Why I Quit… Table Top Games

This past Sunday, I met up with a few friends and had a chance to play one of the board games that I own – Escape: The Curse of the Temple. The experience was okay, but it reminded me of the reasons why I ended up “quitting” board games.

Don’t get me wrong, modern day board games (or the more accurate term, table top games) are a lot of fun and they provide a kind of social interaction that video games will never be able to, in my opinion. Table top games filled the void after I had given up Heroclix and for several months, I was really into the hobby. I ended up buying several games, and I made it a point to attend a monthly event called All Aboard wherein the organizers would bring different games for people to try out. I’d be there by lunch time and would even stay up until after dinner. I’d bring some of the games that I owned to work and tried getting my colleagues to play. I even started writing about table top games over at my old blog.

But the hobby simply wasn’t sustainable for me – despite enjoying it a lot, I had to give it up. In my mind, this is just a temporary retirement as I haven’t sold any of my table top stuff but I have yet to get back into the hobby. Here are the reasons why I stopped:

1. I didn’t have a good venue for table top gaming

Similar to Heroclix, you can’t play table top games just anywhere. One of the reasons why I was a regular attendee of the All Aboard event is because the organizers were able to secure a large space with plenty of seats and big tables that were suited for table top games. The space was reserved specifically for the event, so people could stay as long as they wanted.

Unfortunately, both my previous and current residence don’t have adequate space for table top gaming. I tried inviting a friend before for Heroclix matches and we ended up sitting on the floor – it was very uncomfortable. And modern table top games usually last for half an hour or more. So home wasn’t an option.

Escape: the Curse of the Temple is one of my favorite games; you need a huge table to play this game.

Outside the house, my options were very limited as well. Restaurants and fast food joints usually don’t have big enough tables for the games that I own. And even if they do, these places usually don’t appreciate people hanging out for hours – they want customers to come in, eat, and leave to make room for other customers. I was part of a semi-regular Heroclix gaming group which had long gaming sessions over at a local McDonald’s; we occupied around four to five tables and the reason we never got kicked out is probably because our gaming sessions happened late at night (the place was open twenty four hours).

And even if I find a place with adequate table space whose owners don’t mind people who stay long, it’s still not enough. I mentioned playing Escape: the Curse of the Temple with my friends – we did it at a coffee shop (the table was barely enough) and some of them weren’t comfortable playing something that can draw unwanted attention.

Just before I finally retired from table top gaming, several “board game cafes” started opening shop. You’d think it would resolve this issue for me, but no. We tried visiting one twice; the first time, we were able to get a table. The second and last time, all tables were occupied. Other board game cafes were too far and out of the way, so I gave up on the idea. With no place to play, it was hard for me to enjoy the hobby.

2. Gaming sessions are long; friends couldn’t commit to them

From my experience, all the board/table top games that I’ve seen or played, a round would usually take between 45 minutes to an hour and a half. And that’s with a group who already know the game – sessions are much longer if we’re playing something for the first time. And that’s ONE round of one game. Playing different games would mean more time needed, and my current circle of friends simply don’t have (or don’t want to) that much time to free up for table top gaming.

And table top games require multiple players. Sure, there are games that can be played by individuals, but that kind of defeats the purpose right? I mean, why would I play a board game on my own if I could have just watched TV or a movie instead? Or picked up a video game console? When it became really hard to invite people to gaming sessions, I gave up.

3. Like books, movies, and video games, one table top game isn’t enough

When I first got into table top games, I thought that it would be less expensive than Heroclix or collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, wherein you needed to keep buying and buying product in order to keep up with the game. I thought, all I needed to buy was one box and I would be good.

I was right in the sense that when you buy a table top game, that’s usually all that you need to buy. But after a while of playing a certain game, it can get old; I ended up wanting to play other games. Table top games are really like video games in that there are different kinds, different genres that are played differently and provide different experiences.

I ended up getting Last Night on Earth, a board game that simulates how it feels like to be caught in a Walking Dead-type of scenario. I have Mice and Mystics which played like a story driven medieval period video game RPG (which were derived from table top games, go figure). I have Flash Point, a cooperative table top game which requires the group to work together strategically as fire fighters trying to rescue as many civilians from a burning structure as fast as possible. I have around ten games, all providing different experiences. And back then, despite having almost a dozen different games, I was still looking to buy more.

People who are really into table top gaming end up with a vast collection of games. Sure, they sell those that they don’t want to play anymore, but (at least the people I know) end up with really big collections. Not only did I not want to spend that much money (I thought this would be less expensive than Heroclix), I also did not have enough storage space for such a collection.

With all that said, I think table top games simply don’t suit my current lifestyle. I haven’t sold any of the games that I own and I do miss playing them. I think I’ll be going back to them once I have children who are old enough to play and understand them, once I’m no longer as busy at work and at adulting. At this point in my life, I don’t have time or room for table top games. That’s why I quit (temporarily).


5 thoughts on “Why I Quit… Table Top Games

    • Thanks for the comment! Where does your group play? I might get back into the hobby, just found out where and when Gaming Library hosts their monthly All Aboard events!

  1. Cool post and I totally get your reasons.

    For me, board gaming was a brief fad… or so I thought. Then it came back, then I remembered why I quit, and then I quit again. Recently it happened again. Each time though I get further from that hobby, as I realise it’s simply not for me. I have sold most of my games and will probably sell the rest soon, never to get back.

    My friends not playing was not a problem, as I would play mostly solo or with my girlfriend (not a huge gamer, but she’s always up for some coop play). I quit for other reasons, namely:

    1. Board games take time – it took ages to set up some more interesting titles, and even longer to clean up afterwards. The gameplay was also too long and not saveable, unlike video games. Re-learning the rules after a break was a chore, too.

    2. Board games are expensive – maybe not games per se, but all the expansions, sleeves, addons, promos, ks exclusives and whatnot. I would enjoy some LCG’s, but I have other hobbies. And bills to pay.

    3. “Accounting” – I may be impatient, but paying attention to all the rules at all times and counting everything is not fun. Not after a busy day at work when you’ve had enough of that. Video games do the math for me, so I can play some strategies without all the boring chit counting and rule checking.

    4. Organisation – I’m tired of making custom inserts, figuring out how to organise tokens and buying card boxes of the right size.

    And so on. Video games replaced tabletop gaming completely for me. They are so much more accessible. I even play onirim and elder sign on my phone now and have much more fun. The physical aspect is what defends board games, but paradoxically it’s also the thing that makes me hate them every time I get back (see points above). Glad I tried, but it’s nor for me.

    • Thanks for the comment! I agree with all your points. I haven’t sold my games, in case we do end up wanting a session or two, but video games have filled up the void that board games left.

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