So, whatever happened to tabletop gaming? Back in the 90's it was one of the hottest things on the market, nerd wise. Between Robotech and Vampire: The Masquerade, kids were buying up books and dice like they were going out of style, and they probably were. Then something happened. From Patricia Pulling saying D&D was a recruiting tool for Satanic cults to forming the BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons) parents and politicians alike were afraid to let their nerdy little teens gather in the basement, stay up too late, and talk about Dwarves and Elves.
Somewhere in that time is when I fell in love with tabletop gaming. My first experience was with Mage: The Ascension, and it was love at first sight. I had always been a comic book nerd and I had heard whispers of games where you could create your own characters and send them on adventures, but no one I knew ever had any experience with them up to that point. I had no idea what to expect and I was taken on a glorious ride of wizards fighting vampires and werewolves in dark utopian setting and that's all it took. It opened my eyes to a wider array of people who were into the same things I was and who may have been too afraid to talk about it with their family and normal friends.
Since then, I've spent a small fortune on gaming products. Often times I don't end up even playing some of the things I buy because it's next to impossible to find people to invest their time, when we are all in our 30s and have kids and jobs.
Nerdisim has kind of become chic these days, and to my surprise that has caused a resurgence in the tabletop gaming community. Thanks to nerds like Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton, we've seen some serious changes in the popularity of the alternative tabletop gaming market. High School kids want to play again, moms and dads are shaking in their boots again and the variety and complexity of the games has begun to sky rocket.
My goal has always been to spread awareness. My groups and I have played several of today's more popular games. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Mutants and Masterminds, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Dragon Age and Pathfinder, just to name a few. Many of these games have splintered into less involved board games like Descent, Arkham Horror, Pandemic, as well as board games based on Dungeons and Dragons. These help initiate people who think the pen and paper and deeply involved character creation process is too much for them, and just want to see some action. Unfortunately, I am usually the one who has to pony up the cash and get everyone organized enough to do it.
What I'd like to do is review these games to a party that's listening and interested. Not in an ultra nerd sort of way where I gush about how awesome each double critical is, but in a way that allows the average nerd with just a little bit of extra curiosity and a itch to get creative find exactly what they are looking for. The goal being to push them over the edge into purchasing something that could enhance the boring nights, where communal reading has gone sour, so the art of story telling can live on once again.