Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How To Play

Around the time my son turned 10 (end of 2011) I was trying to think of hobbies to keep him away from drugs and gangs when he gets older (scary thoughts of teen years yet to come o_O) So I thought back to when I was younger and of the boys I thought of as the “smart” ones — what did they do?
Munchkin in the park

Dungeons & Dragons, of course! Though they never invited me to play: NO GIRLS ALLOWED! ;) So I asked at a local game store if they could recommend something that was sort of D&D light — for a younger kid. They showed me to a game called Munchkin. I'd seen it around ("Kill the Monster — Steal the Treasure — Stab your Buddy," the boxes read). I purchased it and we tried playing it at home, but I was never sure I was really understanding the rules (I'm such a visual learner). I searched and searched online for videos of people just playing the game, to no avail. We put it away, a tad frustrated. A few months later we tried it again, but having never played a game anything like this before, I was still unsure that I was reading the rules correctly (What is the backpack for? Which players can help me? etc). I did another web search and — lo and behold! — this time I quickly found the Munchkin episode of TableTop.

Whaaaaa???? That cutie-pie Wil Wheaton is a geek like us? And has a board game show? And with Steve Jackson (the creator of Munchkin) as a bonus guest in that episode?? Too perfect! So we watched, we learned, we laughed, we LOVED!! It answered our questions and we were able to initiate other players by having them watch the episode.

So of course, that led to subscribing to the TableTop page and Wil Wheaton's Facebook page (and, from there, discovery of Geek & Sundry and The Guild and Cards Against Humanity and other things geekish that made us so happy!) and so we’ve called it the Year of Wil Wheaton and TableTop. That next Christmas there were TWENTY-SIX games and extensions under the tree (we’re a family of three, so that’s a big number). We have more game nights with friends — to whom we’ve introduced new favorites like Catan and Wits & Wagers — and my son is trying to get a Munchkin Club going on a regular basis (the kids get snacks and butterbeer if they show up, and they LOVE the game!).

My son and I even went to Denver Comic Con for the first time this year and my son got to ask Wil Wheaton a question during his panel — he was giddy with delight! And Wil was so nice :) And of course the whole family stayed up for some Midnight Munchkin Madness in the hotel room!! (See The Guild, season 5)
Luke Skywalker
prepares his next shot
Munchkin club

My family has said that board games are my new addiction. The downside being the ridiculously hefty price tags on some of them (lots of these new, cool games are over $50) — so we wait for sales and special occasions. The local game store knows me by name now and are ready to show me any new games. No matter where I go, I take a travel game with me — like Hive or Mr. Jack or Zombie/Martian Dice (we bought some D24 dice to keep in those boxes so we can keep track of brains and other such scores) or Fluxx. My hubby and I had a great date night this past weekend — and of course we were sure to take pictures and post them on Facebook so that people would see all the fun new games we have, in the hope that we could encourage more friends to join us. Because lord knows I always want more people to play with me!! :)

So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Wil Wheaton and Tabletop for creating this show and opening our eyes to all the cool new gaming adventures out there! Not that we won’t still pull out Trivial Pursuit, Mille Bornes and Risk now and then :D Any time around the table with friends and family is time well spent. Game on!

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