PERSONAL DIARY (Oct/Nov 2020): Getting Into The Party Spirit?

It’s Not Party-Time Yet…

Another few months seem to have shot by, and ironically, another issue of Tabletop SPIRIT Magazine is also nigh-on finished. It’s not supposed to be bi-monthly, so am guessing we might be a little ahead of the game this time round, or were a tad behind last time. Regardless, the next issue will be out in the next week or so, in plenty of time for some pre-Christmas reading… and buying… and it’s got a lot of very good stuff inside it, too, including a rather nifty and super-appropriate GAMES SHELF print’n’play game that any self-respecting gamer will immediately grasp theme-wise.

We’re also pleased to have secured enough deals and agreements with publishers to offer a FREE Giveaway every single month throughout 2021, but you’ll have to be a registered subscriber to be included in those. Subscribing to the magazine is easy (and yes, the magazine itself remains FREE as a PDF file), and it’s now available via DriveThruRPG, too, as well as on our website: — you can click the link below to sign-up, too, btw.

Tabletop SPIRIT #11

Like every other gamer in the UK, I suspect, I have really missed out on a lot of face-to-face gaming this year, with my last possible chance of a gaming weekend away cruelly dealt the final blow back in August… You may be guilty of the same, but I have ended up buying so many games as a raw (and seeming very poor and ill-thought) substitute for actual gaming. The result is a bigger pile of games that have yet to see the table than ever before, and my immediate thoughts are “How the bloody heck am I going to get all these games played in 2021, especially with everyone else probably wanting to play their games as well?”

Maybe the vast majority of the boardgaming hobby (esp. here in the UK where Lockdowns seem to arrive like buses) will adopt a similar attitude to one I had a few years ago… “Let’s stop buying new games and generally being disgustingly indulgent, until we’ve actually caught up with some of this backlog…”

Would something like a global slowdown of boardgame purchasing bring the whole hobby to its knees, or just slam the brakes on something that already seems like a runaway rollercoaster…?

Let’s be clear, I am not advocating this behaviour, but neither can I deny the feeling that Bring’n’Buy stalls anywhere near a boardgaming event or convention next year will be booming, even bursting at the seams as gamers try and offload last year’s relics. This is a business model that works for some. I’m just yet to be convinced it’s a sustainable one.

If there’s one thing that does come through in my interview with Sandy Petersen (yes, for Tabletop SPIRIT, of course), it’s that COVID-19 has been very bad for business, at least for Petersen Games. And expensive, too. I am sure they’re not the only ones that have felt the pinch as disposable income for so many has rapidly declined. Of course, not all boardgame publishers have suffered, and a select few have even seen sales figures rise, but looking at it with a broader brush and encompassing local gaming stores (FLGS) under the same banner, it’s easy to see why the business as a whole is probably feeling under the kosh.

That said, if you’re the type of gamer that is both fortunate and nowhere near a poverty line, and moreover, have retained your job, there’s a strong likelihood you can easily afford some of the more expensive titles doing the rounds on Kickstarter and the like. You probably have lots of disposable income to draw upon, too, given the lack of alternative draws on that income due to Lockdown restrictions, etc. Congratulations, because you’re likely part of the crowd that has been and still is supporting the boardgames business from the ground up. That’s important. Key, even, to its continued survival, I suspect. I just hope the majority of boardgame publishers can see their way to allowing the rest of us a chance to catch up…

Anything Else Going On?

I also had the chance to attend Metatopia 2020: The Game Design Festival at the start of November, and that was quite the experience, especially for somebody like me who has never been a fan of any of the online conventions prior to this one… I hope to write about that another time.

Are there any games I am looking forward to seeing in the not-too-distant future? Actually, yes… At time of writing (end of November), both Dune Imperium and Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon are set to knock the willies out of the rest of my collection when they finally arrive. No doubt I’ll be sharing my thoughts about both in due course.

Is Party Gaming Still a Thing?

Actually, I think so. Or at least, it has been in this household. As well as some solo gaming goodness, I have more recently managed to get a few lightweight party games to the table with the rest of my family this month, which has to be considered a minor success by any yardstick… To put that into perspective: getting anything to the table with any members of my family is a result, and I would heartily recommend that you try and do so at least a few times over the festive period if you can.

And if the advice you’re seeing everywhere is “Don’t play boardgames!” you don’t need me to tell you to ignore that particular trash-talk – save it for the table, and consider it character-building for you and your family… That’s just as important as a good old fashioned Christmas meal, alcohol, and after-dinner drinks, imho, so do please try your best to enjoy it!

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