Board Everyday Podcast #19 – Tabletop Day Recap

This week we recap our Tabletop Day festivities, discuss some crowdfunding campaigns, and talk about what we’ve been playing.

This episode contains portions of “Vodka and Beer” by The Vivisectors, licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Find more at thevivisectors.bandcamp.com

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Saturday is International TableTop Day

Tomorrow marks one of my favorite days of the year: International TableTop Day! I know that there’s a trend of late to make a holiday out of everything: pancakes, leg warmers, comfy pants…you name it, there’s a “day” for it. But this is one I can actually get behind!

Last year I did a series of pieces on hosting your own TableTop Day event, and if you’re planning to do so, make sure to check those out.

But, whether you’re hosting an event or attending someone else’s event? HAVE FUN. You’re going to play games! I encourage you to sit down, have some laughs, enjoy the company of fellow gamers, and maybe bring some new people into the fold.

Be sure to check out Board Everyday on Twitter (@BoardEveryday) and Instagram for coverage of our event!

International TableTop Day – April 30th

TTRPG_imgIf there’s one thing gamers love, it’s having an excuse to play a LOT of games. And sure, you don’t really need an excuse, but sometimes it will facilitate the process. Weekly game nights are great and all, but we’re talking about a LOT of games. Like so many games it’s on a seven deadly sins level of gluttony. Hell, that’s half the reason I love going to game conventions.

Of course, conventions only happen at certain times and in certain areas.  But you know what DOES happen soon that you will absolutely be able to make? International TableTop Day! And it’s coming up on April 30th!

This holiday, created by the good folks at Geek & Sundry, is one dedicated to tabletop gaming. All across the world, game stores and other groups are organizing events, getting gamers together, and spending the whole day playing games!

To see if there’s an event in your area, head on over to the International TableTop Day page and enter your zip code. And if you don’t see anything? Well you can always throw your own event! Last year I did a series of posts about things to think about when planning your ITTD event – it’s easier than you might think!

2015 International TableTop Day Recap

Another TableTop Day has come and gone and I’m reminded of why I look forward to it every year! My day started…well, at night! I went to my friendly local game store, Brap’s Magic, and got my gaming on early. It started out at midnight with a four person game of Shadows over Camelot. I, as Sir Tristan, did all I could to prevent the spread of evil throughout the land…but alas, the goodly knights were sabotaged by a traitor in our midst. I do love this game, even though others have come out which have improved on the general concept.

When we were almost finished, a few more friends showed up and we spent the rest of the night playing The Resistance. I have to admit that it was the most fun I’ve ever had with that game. My group hasn’t quite gotten into the “talk” aspect as much, and that really makes or breaks the game. Several games of this, including a few where I was an excellent (if I do say so myself!) spy, and we called it a night. Er…morning. It was almost five at that point.

Around noon people showed up at our place and we started cranking things up! At the busiest time we had 12 people playing three different games, and everyone had a wonderful time! I’ll share a few pictures from the day, but what about you? How was your TableTop Day? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!

 

King of Tokyo is always a good opener.
King of Tokyo is always a good opener.
Two-player games, like Patchwork, came out for in-between times.
Two-player games, like Patchwork, came out for in-between times.
The ladies enjoyed the theme of Rampage quite a bit!
The ladies enjoyed the theme of Rampage quite a bit!
Harbour made an appearance.
Harbour made an appearance.
Here's me teaching a game of Viticulture.
Here’s me teaching a game of Viticulture.

 

International TableTop Day – The Final Countdown

We’ve arrived. Tomorrow is International TableTop Day and you’re well on your way to hosting your event! Today is the day where we’ll make sure that your event space, no matter where it is, has everything you need. So let’s look at the day’s activities and get a list together.

Basic considerations: 

  • Clean the space. If it’s your home, clean the common areas and the bathroom – anywhere people wind up. If it’s a space you’re renting out, try to get in there a little early and check things out.
  • Stock the bathroom. Make sure you’ve got toilet paper and soap, along with paper towels.
  • Lighting. This one is often overlooked – make sure people can see when they are gaming. Lamps are portable and most people have at least one floor lamp. It’s a BYOL TableTop Day!
  • Water. Pick up a case of bottled water at the grocery store. You’ll be glad you did.

Things for gaming:

  • Tables. You’ll need to make sure that you’ve got tables enough so everyone can play different games at the same time. Folding tables, for example, are big enough to accommodate most games and will work.
  • Chairs. Tables are great, but if people can’t sit down they won’t do you a whole lot of good. If you’ve rented a space they will usually have plenty of both of these.
  • Games. If it’s at your place, obviously your games will be there. If not? Pack up what you think you’ll need. You don’t need to bring 200 games, but have the bases we chatted about covered. If you’ve made arraignments for people to bring some games, send a friendly reminder to them today.
  • Player aids. If you’ve printed anything like that out, make sure to package them with their appropriate game.

Things if there will be food:

  • Place settings. Sorry. I’m getting married this year. I’m sure there’s a simpler term, but I don’t know what it is. Plates, napkins, cutlery, cups. Make sure you’ve got these things. Or ask people to bring some of them.
  • Food. If you’re making something, pick up the ingredients. If guests are bringing things, reach out to them today. If everyone is ordering from a restaurant, a quick “make sure you bring food money” email will suffice.
  • Cleaning wipes. Something to clean the tables once food is done. No need to get pizza sauce on your copy of Dominion, after all.

Other possibilities: 

  • Music. I like to have music on while I game. Others might as well, so having some on hand would be nice. Even a laptop with Spotify or Pandora would be good.
  • Cell phone chargers. Someone is always running out of juice.
  • Decorations. Hey, make it festive if you want to…this is a fun day!

