Game nights at our house are big events. They are loud, and hot with flocks of wild children circling the perimeter. There are usually from twelve to twenty people in attendance, and food, drink, triumph, defeat, collaboration and snark enough in plenty for anyone. To add to the general frenzy of it all, our house is like a circus, we have three areas where something is always happening.
At the front of our house, is an ‘L’ of couches in front of our fireplace. This is where small games can be played on our coffee table, or great huge social games with few parts, or for people who just want to mingle and chat.
In the mid-position in which one of our very few rugs is laid, is the actual “Game Area”. Currently we cannot afford to upgrade the area, and only have cheap wire shelves to hold games, and folding tables to play on. However crude, it makes up for it in adaptability. We can reconfigure the area as needed for small to large amounts of people and sizes of games, or split the resources for multiple groups.
Finally in the “upper floor”, about a foot higher than the living room is the dining room, where our large dining room table is placed. This is where the massively complicated games festooned with fiddly bits are played. It is in this place that I spend most of my time at Game Nights.
The complex “nerd core” games usually take 2- 4 hours, and lately I’ve been trying to limit my intake of nerd core games to one a night so I can at least have a chance to meet with the other people. Once you are locked into one of these games, there are usually no breaks, and causing others to wait when it is your turn is an unforgivable sin.
Our last game night was Saturday, and during that time I played Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Ultimate One Night Werewolf, Sentinels Tactics, and ended with Martian Dice. Meanwhile Carcassone, Walk the Plank, Cutthroat Caverns, Infiltration and Smash Up were also being played in other groups. My personal stash of games is not that extensive, but my friends bring their own, and there’s always something new.
There are two classes of Game Nights, the full-blown Game Night, such as last Saturday, where we invite everyone, and there’s a lot of gabbing, and socializing. Light and party games (which I call Muggle games) are welcome and played during these events. There is often something accompanying the full-blown Game Night like a barbeque, or some one’s birthday, a Christmas party or what have you.
The second class of Game Night is “Guy’s Game Night” where the truly nerd-core games are played with a select bunch of people who enjoy playing the same game for 5 – 6 plus hours. It’s not meant to be limited to guys, but no women have really expressed any interest in an all-day RPG romp, or a butt-numbing session of Arkham Horror. We also reserve the sessions for playing campaign games as well, and are well into our second campaign through Descent. Previously, I was running my own RPG campaign using the Savage World rules.
We usually hold one or two of these a month. Anymore than that and our house would fall apart to neglect. We do enjoy them quite a lot, obviously, and we have friends who’ve been coming to Game Nights for years. It’s become a great tradition that I hope will live on for quite some time.
It’s only been recently that I realize that we’re really following in my grandparent’s footsteps. They didn’t play games, but up until shortly before she died, my grandmother had a regular gathering of women from around her neighborhood that they’d known since they were all raising kids. When I was a kid, I attended quite few of these, and met the ladies. To my eyes at least they were all very good friends and lived happy lives, each adding their own talent, support and voice to each other. I hope that we can do the same.