02A15: FGTC Advanced Birthday Celebration

Virtual Birthday Gaming

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 519

I think the best moment from last night's online gaming session with the FGTC was when people started to complain about "sitting" beside particular players because it meant they'd get less than ideal cards or something. As much as we've been playing different digital board games online across this seemingly never-ending pandemic, it wasn't until we played Tabletop Simulator games that the feeling of being around a table really got emphasized. And yeah, that's when things really felt closer to old times when we'd be gathered for our monthly board game meet-up and all the little antics and hijinks would color the games for the night.

So the Tabletop Simulator experiment was mostly successful except for bandwidth issues here and there because it takes a lot to synchronize data for 5-6 players even in a virtual space. Big thanks to Tobie for gifting copies of the app to a number of our friends just to get the ball rolling so that more of them have the platform as well. This led to experimenting with a lot of "classic" games for our group like rounds of Point Salad and Machi Koro or even getting to introduce them to games like 6 nimmt!/Take 5. Heck, this marked the first time we had ever played Startups with them given this is a game whose physical version we only acquired during the pandemic - and this game has a 3-player minimum! Being able to play with 6 players even just virtually really really changed the ebb and flow of the game. 

We still fell back on the official apps for games like Lords of Waterdeep and Terraforming Mars to wrap up the night, but on the whole, we got to play a nice mix of games and had a good amount of fun. 

Birthday Cake #1

Beyond the games, we continued the FGTC tradition of celebrating the birthday celebrants for the month - in this case, that was me! They even sent me a (not-so-) surprise cake so we did a little candle-blowing bit via our webcams and it was...something. It'll never replace the joy of us doing this together in person, but I still super appreciate the effort and the chance to share the moment with this particular group of friends, even just through a Google Meet call.

I miss hanging out with these people so much. They're some of our closest friends not just because of our shared love for board games but also the love and support the group shares for one another through thick and thin. One of the greatest tragedies of this pandemic is not just us not being able to see our friends in person and the fact that our group has already lost someone very dear to us. It makes me sad to think of what that first post-quarantine meet-up is going to be like given that loss, but it doesn't mean I don't want to see them again. They're an important part of our lives and also act as our key support system through the worst that the world has to throw our way.

So much of this pandemic leaves me with these sort of bittersweet feelings. I'm thankful that we remain friends and get to bond this way with our online games. I'm sad that we're still not able to game in person. I look forward to seeing them again. I dread acknowledging that our group will forever be incomplete. Ups and downs. Highs and lows.

And while I still don't know what I might want to do for my actual birthday, yesterday's geekery was already pretty good. And if I end up with nothing all that special planned, last night stands as a good alternative.