Depending on your situation, you might think of other things you need, but this list should cover the basics and job your memory for anything else that might come along.

And there you have it! Tomorrow is the big day, and you’re ready! Hopefully these posts gave you some good ideas and encouraged you to throw your own event. If not? Try to find one and go play some games tomorrow. This is a day all about GAMES, after all. It would be a shame not to play!

International TableTop Day – Prepping for the Games

International TableTop Day is on April 11th. Two days left. You’ve set up the event, the invites have been extended, and you’ve picked out some games. TableTop Day is right around the corner and it’s time to prep the games for the day.

Well, prepping the games might not be 100% accurate. Prepping yourself for the games is more like it.

As the host of a TableTop Day event, or any gaming event, it may very well fall on you to set up and explain the games that get played. You might wind up with a group that are board game veterans, or you could wind up with people that haven’t played before…or maybe a mix of both. Chances are good that you will, at the very least, have to give a brief overview of each game to people. Hopefully you’ll have a couple people there that can help, but you would be remiss to not prepare yourself just in case.

Learn the game. As you might wind up teaching the games, it would be a good idea to actually know the games. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert at the game, or even know strategies, but you should know how the game works. If it’s one you know, but haven’t played in a while? You should still brush up on it. A couple weeks ago we went over some tips on how to learn a new game. Many of these can be applied to re-learning a game as well.

Print out player aids. Depending on the game, a player aid can really make or break someone’s experience. Once you venture into the medium-weight and heavier games, they become more and more necessary. These can be as simple as a reminder of what each one of your pieces will do, and as detailed as going over every action you can take. If you’re looking for something like this, visit BoardGameGeek. For most games you’ll find a wealth of player aids that will help even the newest player pick up a game quickly. Make an account, and give them a thumbs up for their effort.

Figure out how to teach the game. Sounds simple, right? But you don’t want to bumble through teaching people how to play Game X if the people wanting to play Game Y are waiting for you to teach them as well. If it’s a game you haven’t taught before, or at least not in a while, it can help to run through a mock-teaching of the game. If you need advice on how to teach a game to people, there are some tips for that as well.

Get the games you’ll need. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy them. Borrow them. Have someone bring them along. Or, sure. Buy them. Remember, you don’t need to have EVERY game that you think might work out. Just have some of the bases covered and you’ll be fine.

Remember, you aren’t just the host. For most of you “Game Master” would be a more appropriate title. Being prepared will make your day go a lot smoother and give your guests a much better experience!

Tomorrow we’ll go over the final preparations for your event. Just a few small details and you’ll be ready to go!

International TableTop Day – Choosing the Games

International TableTop Day is only three days away and you’ve gotten the word out about your event. Now let’s get down to the fun part: choosing some games!

Whoa, whoa, WHOA. What are you doing with that copy of Twilight Imperium? You’re planning on a six player game, you say? Hold it right there. Put down the box and step back for a second. Is this really the right call? Well, in very rare cases, it might be. But let’s break down how to make sure of that fact. Taking a look at your invite list is the first, and most crucial, step to figuring out what games to choose.

One of the reasons TableTop Day was formed was to increase exposure to this hobby and to get more people playing games. Chances are pretty good that some of the people attending your event are going to be new to the hobby. Throwing a six-hour space monster at them is a good way to make sure that they never return.

The first thing you can do? Ask people what they’d like to play. You might have four people just chomping at the bit to play Belfort. Maybe a Cosmic Encounter slugfest is requested. Some people will remember the game, but not the names. This can be very helpful. Once you’re done with this you’ll want to fill in the gaps.

So take a look at your list. Do you know most of the people? If so, you are probably aware of their gaming experience. If you don’t know some or most of the people? Send out a message and ask them! Having this knowledge will allow you to effectively prepare games for the day. Whatever the results, I would recommend choosing games to accommodate the most inexperienced person there.

Now that you’ve taken a look at who’s coming, let’s pick some games! Now, I’m going to throw some specific titles at you, but the important thing is the style of game…so substitute as you see fit.

  • As you’re probably going to have some new players, having some entry-level games can’t hurt. These are typically going to play in an hour or less and you can explain them in five or so minutes. There’s the old favorites like Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne and the newer games like King of Tokyo, Harbour, and Kingdom Builder.
  • You’re going to want to have some light to mediumweight games for when people want to dig in a little more. Viticulture, Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Power Grid, Puerto Rico, Agricola, etc. These are going to take a little more investment from the players, but are still able to be grasped by many.
  • Social or party games are a must have for a day like this. A good number of games in this genre are going to allow for more players in the same game…and that can be fun. Cash & Guns, Wits & Wagers, Pictomania, Telestrations…the list could go on forever with these. They are light and fun, which will help engage people that are new to the fold.
  • Having some filler and two player games is a great idea as well. You’re going to have people coming and going throughout the day and the chances of every game starting and ending at the same time are pretty slim. Machi Koro, Splendor, For Sale, and Coloretto pop into my head right away for this category.
  • If you really want to cover your bases, have a couple cooperative games hanging around as well. Pandemic, Flash Point, or either of the Forbidden games are excellent choices here. Not everyone is jazzed about competition, so this could be a great time to show people that sometimes board games are all about cooperating.
  • And yes…it’s fine to have some heavy games there as well. You never know when a few people will want to splinter off and do their own thing for a few hours.

You may have to call some people to fill in some gaps in this list. Or, as most gamers would do, you can use this as an excuse to buy a couple new games! But try to hit as many of these groups as possible. Especially with a larger group, variety is truly needed.

Come on back tomorrow when we’ll go over what you, as host and Game Master, should do to prepare!