countdown to International Tabletop Day by posting about games that have been on Tabletop that I have a personal connection to. This is not a list of my favorite games or a list of ranks, just games that have a personal story to go along with them.

So here's to International Tabletop Day 2018 and the legacy of Tabletop!

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