I think I’ve played games on Tabletop Day before – sessions in an RPG campaign that happened to fall on the day, or whatever – but this year was the first time I actually celebrated it. My local nerd pit Dark Sphere was kind enough to host, opening up their impressively large gaming space and collection of board and card games, for the princely sum of a £1 all-day cover fee. It was a great day, a wonderful opportunity to acquaint myself with gamers I didn’t know, and as good a time as any to set myself a test for the year ahead.
Hence #51in15, a challenge set by Epidiah Ravachol to play 51 different tabletop games in 2015. The follow up post on Ravachol’s blog sets a series of optional bonus criteria, but the main thing is to play lots of different games across the year.
I saw people posting their own #51in15 contributions back in January/February, but wasn’t entirely clear on the rules. Like, did they have to be games you’ve never played before? (They don’t.) Does a game count twice if you play it twice? (It doesn’t.) Since I am a nerd, I figured that if I wasn’t clear on the rules, the best thing to do was not to partake at all. Which I thought was reasonable? (It wasn’t.)
Now I’ve discovered the original blog post and rules, I’m giving the challenge a go. Of course, starting three months into the year is a pretty severe handicap, but I’m feeling optimistic. I’ll see if I can squeeze everything into the year, but if I can’t, I’ll just cheat and call Tabletop Day my Geek New Year.
My starting five (all played on Tabletop Day) are:
Werewolf deserves a special mention – a 21 player game, 2 hours or so long, which I managed to stay in until the very end. Hidden role games, like Avalon and Masquerade, are probably my favourite kind of board games, and Werewolf (also known as Mafia or Murder) is the ur-example; yet I’d never actually played it before. I enjoyed it, though it was somewhat disappointing to lose from a basic misunderstanding of the rules – we all thought the number of werewolves in play was more than it actually was. I also feel sorry for all the people who died in the first ten minutes, and had nothing to do except watch or go home. Ultimately, whilst I’m extremely grateful for the rare opportunity to play a game this big and this classic, there’s a reason why variants like Ultimate One Night Werewolf are becoming so much more popular. Requiring less players, running much shorter, and not eliminating anyone from the game are all major pros; even if I’d be lying to say I got no thrill from surviving to the end of such a big, long, bloodsoaked game.
Obviously I won’t be doing a blog post every time I play another game for #51in15, but I might return to it every two months or so. Let’s see how I manage.