Disclosure: this promotional piece is brought to you by giffgaff, who provided the games and the goody bag
Tabletop gaming is on the rise. Board game sales are seeing 10% average increases year on year, and new board games are being developed at an exceptional rate.
RPGs [role playing games] like Dungeons and Dragons are increasing in popularity, with the likes of Netflix’s Stranger Things and the web series Critical Role building more interest in the hobby.
Here in Birmingham, there are numerous board game cafes on the way and the UK Games Expo, hosted locally at the NEC, has seen huge spikes in attendance in the last few years.
But why is this happening? In a world full of technological advancement, video games offering up more immersive experiences, and social media dominating the landscape, why are people increasingly sitting down to roll dice and move bits of cardboard around?
Perhaps those advancements are part of it. The world is moving faster than ever and it can often be harder to find time to socialise and maintain friendships. But people are increasingly discovering that a gaming night can be a fun, rewarding and easy way to keep friends meeting up on a regular basis.
It’s much easier to keep a Thursday free for a weekly DnD game or board game night than it is to find time to occasionally hang out down the pub.
And so in the spirit of reconnecting, giffgaff contacted us at Geeky Brummie with a challenge to set up our own gaming night. They would provide the games and a whole bunch of other goodies [The sim cards were particularly useful in arranging the event! Ed.].
We had to get together and prove the value of gaming bringing people together. And while normally we have the podcast to bring us together to talk geeky things for the Internet, we haven’t had that chance recently due to our break so this was a challenge we were willing to take up.
So we did. We were texted a venue and a time for a group of six of us to be there. After greeting an excited dog and got in some snacks and pizza, we sat down to play the games, provided by the lovely folks at giffgaff and Big Potato Games. Those games were Weird Things People Search For, Obama Llama 2 and Bucket of Doom.
Weird Things People Search For
We started with Weird Things People Search For. The premise is simple – one player reads out a partial Google search and players have to guess the weird things people search for. Hence the name. It’s a bit like Family Fortunes, with the answers being based on collective data, and the higher your guess is to the top, the more points you get. We had fun with this, although we all felt it was the weaker of the three games. Having to second-guess what other people have searched for felt a bit tricky for most of us, and sometimes the searches weren’t weird enough for my liking. Perhaps an alteration to try and come up with the weirdest answer would have made it more interesting for us.
Obama Llama 2
Second was Obama Llama 2, which caused some initial confusion but we realised it sounds more complicated than it really is. It combines charades with a match-2 card game with a descriptive guessing game. Players have to guess the rhymes based on clues or through mime, earning them points.
Every three points earned allows a team to try and grab a matching pair from the face-down cards on the table, and the winning team is the one with the most pairs. It was a blast, getting everyone fired up and excited to guess the rhymes. Despite some initial trepidation, we quickly gravitated towards this one as a group, and it became a universal favourite.
Bucket of Doom
Finally, we played Bucket of Doom, which is a bit like Cards Against Humanity but with life-threatening situations. One player reads out a scenario, and the others must pick an item from their hand with which to save themselves. For instance, at one point I used a Tinder match, who I decided was a builder, to help save me from causing the Great Wall of China to collapse.
There’s a lot of potential for comedy here, but just like Cards Against Humanity, it’s a game that requires the right group of people in the right creative mindset to be truly successful. We all enjoyed it, just not quite as much as Obama Llama 2.
And that was our gaming night! A great time for everyone and an excellent opportunity to catch up with the group after a few weeks of not seeing each other. It’s something we’d love to do more of and it shows just how good gaming is at bringing everyone together in a fun, interesting way.
[I won, more importantly! Ed.]
Thanks to giffgaff for making this happen for us! If you fancy reconnecting with a few friends for your own gaming night, you can order a free sim through their website.