Roll For Insight: Cass Shares Her Tabletop Memories

August 23, 2018 by cassn

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If you saw our recent War Chest Let's Play, you will have seen that two new members have recently been added to the team. With so many new faces coming on board, we thought it would be a good idea to get to know them a bit better.

Cass Shares Her Tabletop Memories

First, Cass looks back at some of her gaming memories and just what tabletop gaming has meant to her.

Roll For Insight: Memories From The Tabletop

This weekend, I was absolutely blown away by the stories shared by members about their favourite gaming moments during the Weekender XLBS. A personal favourite was the wonderful story from @aurorainbag, whose chance meeting with her old Dungeon Master sparked a D&D reunion campaign twenty-six years later with her original group.  

And, along with their old memories, they continue to create new ones, meeting at their local game café for “a beer and a laugh, and a new game experience”.

Stories like these remind me of a fundamental truth about tabletop gaming; it brings people together.  Whether you sit around a table as friends or enemies, fellow adventurers or warring empires; you sit together as a community.  Maybe that friendship will be a fleeting moment, or maybe you’ve been comrades for years, but the truth is the time factor is irrelevant – it’s the companionship which makes a gaming experience worthwhile.  

And it’s something that those of us within the industry can sometimes forget. I can tell you, for example, that financially the tabletop gaming industry is projected at 9% growth in the years 2017-2022, and yet I struggle to remember my first board gaming experience.

However, like an Egyptian archaeological dig, the tales from the Weekender XLBS have stirred up my own mysterious black sarcophagus of memories.  I remember my mother’s glass Chess set, for example, and a stubborn five-year-old me determined to learn all the rules just so I could briefly hold the elegant, frosted crystal figurines in my tiny, wanting hands.  

Flash forward to a sullen teenager playing never-ending rounds of Backgammon against another equally sullen teenager, trying to ward off the boredom of another rainy Northern Irish caravan holiday.

And forward again to that first time I played Catan - my first ‘alternative’ board game – as my twenty-year-old mind began to realise that tabletop gaming encapsulated so much more than the collective groan which follows the phrase ‘let’s play Monopoly’.

With the Weekender XLBS, these memories all resurfaced, bringing with them the intense joy such fleeting moments possess. Indeed, I’m ashamed that I didn’t remember them as easily as I do my childhood video games.  Inside the citadel of my consciousness, there are shelves dedicated to Super Mario, Monkey Island, and Duck Hunt (the only dog I’ll ever hate).  

Travel further back, and see memories of Dizzy, Skool Daze, and even the Knightmare video game. Only in the recesses of my mind on a dusty shelf do my tabletop memories exist; beautiful, mislaid, and waiting to be rediscovered.  Thankfully, with help from this community, I have been able to softly wipe the dust away and take a nostalgic glimpse through the laughter, tears, competition and, most of all, companionship which made me who I am.  

I would love to say the bloodthirsty, gluttonous, lustful gamer I am today only appeared in my adult years but, looking back, I can remember all too well an impetuous twelve years old me flipping the Scrabble board because my brother wouldn’t accept faery as a legitimate word (look it up Robert – I was right).

Despite my unbridled competitiveness, my brother and I remain close.  Because tabletop gaming is not ultimately about who wins or who loses.  Yes, there are glories and riches to be had in the big competitions. I have a winner’s dance designed to shame my opponents, myself and - I’m sure - my family name (sorry mum).

But secretly every tabletopper knows that winning doesn’t matter, even if we say it in hushed voices or unspoken smiles. The destination is irrelevant; for tabletop gamers, it has always been about the journey. Because what you did, and who you were with, mean far more than completing a game or winning a prize.  

And yes, I may be getting a bit philosophical, but I believe that is what board games are designed to do, and what they ultimately teach us.  So join my journey. Sit with me and spend thirty minutes playing Jungle Speed or three months in a D&D campaign - I don’t mind which.  We’ll laugh, we’ll fight, I may literally cause blood loss (ask Ryan).  But let’s make a few tabletop memories together. They are, after all, the best kind.

Check back soon where we will find out a bit more about our new board game maestro Ryan.

If you have any questions for Cass, be sure to fire them into the comments below.

"It’s the companionship which makes a gaming experience worthwhile."

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"I can remember... twelve year old me flipping the Scrabble board -"

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