Down where we belong

We had our first real “game night” outside of the workplace tonight since I retired, at a local bar and restaurant.  It was nice; given that we took over a prime table at 4pm and didn’t leave until after 8pm, the venue showed remarkable restraint in not kicking us out.  But I have to admit that it was also a pale shadow of the gaming I did at work.

Part of it, a big part, is comfort.  Bars are loud, and I’m a little hard of hearing, so they’re never ideal venues in the first place.  I also don’t drink, so the prime benefit of holding game night in such a place is lost on me.  But these are honestly superficial issues.  The real difference in comfort is, for lack of a better term, a complete difference in feeling.  In belonging.

At work, we have a really nice gaming table that a coworker and I (mostly him) got made to order.  It’s in a well-trafficked area, so sitting at the table is a good way to say hello and/or goodbye to lots of coworkers and friends as they come and go.  Some people linger a moment, watching the action, even occasionally asking a question or two about the game we’re playing.  I had a specific place where I almost always sat, a place where I put the inevitable bottle of Hint Water.  It was in a place I knew, surrounded by people I knew.  It felt like I belonged there.

The vast majority of times I’ve played games at other people’s houses, I’ve felt a similar sense of belonging.  There, it’s less about familiarity; instead, the sort of warmness of being somewhere that people want you, with food and laughs and the coziness of a home well lived-in, engenders that sort of feeling of belonging.  Just this Monday, one of my old coworkers invited me over to play games.  Even though I had never been to their house before, I immediately felt at home.  I felt that I belonged.

We’ll have to see if doing this sort of thing regularly in more public venues changes my view.  Unfortunately hosting at my house is a non-starter, as it was too small to hold a table for gaming even before I packed it to the rafters with board games, and using other people’s homes is usually a scheduling nightmare.  In my experience, it doesn’t take much difficulty to stop things like “rotating game nights” to fail just as soon as they start.  I just hope it doesn’t fall totally by the wayside because that’s the easiest option, and I know it’s at least somewhat on me to try and make sure that doesn’t happen.

I’ll let you know.

4 thoughts on “Down where we belong”

  1. I agree, the local venue for this first game night was ok but it didn’t feel like it flowed naturally. Especially when it got darker and harder to see in the dimly lit room.

    We’ll try another spot (and keep trying) until we find one (or multiple) that work better.

    A co-worker also mentioned having another game night with power grid involved so we’ll have to make that happen soon!

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