Another year, another International TableTop Day gone by.
And because it can’t all be fitness, I wanted to take today to put the “erd” back in the Jerd with a bit of a recap.
Saturday, April 5th marked the 2nd annual TableTop Day; to celebrate I took a road-trip up to Toronto, Canada to meet some Internet friends and play a bunch of games!
Video games are awesome.
Anyone who tries to tell you differently should not be trusted (#JerdProTip)! But that doesn’t mean I don’t also have an immense love of rolling dice, slinging cards and
crushing my enemies having fun with friends!
This Internet-based holiday was the perfect chance to step away from the keyboard and controllers and to remind myself of just that.
The brain child of Wil Wheaton and the fine folks over at Geek & Sundry, TableTop Day is a celebration for all the fans of tabletop gaming, young or old. In their own words it is “a single day where the whole world is brought together in a common purpose of spending time together and having fun.”
Last year there were over 3,100 official TableTop Day gaming events in 64 countries worldwide!
Pretty simple huh?
Whether you decide to play an age-old classic like Risk or discover new lands in Settlers of Catan it doesn’t really matter. As long as that video game console is powered off and you are sitting around a table, enjoying some camaraderie (and smack-talk), with friends you are celebrating it as intended!
Operation Invade Canada
After making plans with a bunch of cool YouTube peeps I e-know, the wife and I packed up the car and made the trek to the foreign and exotic land of Ca-na-da.
A 10 hour drive, and a lot of grumbling, later we arrived at our hotel in the middle of downtown, pried ourselves out of the car and tried to get the feeling back in our extremities. While the drive itself was fine, I don’t understand how people sit all day long like that… it was maddening (and not healthy at all)!
So we stretched our legs and walked until we found a British Pub (the Queen and Beaver Public House, check them out if you are ever in Toronto) for a late night dinner of foods we probably shouldn’t have eaten (one day into this trip and I was already worried Canada was going to be the death of me) and then slipped into the warm embrace of a food coma… we wanted to make sure we rested well for the epic showdowns to come.
Before I break down games that we played, I want to take a minute and talk about the venue, Castle Board Game Cafe, itself.
What a fantastic place!
Now, if I were a savvy webmaster you would be watching the nifty interview I did with the staff and taking a virtual tour of the cafe… but due to
the fact I am a moron some technical difficulties that footage is useless. So instead I just have to break it down for you using words!
It’s a surprisingly simple, yet genius, concept. Two rooms with couches and tables, a cafe bar that serves sandwiches/coffee/desserts, a massive library of board and card games and a staff who know them all and will help you with the rules in-between bringing you your orders.
The cost? $2.50/hour per person.
How awesome is that?!?
From the moment I stepped into the cafe it was clear that people were having a good time and TableTop Day was rolling ahead full steam, both in person and all over the world according to the #TableTopDay hashtag on Twitter.
So I did what any self-respecting gamer would do; I set-up shop with my Canadian cohorts (look for their info at the end of the article!), slapped on my Uncle Sam hat and started playing games!
Magic: The Gathering
Of course there were the requisite warm-up games of Magic: The Gathering, the grand-daddy of collectible card games. Aptly nick-named “Crack: The Gathering” this game is highly addictive, unbelievably easy to learn and dangerous for your wallet if you easily succumb to the Pokemon theory of “Gotta catch ’em all.”
In a nutshell the game of Magic breaks down like this. You play the role of a wizard who fights other wizards for glory and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.
The great thing about this game is that it is ridiculously easy to get into, and carrying your favorite deck around takes up almost no space. The downside? It can be a bit of a money sink.
Who has two thumbs and loves good old-fashioned dungeon crawls?
Dungeon Fighter contains a ton of familiar fantasy tropes – heroes exploring a dungeon, searching rooms, finding treasure and facing hordes of vicious monsters – but this cooperative game also factors in quite a bit of skill!
While half this game is firmly rooted in Dungeons & Dragons (a game which I have fond memories of), the other half is played out like a game of Quarters. No, you read that right… See, the deeper into the dungeon you go, the more complicated the rolls of the dice become. To succeed you will need to hit a target by bouncing the dice, leaping in the air to throw them, trick-shotting them off the wall and more! (Hence why we affectionately nick-named this game “God Dammit!“)
We all had a blast all the while feeling pretty uncoordinated and a bit foolish.
This game also wins the Jerd stamp of approval for the day, simply for the fact it forces you to keep getting out of your chair!
After the frustration of jumping in the air, doing 360s and trying to hit a target with a die roll it was time to sit down and get our inner caveman on!
Ugg-Tect, essentially a language exercise, is a race between two teams to see who can build simplistic structures the fastest with the included colored blocks. The catch? You have to use only the prescribed hand gestures and nonsensical words allowed to direct your team.
Oh, and if they misinterpret your grunts and gesticulations? You smack them in the head with one of the inflatable caveman clubs that come with the game! I was a little skeptical at first, but I quite enjoyed the challenge and simple concept.
Who doesn’t like boffing their friends upside the head while grunting and pointing? No-one, that’s who… fun for all ages right here!
How do I describe Pit?
The closest I can come is free-for-all Go Fish with lots of yelling. Lots. It’s an extremely easy card game that has been around for a looooong time (first published in 1904), but for good reason.
It’s highly addictive, hands usually clock in at around a minute and did I mention the yelling?
The goal is simple, be the first person to get a full set of one type of card. You do so by trading cards as fast as you can with all the other players. The catch? You do it all face down so you never know if you are just going to get the cards you traded away 20 seconds ago or not.
This game is an absolute blast if you want to watch your friends scream and come close to having aneurysms. Unfortunately it is not the most appropriate game to play in a game cafe so after two hands we moved on to what has become the gaming juggernaut of the past few years.
Cards Against Humanity
At this point if someone told me they hadn’t heard of Cards Against Humanity I would seriously think they were trolling me.
Everyone I know plays it! Even if they don’t usually partake in TableTop games.
This truly horrible exercise in word association should have you questioning your moral compass by the second-hand. It’s like Mad-Libs for sociopaths, and it will have you rolling on the ground in laughter if played with the right group of people.
Luckily there were wasn’t an uptight person to be found in our group, so many a horrible word combination was played and looks of horror and unbridled laughter abounded.
King of Tokyo
I have been wanting to play this game ever since I heard of its existence. A game where I get to play a giant Kaiju fighting other monsters and rampaging through Tokyo?
Unfortunately time slipped away from us and by the time we were ready to unbox King of Tokyo it was time to start packing up. 6 hours of gaming had flown by, granting Tokyo and its inhabitants a reprieve from the inevitable devastation that was coming their way.
This one is definitely on the list for another day, that’s for sure… as I have heard nothing but good things about it!
And The Wait for TableTop Day 2015 Begins
As we packed up, I vowed to set side the time to play more table top games this year. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rigors of the digital world, powering everything down and just enjoying people’s company is such an important thing to do, in my opinion, to maintain a healthy life balance.
If you want to join us, or any of the legions of other gamers, next year make sure you keep an eye on www.tabletopday.com for details.
I also want to thank this gang of Canucks for putting up with my shenanigans and celebrating the day with them, and for taking me to see Captain America 2 the next day (because it tasted oh so sweeter watching this in Canada… ‘Murica!), check them out and let them know your pal The Mighty Jerd sent you!
So what about you? Have you played any of these games? What’d you think?
If you’re interested in trying them out check out the Amazon links below and support the site when you order them!
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