March 14th, 2011

monkey pirate

Blast From the Past

With pyr8queen out for the weekend, it seemed prime time to spend some time in a fashion that few, if any, females would choose to participate. No one volunteered for the "Hot Box Fart Smelling Competition" (more's the pity) seemed like card games and board games was the way to go.

When I was a young sprout, I had a bunch of friends who used to get together almost every Friday night to play board games. We played "Rail Barons" (I think that's what it was called), "Nuclear War", "Cosmic Encounter" and other old school games over and over again. I was just 16 or so, and though my friends were all older, we didn't drink or anything like that. This was before the days of WoW or, for that matter, really the internet. There were no online games to play, no online communities to meet other hobbyists. No Tivo, and computer games were just what I could get for my C-64, and were never intended for more than one player at a time generally.

So yeah, lots of boardgames. I spent most of my weekends on variations of that, and games like D&D. But not all my nerd friends were into RPGs, so board games were always a reasonable compromise.

So hanging out with a bunch of dudes (trekker315, daogre, joemorf, cacofunny and nephandi, to be precise) with no women in sight was a blast from the past. There might have been some drinking though. We stayed up ridiculously late, ran through some old favorites and a game that was new to most of it, and were generally unabashedly nerdy.

Life has gone on. I haven't spent a weekend night nerding out with dudes in a long time because, generally, the stuff I end up doing is more interesting, and sometimes even involves girls! I think kids who are today the same age I was back then, are probably not getting together to do tabletop RPG or boardgames as much as I did back then. There are so many alternatives, online console gaming, MMORPGs, etc etc. Also there are so many tools for community-building online. Even if you're (just randomly, for instance) a gamer nerd in King of Prussia, PA, and there just aren't any others in your area - today you can easily go online and find birds of a feather anywhere from Malvern to Moscow. It's funny how that means people more easily identify with a group (I suspect) and yet probably spend less actual time interacting in-person.

Today, I forget how fraught with neuroses and anxiety that time in my life was - so it seems like some sort of golden age of leisure. Not a care in the world, and so what if I didn't have a girlfriend? I always had something to do, and a group of friends to do it with. Today my friends are all much busier, and so we can't rely on a regular weekend night when they're available for something nerdy but low-stress. The demands of work, family, and the daily care of animals, vehicles, chores and so forth leave me with far less free time.

I don't think any of us would trade what's filling up the hours for more time playing board games ... but that doesn't make me feel any less nostalgic today for those long, liquid summers doing nothing in particular around a kitchen table with my friends.
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