Tabletop gaming includes board games, card games, and roleplaying games, that one plays with multiple people. Tabletop gaming is quite old and dates back to when it was first mentioned in Homer’s Iliad. However, more recently, the forerunners of tabletop gaming have been Dungeons and Dragons that was founded by Gary Gygax in 1974, and Magic the Gathering that had its alpha release in 1993 under Richard Garfield. Rooting from these games, there have been many offshoots and emulators to these games, most notably Yu-Gi-Oh.
The News outlet D&D Beyond has provided a rather succinct history of Dungeons and Dragons starting with its origins in the older wargames and detailing its resurgence in the modern day. The popularity of the game and in fact most tabletop games has risen over the past few years in part due to platforms like Youtube and Twitch which have launched wildly popular D&D streams. The main reason for the increase in popularity is put best by veteran dungeon master Mark Hulmes: “people want to feel connected to stuff”. That in essence is what tabletop gaming is: connection. The hobbies associated with gaming have for very long had this stigma of nerdy guys in basements, but that time is over. As Travis Willingham, voice actor and avid D&D player, said “It doesn’t need to just be people that you think would play Dungeons & Dragons. It’s athletes. It’s lifters. It’s crossfit people’’. Tabletop gaming has provided a place where people can express their love for something together, regardless of race, gender, creed or orientation.
“Tabletop gaming is quite old and dates back to when it was first mentioned in Homer’s Iliad.“
The second question about tabletop gaming is: Where can I play? Well unfortunately the answer to that question is complicated. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis places where one would usually go to play these games have closed. But in the interest of information, the nearest places to campus where you can go to play are: Outer Limits and Geek Home which run regular MTG and Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments as well as being hobby shops, Protea bookstore in Hatfield who run weekly commander games on Fridays and HQ Gaming who run regular board game nights as well as trading card tournaments.
Despite how much of a physically social event tabletop gaming tends to be, there are options for online interaction. D&D Beyond provides a platform for DMs and players to share and work through the details of their campaigns while apps like Roll20 and discord facilitate online play. As for card games, Magic is playable online with MTG Arena the official Wizards of the coast game. There are also many unofficial apps out there that let lovers of the games continue on despite the necessities of social distancing. As the saying goes: “Introverts unite… separately … in your own homes”.
Illustration: Marchall Potgieter