Grown Men Playing Games won’t focus only on latest or best aspects of modern/classic PC or console gaming – it is the blog of the grown men who are also hooked playing board games. As it seems this is my latest gaming addiction, which unfortunately came a bit late in my life.
But is it a term ‘late’ felicitous when it comes to enjoyment and spending your free time with friends in the Sunday afternoons? The answer might be yes and no. It is not late, as anyone could spend his/her free time as he/she likes. But it could be ‘yes’, because grown people have busy schedules, families and thousands more important things to do – spare time is not so much as it used to be, and playing board games is a huge time sink.
Since fantasy became one of my most favourite literature genres in my mid-teens I showed interest in different role playing systems – d20 and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I had plenty of free time in high school, but unfortunately the rule-books were hard to find in Bulgaria and I had no friends, who showed any interest for RPGs at all. Back in 2001 ‘Zdrach nad Endival’ or ‘Dusk over Endival’ was published – the first Bulgarian pen and paper RPG.
It was an instant buy for me. Somehow I managed to make my friends give it a try but we had only 3 playing sessions. I was the Dungeon master and may be I overdid the last adventure so players just gave up or died horribly. And so it ended before it began.
Luckily a friend from school (hi there, Evgeni) seemed as interested as me in role playing games/systems and so in our final year in high school we created ‘Zandan‘ – a simple dungeon-crawl system, based purely on luck and random number generator for the fights.
Before class, one of us was chosen to be the Dungeon master – he created the adventure, draw the map, put the monsters and loot. We’ve played in secret during some of the boring classes, pretending we are just exchanging a notebook and wrote like crazy inside – what the hero is currently doing, how are monsters reacting and so on. It was a blast. Now more than 10 years later, when we sit together and flip through the pages, we sink in memories of the past days.
We had big plans for ‘Zandan’ as most young boys, who want to create a rocket from cardboard – to elaborate the rules and turn the system into a pure RPG, to create the world and enrich the monsters’ manual. We wanted to make a web site, where everyone interested could check for newest additions, we dreamed even to publish it. Sadly, the dream turned into cardboard rockets reaching the Moon – high school and boring classes were behind us, first year in university seemed to be so cool (new acquaintances, parties, even girls, who didn’t care that we were such nerds before!) but also loaded with many new responsibilities, important lectures and hard exams (at least for me). ‘Zandan’ turned with time into our melancholic escape when we were drunk and looked through the threadbare pages of the notebook.
And so on until my birthday last summer, when my cousin gave me an amazing gift – the second edition of the board game ‘Game of thrones‘.
Next day me and all my closest friends were together – I’ve even managed to convince my girlfriend to play along. Late Sunday afternoon until early Monday morning, waking up for work was a hard task. As hard, as me (playing Lannister) holding the Iron Throne when Baratheon ruled over King’s Landing when I had only 2 ships. Have I brought the Iron Throne onto the ships? The books don’t tell…
Later next month we got into Small World for good 3 months of play vying who would rule over the world.
Competitive play in its finest, counting every point and victory in the early Saturday mornings, when we all had to be sleeping already.
By the time I desperately wanted a change, Evgeni bought Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition).
And so – four months later we are still playing it, every or every second Sunday afternoon. Evgeni is the Dark lord (Dungeon master), and the rest of us, ‘hating’ him as much in real life (a really long story, sigh), we are trying to oppose him and gather the best gear possible. Currently we are on the epilogue – where he or we will win the game. Close calls, emotions, fun! Fingers crossed for the good guys, the Dungeon lord must be despised, right?
So, what’s next? We’ve just got our hands on Arkham Horror. And of course Runebound (second edition) – what a better gift for Rado’s birthday now-a-days!
In the Board games’ section I’ll prepare (starting Descent: Journeys in the Dark) some reviews and will summarize some of our encounters. I hope, that while you read, you will have as much fun as me. May the dices be with you!