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The New Normal; How Gaming Has Changed During a Worldwide Pandemic

This week's write up is of a different sort. Not so much about any particular game, but rather about shelter at home has completely changed the way I game, what I play, who I play with and how I play. 


To start with, you'd assume that staying at home all the time would make those giant solo/coop games easier to play. Turns out not really. There's something about having 4 kids be home all day, and their schoolwork sprawled across the table, that makes pulling out a game much harder than usual. At the end of a long day when I just want to pull out a game...rearranging everything on our giant repurposed school table isn't something I have an interest in doing (hence the picture above by the way....that's me learning Era: Medieval Age on the basement floor as the table is covered).


With our game groups not meeting physically, I've turned to online gaming once or twice a week with my group. Mostly on Yucata and BoardGameArena along with Zoom for the interaction. It's still pretty awesome, the pros of not having to track score, the cons of being more easily distracted, of a decreased level of social interaction, and of course of a vastly decreased selection of some of my favorite games. But yet there's a silver lining. I've found myself playing games I once let go, and deciding to reacquire some of them. In fact let's call the game of the week this week Bruges, a game by Stefan Feld that I used to have and traded away...but am now getting it back thanks to playing it 5 times over the past 2 weeks and loving it. I fully plan on exploring some other Feld's I've traded away over the years.


I find myself reacquiring a lot of lighter games as well, Lords of Waterdeep, Alhambra, games that I find don't see play that much because most of my gaming was of a heavier nature. But now the weekends see a lot more family gaming then it used to and the need for variety is showing it's head in the form of games I loved but didn't play enough.


The lack of social engagement means I can no longer rely on the fact that Saturday and Sunday will inevitably have people showing up at my door to sit down and play something. But it also means that if I decide to play something with my wife, family, or even a solo game...I'm less likely to be interrupted by my non gaming friends stopping by. 


I find myself constantly humming the chorus from "Everything Had Changed" by Barenaked Ladies. Everything has indeed changed in our lives. Many aspects will return to normal, but many things will take longer to go back and some will likely be forever changed, as we view the world through a new lens of what's reasonable, what works, what makes sense....2 months ago the idea of cancelling game night would never have crossed my mind, nor the minds of others. Now those who no longer meet in person are no longer the paranoid ones but rather those that still do meet up are the ones getting the raised eyebrows. 


There's no real conclusion here. And don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining. I am fully aware that I'm one of the lucky ones. Across the world unemployment has spiked, people are worried, people are scared and many have lost loved ones. The point here isn't to whine about the fact that the way I play games is different...rather just to meander on the topic. To see the way our lives are being changed both in the large and small ways we readjust to the virus.  


I don't see a better way to end this one off then to say that I wish all of you well. I hope you all stay safe, I hope that we all weather these times as well as we can be, and that those affected in any way see recoveries as soon as possible. Happy gaming guys and gals, I'll see you next week.


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