Playing the Game

Kenn Tomasch posted this great video on the APBA Games Facebook page yesterday. He makes a great point –

“Okay, yeah, when you actually LOOK at it being done, I guess it’s incredibly dorky. This is why there are almost no videos of people actually playing the game.”

I have to admit, I’m not one to get self-conscious in most circumstances, but something about playing tabletop-sports games in public does often make me feel uncomfortable. Why is that? Do you ever play in public? Why or why not?

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  1. My son and I played S-O-M baseball during a 3 hour layover in Atlanta airport. I was very self conscious while setting things up, but once we started playing we had people (OK, men) come over and ask what we were playing and watch for a few. Before they walked away, they would ask the name of the game again.

  2. Ya, never.
    When my older brother was in college, he had a girl that he was interested in who had come over to his dorm room. She saw APBA stuff out on his desk and was like “What is this?” and he very hurriedly shoveled it into a desk drawer. “Oh, that’s nothing!”
    It’s a hard hobby to explain to people, for whatever reason, and yet I know if you said you were sitting around playing an EA Sports title on your XBOX people wouldn’t think *that* was weird. The cards & dice and chart-lookups, though — weird.

  3. I think it’s the solo play that makes it feel odd. As Mike says, I have no problem playing a game with my kids, and Wil Wheaton has a whole series of videos on YouTube showing people playing board games that appears to be very popular.

    The thing is, I really enjoy watching solo videos like Al Wilson’s new one for HMB and Steve Tower’s videos. There’s a lot of know-how in these games and you learn a lot from them.

  4. I agree with JLS, it’s the solo nature of it. Even my family – my LOVED ONES – don’t totally get it. That’s why I’m enjoying making videos, so I can connect with other like minded individuals. πŸ™‚

    The only time I’ve ever played a table-top sports game in public was on a plane, but that was with my family blocking me in, so no possibility of a stranger looking on…

    But for *me* playing a solo table-top game in public defeats the purpose. I solo game because I enjoy peace & quiet, and time for my own thoughts. I can only gain this serenity indoors, too many distractions outside. -Al

  5. “But for *me* playing a solo table-top game in public defeats the purpose. I solo game because I enjoy peace & quiet, and time for my own thoughts.”

    I’m with you, Al. It’s a chance for me to get away without going far.

    (Thanks for posting my video, BTW. I only shot it to see what it would look like, and once I got it edited I figured I might as well post it.)

    • The airport was the only time that I have played “in public” as it was a way to kill time with a 9 year old…otherwise, like all of you, I play alone in my office, usually listening to a baseball podcast and just get lost in it all.

      BTW, my entire family thinks I am nuts too. πŸ™‚

  6. Oh man, I totally forgot!!! I played History Maker Baseball and Soccer Blast with Keith Avallone, Dan Garlick and other new friends twice over the past 3 years at organized gaming days at a game store here in California, and another in Denver. It was actually liberating because since we were playing in a table-top-game store, nobody gave our activity a second thought. They just glanced over between rounds of Magic The Gathering and left us alone. πŸ™‚

  7. I used to play on the train back and forth to NYC (my briefcase folded out and made a great backdrop for Strat-O-Matic Baseball).

    No one really looked at me weird, until I started announcing the game to myself πŸ™

  8. I have never played in public, (cards and dice, that is), but, have, numerous times, played BBW on the computer, but, that’s different than cards and dice. I THINK I would be a bit self conscious playing the board game in public, but, that wouldn’t stop me.

    Like many APBA players the fear that something might happen to my cards would give me more pause. You know how we feel about our cards. It’s like you would like to play a game face to face with someone – you just don’t want them touching your cards.

    I suspect when we see a video of someone like you, (or me), playing the game, it does look dorky. I think that’s because we see a grown man playing what looks like a kids game, BUT, when we are playing, it’s not some disembodied old guy playing a kids game….it’s real baseball and we are at the helm of each team. We are immersed in the game. It’s real. We are recreating history, or a game, or a season.

    Come to think of it, that’s why, like some other guys here, my family thinks I’m nuts.

    Jim in Burbank

  9. I played in a band back in 1985 and I had a house gig for a three year stretch. I would sit in a back booth of the club with my drummer and play between sets and after we were done performing as well. Nobody payed any attention to us until the end of the night. Not sure if it was alcohol induced or they just finally wanted to see what we were doing, but we sometimes had ten people watching and cheering during the games!! I know of a couple of regulars who went on to buy their own APBA game thanks to us!! Great times!! And you thought all musicians did nothing but party during their breaks……

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