Last Saturday was Table Top Day. It’s a fun annual holiday where gamers and the general public gather at hobby stores across the world and play some games. Lots of free demos with random gaming swag for those who show up. Some stores just run the games that were on TableTop (on youtube) while others open up their gaming space to ever game under the sun.
Like every good geek, I was at my friendly local game store. I volunteered to run as many games as I could. I love to demo games to new people, so it was a blast. I get a really good feeling when I demo a game, and I see those same people leave the store with that game later. Heck that happened twice on Saturday!
What makes me really happy about Table Top Day is the inclusivity of the day. It’s a day dedicated to showing off games to the masses. Whatever game you love, people will love to try it on that day. Nothing is too crazy or out of bounds. I saw a group of people bust out Stone Age and another group of people sit down to play a few games of magic. I ran some random people off the street through 7 Wonders and Settlers of Catan. I even learned a new game, the My Little Pony CCG, and turned around and taught three people how to play when I was done.
The common knowledge of geeks is we are not welcoming. We sit in basements or dark comic stores playing games while trying to keep any “normals” away from whatever thing we are up to. Heck most of us can’t talk to people of the opposite sex, and we all smell bad. Common knowledge is commonly wrong. Geeks are just normal people who love to have fun. Most of the time that fun involves a bit more math then the average person is normally comfortable with, but if given a chance, we will spend our every waking moment trying to show you just how cool whatever game we are playing is. That and most of us do shower regularly and have about as many problems with the ladies/guys as any other person does.
Now the media is and isn’t helping with this. Shows like the Big Bang Theory don’t really portray us in the best light. I’ve heard the phrase “nerdface” thrown around a few times to describe how these shows portray your average geek. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but the go to cliché of a geek is not a glowing credit to us. On the other hand, the Big Bang Theory has made some geek things cool. Now people are picking up copies of Settler of Catan and Munchkin at Target. And that’s Amazing!
And here is where Table Top Day comes into the fold. On Table Top Day like Free Comic Book Day and Free RPG Day, the curtains of thrown open and the public is invited to see what the geeks are up to. And we can put our best foot forward to show them how cool our hobby is and how normal we are! That inclusivity is welcoming as both the geeks get to a chance to show the world what we love, and the world gets a safe, welcoming environment to see what were up to. And that, to me, is priceless.