I know there’s an overall stereotype about gamers being solitary and reclusive by nature, and while it’s not altogether untrue, there are definitely outliers. I’m one of them, and the coming weeks of isolation are looming over my head like an ominous shadow - dramatic, sure, but that’s not exactly off brand for me.
I am an extremely social person. I host dinners and game nights regularly, I go to the gym (albeit not nearly as often as I’d like to), I visit with friends and family and love going to social events. The recent mandates meant to help contain the spread of COVID-19 are a necessary inconvenience that I am more than willing to bear in order to keep my loved ones safe. Am I happy about it? Oh, heck no, but who is?
These may not apply so much to me, but I laughed.
Memes aside, if there was ever a time when isolation was completely manageable for me, now is it. The Internet has been an incredible tool that I’ve been lucky to grow up with, and while it certainly has its dark sides, I have been fortunate enough to use it to cultivate and maintain friendships with people from all over the world.
As I’ve mentioned before in other blogs, I am an avid board gamer. The thing about board games is that they typically require other people to play with (although there are several games with solo variants!). It makes me a little sad not to have my basement game room filled with people and laughter, but it’ll pass before long - in the meantime, I’ve moved my board gaming online.
There are so many options for board gaming online now, it’s really exciting. I can play some of my favorite games with some of my favorite people, some of whom don’t live close to me and can’t exactly pop over for a game night during non-pandemic times. Some board games have their own specific apps, complete with music, sound effects, and visual effects that fit the overall theme. Tabletop Simulator, however, is a basic program that is powered almost entirely by user-created mods.
While I certainly prefer face-to-face interactions, this really is the next best thing. I have a group of friends who I spend most of my time with online (since they live in places like San Francisco, Vancouver, Florida, London, etc.) and we use Discord to chat while we play things or stream Netflix or Disney+ together. Yesterday, I fired up Tabletop Simulator and a few of them joined me for a game of (sorrynotsorry) Pandemic.
We were ill-prepared for how quickly the disease spread this game.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game Pandemic, it is a co-operative player experience wherein you’re all working together playing various roles (Medic, Scientist, Quarantine Specialist, etc.) to contain and halt the spread of 4 deadly viruses. Everyone plays against the board, and while the early game may lure you into a false sense of security, don’t be fooled - chaos comes, and it comes fast.
We usually play on the highest difficulty level and use the “On the Brink” expansion because we enjoy the challenge. We introduced a few new people to the game yesterday, who thoroughly enjoyed themselves, even though we ran the player deck out and lost at the last minute (ouch!). It just meant that we were all fired up to come back for a rematch against the dastardly board.
If nothing else, you can have fun doodling ridiculous cat faces before, after, or during your game!
There are thousands and thousands of mods to download for various games, as well as some premium content for more popular games like Wingspan. If you’re looking to connect with friends while you’re in self-isolation, online multiplayer games are a great way to do that, whether they’re board games on Tabletop Simulator or multiplayer video games like The Political Machine or Offworld Trading Company.
How are you combating boredom and staying connected with people?