To celebrate the end of Round 1 we ran a contest to hear from you about your gaming groups and three entries were chosen as the winners. They are ...
What’s up Matty Boom (on the 1’s and the 2’s),
Sorry for this wall of text but, it’s the only means I have right now. I want to tell you about my gaming group and by extension, the gaming culture around my gaming group and how both have saved my life. Literally.
I have been playing with this gaming group for about 2 years now. The last six months or so of it had been primarily occupied by sessions of Gloomhaven with other games bookended around it. We’ll show up, dive right in to Gloomhaven, then after a scenario or two, we’ll learn a new game or play an old favorite. Recently we’ve played HansA TeutonicA, which we loved, as well as Architects of the Western Kingdom. Wasteland Express Delivery Service was a blast. Scythe is one that I absolutely love now, but took me a few plays to get the first time. Needless to say, we love our GH campaign and want to see that through to the end, but also really enjoy other games and playing everything we can. My group is myself, a guy I have been friends with for years, and then two complete strangers I met through the local gaming community here in Philadelphia. We became fast friends with a passion for gaming and I couldn’t have asked for better teammates to run through Gloomhaven with.
That all being said, about a year ago today, I nearly died from a drug overdose. I was at a bad place in my life and just kept getting worse and letting myself fall deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of self-destruction. Depression, anxiety, the whole psychological mess that was super not helpful with a side of drug abuse made for quite the implosion.
However, it was my buddy from the gaming group that was one of the people who went out of their way to help me get help. He went above and beyond, especially for someone I really only knew from across a table lording over an army of Meeples. Not only that, but after I got clean and got help, when I got out, I actually ended up getting a job at my FLGS. It was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. It gave me my hobbies back, with tons of new ones to boot. I was surrounded by and got to basically work with games all day. Talking to people who were equally as passionate if not more so about gaming as myself. Especially in my first few months of recovery, it was the most welcome distraction. I looked forward to going to work. To seeing everyone. To talking about the newest game hitting our shelves or gushing over someone’s newly painted army.
I made tons of new friends and got to sit in on so many “proxy” gaming groups, where I would join in on a Killteam night and learn that, or someone would teach me Feast for Odin, or we’d get a group of all the people hanging out to open a coveted box of 7th Continent. So not only did my gaming group welcome me back with open arms, and completely understand the time I needed to take to work on myself (they even paused Gloomhaven and didn’t advance at all even though I know they were champing at the bit to see what happens next), they had the game waiting for me when I returned right where we had left off. Then, I got to be a part of an entire gaming culture and learn so many new systems and mechanics/mechanisms, and generally just engulf myself in all things Tabletop. I’d like to think that my sobriety has had a lot to do with my willpower and determination, but honestly it’s largely because of the people around me and the support, and I found those all in gaming, but in my immediate gaming family as well as through my extended one at the FLGS. Having a gaming group is an amazing luxury I will never take for granted, because I’ve made lifelong friends just by sitting down on occasion and enjoying this hobby together. So, my name is Sean Hallion and I am a grateful recovering addict, but also an avid gamer, a Warhammer Age of Sigmar - Daughters of Khaine controller, a Magic the Gathering Teysa Karlov and Feather, the Redeemed commander, a Hexxer/Gata/Maximus/Major Lunah Aristeia competitor, a Kingdom Death: Monster survivor, a resident of the city of Gloomhaven, a D&D 5E Warlock and Pathfinder Synthesist Summoner, and so many many more things that I could keep going for pages. I’m also in the Brain Trust and had been a Bunhead from day 1. You got me up on Millennium Blades, Gloomhaven, The 7th Continent, Keyforge, Azul, Watch It Played, among other things not board game related.
And that’s basically it for me. I love my current game group for giving me something to hold on to, some normalcy in my life and a constant source of fun and joy throughout everything, my new gaming family at my FLGS, Redcap’s Corner in West Philadelphia for a shameless plug, who constantly make me look forward to and have a blast at my job, and last but certainly not least, you all at Game Brain for another great source of info, laughs, and gaming shenanigans to look forward to.
I thoroughly enjoy your podcast with your game group, and I appreciate the diversity in topics and games that you talk about. For my entry into the contest I painted a watercolor picture of my game group, which is me and my wife. 90% of our plays are just the two of us, and as much as I’d like to have a more regular game group I am thrilled to play one on one with her any day. In the painting we are playing The Gallerist as it is our current favorite game (our first Vital Lacerda joint, and I can’t wait for On Mars). I have won 6 out of 7 times against her, but this is certainly atypical for us. Most games she beats me handily 75% of the time, I just click with The Gallerist a little better than her. She is also very much the competitive part of our group, I never mind losing but she haaaates to lose. We are only a few years deep into this hobby, the first game we bought together was Five Tribes which we played 50 times. Then I decided to look online for another game, found Shut Up and Sit Down and BGG, and now a couple years later we’re buying a Kallax shelf from IKEA for our collection. Gaming is a very important hobby for us and we use it to relax together and to interact with our families. We try to play a game 3-4 times a week if we can.
Thanks for reading about us, and I hope you enjoy the painting.
Lane provided his submission in the form of a website which you can see here.