Another Tabletop Day success

WARNING: FEELS AHEAD.

This was submitted to As Seen On Tabletop:

When I first heard about International Tabletop Day, I was very excited. Every day I typed the postcode of my nearest city into the page and was thrilled when I found an event listed. Growing up in regional Australia meant that I wasn’t exposed to gamer culture growing up – as an adult living in a city means there are opportunities to find other like-minded people and to share the joy of gaming with friends and family.

But when the date drew near I realised that International Tabletop Day was on Holy Saturday. I couldn’t attend the big function I was so excited about. The Easter Holidays have always been spent at my parent’s house in a small coastal town. And this Easter was going to be a particularly difficult one. My father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in December, just before Christmas He was only in his early 60’s, and seemed healthy. His death has devastated our family, especially my mother. She has really struggled to come to terms with his death. There have been a lot of challenges in the past few months, especially with my younger sister leaving for a semester studying abroad in America just three weeks after Dad’s funeral. So this Easter would not only be spent without Dad, but without my sister as well.

The rest of the family all headed down to Mum’s house for Easter. I wondered what could be done to make it less of a gloomy occasion. Inspiration struck – International Tabletop Day could still be marked. After dinner everyone sat around the dining room table and played Fluxx. It was suitably chaotic (I was the only person who had played Fluxx before) but soon everyone was laughing and groaning when the rules got more and more complex. Even though Mum had never played the game before, she won every game but two. I hadn’t seen her laugh so much or so hard since before Dad died. It helped bring everyone together for something joyous, a fitting was to pass the Vigil before the joys of Easter Day.

So thank you, International Tabletop Day, for helping make our first Easter without Dad that little bit easier.

Stories like this just keep coming in, from all over the world, and I honestly don’t know how to fully process them. At the moment, all I can do is smile, weep joyfully a little bit, and feel immense gratitude to all the people who helped make Tabletop Day happen.

16 thoughts on “Another Tabletop Day success”

  1. Seriously, TableTop Day produced one of the best parties we’ve ever thrown at our house, and we throw more than 1 parties a year. We had about a dozen people over from at least four different friend groups, and over the course of six hours, we played seven different games! Then, to follow up, we played two more after Easter brunch!

    You, Felicia and the Geek and Sundry team have done something wonderful. You have helped return the soul television (is that accurate if it’s not broadcast? Did television ever really have one? Whatever.) Your channel is on our regular watch list along with the likes of Buffy, Dr. Who and HBO series. In my mind, it is at that level of greatness. It has heart, and honesty, which is so rare these days. Keep fighting the good fight.

  2. Wil, You’re just this guy, you know, who’s done a lot of good in the world. You bring people joy. I hope you are proud of that. You should be.

  3. Hi Wil, I hope you will consider making a collection of these Tabletop Day stories if only so that people can see the positive effect that gaming has on us human beings.

    1. Second!! This would make a *wonderful* book.

      So glad to hear that International Tabletop Day was such a success. I am doubly glad to hear that some folks who may have entered with some trepidation, actually came out with not only new games, but new friends (& a job!!) as well. Congratulations to all who participated – you ALL made it happen!!

  4. My Tabletop Event was pretty low-key. First one of my roommates, my brother, a friend from work, another roommate’s boyfriend and I played Munchkin Booty. We used army pieces from a Lord of the Rings version of Risk as our tokens, which were surprisingly hard to see on the Peanuts Easter tablecloth. About half the group had played Munchkin before and half hadn’t, but we had tons of fun. I cheated for the first time ever and WON! Then we lost the boyfriend and played a couple rounds of D&D Clue (some of the suspect pieces are really hard to tell apart); lost my roommate and the remaining three of us played Phase 10. As I said, low-key evening, but it was meaningful to me. My brother came to town last minute for a big gaming conference, and it was lovely to have a fun way to spend time with him.

    My goal for next year is to make it to one of the participating stores during the day and then play with a new game that night. Thanks for the memories!

  5. “At the moment, all I can do is smile, weep joyfully a little bit, and feel immense gratitude to all the people who helped make Tabletop Day happen.” –and please, keep sharing them with us. It helps keep the spirit alive.

  6. Wil et al,

    I’m glad everyone had a good time. We didn’t fare so well at our “function”.

    I called ahead when I noticed a game store a that’s about two miles from our house was hosting, the others being on the other side of the city (Phoenix). It’s a store called something like “Game Days” (name slightly obscured to protect… no one) ;) Anyhow, it’s located in a mall and not the largest storefront, so I asked if there would be room for me and my two daughters, 8 and 12. They said it should be ok. When I asked if it would spill out into the mall walking area, they said they couldn’t as they’d have to pay for that. I understood the situation.

    A few weeks later, when The Day rolled around, I packed up the kids and drove over. Kids were excited! When we walked in, there was no one playing games. Just a table with some swag you guys sent. I did tell the kids to grab some, but the fact is the store hadn’t really planned on gaming at all. It was just a ploy to lure people into the store imo. VERY disappointing. We did grab some card game samples (Spot It! and one other), and have played them until the 10 card sampler was no longer enjoyable. We would like to grab the whole pack, but not from them.

    The girls were appeased by going to Best Buy, which I despise, to look for a 3D Blue Ray to take home and enjoy. Of course they had a horrible selection. Called the wife and we went home and watched 3D “Wreck-it Ralph” as a family from On Demand which was a kind of fun. It just wasn’t the same. <–That's a complete understatement. Lincoln had a bad night at the theatre being another.

    Perhaps, if this goes on next year, you should only send said swag to locations that actually plan to play games. Keep it up, I'm sure the good times far out-weighed the bad!

    1. This is incredibly disappointing and quite upsetting to me. Would you please email me the name of the store?

  7. In this modern world, where bad news sells and cynicism is rife, it does the heart wonders to see how something simple can act to bring people together in the midst of adversity or loss and make their lives a little better. Thanks for sharing, Wil.

  8. Hi Wil, I’m just wondering if you can comment on the Part 1 Stream of Tabletop not working on youtube? I wasn’t able to watch it live and was really looking forward to watching it. I watched the entire part 2 stream but I wanted to watch part 1 as well. Part 2 is great….Help

  9. Hi Wil,

    I saw an old friend this weekend and the conversation came around to Star Trek (despite long-suffering looks from our partners). He reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about for years – the Star Trek Role Playing Game. We were at school together in the ’90s, when TNG was big over here (we always get US programmes a year or so after they’ve aired over there). Once he’d mentioned it, the memories came flooding back. My circle of friends weren’t the nerdiest kids but we certainly weren’t the cool kids either. Between us though, we came up with a complex RPG where every player had a ship with different shielding, weapons and top speed. We took it in turns to run the game and this person (Dungeon Master? doesn’t sound right but I can’t remember the phrase we used) would come up with a map and adventures for each player, who would gradually learn about the region of space as they explored. When the ships met, combat or diplomacy would ensue. As the meta-game progressed, we came up with a system that allowed us to improve our ships. All you needed was a pad of paper, a couple of dice, and some pens.

    I had such a happy glow of nostalgia remembering those hours in classrooms during rainy lunch hours and once on a cross-Channel ferry on a school trip to France, and it struck me that I still see almost all those people, 15 years after we left school.

    I told my friend about what you are doing these days, something about Tabletop, and I shared the story from this post with him. It’s easy to forget in our rushed modern world but it’s such a simple thing – playing together brings people together.

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