Just after I discovered I liked table top games, around this time last year, I looked into what groups are available in my local area. I found a group that met locally once a month, but I just never got around to going. I always seemed to have something else planned that day.
Then a month ago they popped up on Meetup.com that I use for finding social groups. So I joined to keep track and discovered that they now meet twice monthly. I’d written in my diary to attend the session today.
Yesterday I looked at my diary and almost decided not to go, as I am wont to do. I have anxiety issues with meeting new people, let alone big groups of them. I have many times changed my mind about starting something new because of these issues, and it’s been affecting my social life for years. The only societies I ever joined at Keele were ones that my best friend at the time joined with me. Well, I joined dozens. But the only ones I ever attended were the ones where I had a friend with me for the first meeting.
This morning I woke up determined to go to this gaming group, but absolutely terrified. I was so scared! I don’t think I can adequately explain how scared I was, or even why. But anyone with anxiety issues will understand.
After I tested the bus route, and sat in a coffee shop for a while, I was nice and calm. Until I actually started heading to the thing. I chanted a kind of mantra to myself over and over: “I am kind. I am funny. I am clever. I am creative. I am damn sexy.” I said it over and over and over until I was concerned that I’d introduce myself to people as Kind.
But then I was there. And I stood in the corner while people set up, until I saw someone pull out one of my favourite games and I wandered over and started talking.
I ended up in a group with three guys: Stuart, Steven and Nigel. They were all very friendly and welcoming and nice.
First we played Legacy – in which you build your family tree and attempt to gain the most Victory Points through children, reputation, income and so forth.
This was a game I’d never heard of before, but I really liked it 🙂 I think it’s definitely going on my wish list. It was fun, and had a lot of forward planning and strategy. The illustrations were funny and mildly disturbing and the stories we came up with as to why our character was marrying a slut or a stableboy were quite funny.
I didn’t win though. Despite my scheming, I didn’t pay enough attention to my family’s reputation. We were stinking rich by the end of it though, which is enough for me 🙂
After that I had a look around to see what other games people had brought, and I found Takenoko! Which I successfully managed to convince my little group to play.
I won! And although neither of my three competitors had ever played it, they all liked it 🙂 Who doesn’t like pandas and nom nom noises?
Next up Stuart taught us how to play Guildhall. Which is a really colourful card game.
It appears deceptively simple at first. You collect one of each of five characters for each profession to create guilds. Simple! Yay – pretty colours and collecting. And then within minutes your brain is full of schemes and strategy and all sorts of plotting!
There is lots of backstabbing too. There are assassins. Need I say more?
I started off quite well… I was halfway towards the goal of 20 VP before the others had really started. Then all of a sudden I was losing and they all had lots more VP than me. But then, right before my eyes, I had the right cards and could play them in the right order and set myself up to win. Everyone knew that I would win on my next turn and there was nothing they could do about it. Although Steven tried his damnedest to delay the inevitable.
We finished Guildhall 10.40 and my list was due at 11, so I wasn’t sure we’d get another game in, but Stuart pulled Love Letter out of his bag.
This is another game I’ve played before, and I love. It’s very quick, very simple, but very evil. Sometimes you can draw a card and you’re left with no choice but to knock yourself out of the round.
All for the love of the Princess.
I won this one too 🙂
Winning three out of four games is a good way to like a new group 🙂
I did have a brilliant time, and I’m so very glad I managed to overcome the anxiety and walk on in there. I’m definitely going back. And next time I won’t be afraid 🙂