Playing games is often a very social activity, even though I don’t want to neglect the many solo gamers that play an important part in our hobby. However, in this article, I want to focus on multiplayer games. I want to talk about what roles friends fulfil in our hobby. I basically want to write an ode to all the friends I have made through board games. See the following as my love letter to friends everywhere.
I think one of the biggest benefits of all hobbies is that you will make new friends, at least if you regularly spend time in a shared space. Clubs are obviously the ideal place to meet new people. I would argue that there aren’t actually that many board game clubs. Instead, we have a growing number of board game cafes. The difference is that cafes are more for an existing group of friends to meet and spend time together, while clubs are better at welcoming new members and introducing them to people. Saying that, many board game cafes run events where people can come on their own and meet others and hopefully form new friendships.
Board game conventions and similar events are also great places to meet new people. Playing board games generally makes it easier to socialise, because you all have a shared hobby and you can focus on the game, if you don’t like small talk. So at an event with open gaming areas, you can set up your favourite game and will probably find others joining you. If you know the game well, teaching it to others should be easy. However, chances are that the people joining your table will already know the game. Either way, just playing a board game together allows you to make new friends.
If you already have a group of friends, then attending any social space is a great opportunity to attract others. I do remember going to a pub and playing a game with my family, when someone came over to ask us what the game was all about. Of course, if you specifically go to a board game cafe with your friends, you will meet people with a shared interest. So making new connections is much easier in that space.
Once you have found other people to play board games with on a regular basis, the role of these friends will take on another form. I think that playing with friends, rather than strangers, creates a sense of camaraderie. Playing with people you know fosters a positive, enjoyable atmosphere. Everyone will feel comfortable and relaxed.
Moreover, playing board games with friends provides a sense of belonging and community. You and your friends are basically a team. You will learn each others’ loves and hates and particular foibles. As a group, you will connect and bond over a shared interest. The more games you play together, the more likely you are to create lasting memories and inside jokes. The group will remember when someone had an amazing turn at a crucial moment in a specific game. If someone’s dice luck is terrible, that’ll be a thing that you will tease them about, in a friendly way.
Additionally, some board games have a lot of player interaction or require negotiation and teaming up, which will feel a lot more natural and easier when you play these games with friends. It’s always a bit awkward when you need to attack another player, but you’ve only just met them at a board game convention or similar. When you play these games with friends, you know what is acceptable and how others will react. Friends will also be more likely to share their thoughts and experiences and help you improve your own game.
Here’s to Friends
So it does feel like our hobby is a great way of meeting new people and making new friends. If nurtured, these friendships will go on for a long time and provide us with a safe and happy place where we can spend time together. I am very grateful for the friends I’ve made through board games and the friendship group I see regularly to play games with. So, here’s to friends…
How About You?
I wonder if you’ve made friends through the hobby. If so, how and where did you meet them? What are your tips in this respect? Do you have a regular friendship group that you play games with? If so, where and how often do you meet? As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below. It would be so great to hear about your board game friends.
Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (https://www.
The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Lofi by DreamHeaven
Free download: https://filmmusic.io/song/6148-lofi
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license
Artist website: https://www.patreon.com/dreamheaven