On Tuesday, February 15th, I attended a gaming event here on campus, specifically one of the Strategy Gaming Club’s (SGC) meetings. SGC is a student organization that provides a time and place for students to play all sorts of tabletop games, as well providing a wide selection of these games at each Sunday and Tuesday meeting. Additionally, SGC also has a group of members that have been hosting sessions of the Warhammer series of games, as well as miniatures for players to use with the games on Wednesdays. Recently though, these Wednesday meetings have been taking place alongside the Tuesday meetings, allowing those who usually could not come to the Wednesday meetings to play various Warhammer games during the Tuesday meetings instead.
SGC Tuesday meetings allow the attendants to play whatever tabletop games they want to, assuming that the organization owns those games and have brought the games with them to this meeting. Due to the fact these games could require any amount of space, the organization itself does not perform any setup of the room themselves beyond bringing the tabletop games, instead allowing the members to break up the large rectangle of tables themselves in order to create the space that they need for their chosen tabletop games. As a result, the only part of the room left in its initial state is often the far end of the tables, which are where the games not being played are located. However, this more hands-on setup is typically not a problem, as all of the attendees will often move the tables back into their initial place once they are done playing games, and the table is no longer in use.
Of course, you will need to get a group of players together for most of these tabletop games, but the other attendees of these meetings are usually more than willing to arrange groups to play larger games or join you for a game you would like to play. In many cases you might be able to play multiple different tabletop games in one meeting, but at this particular meeting I was only able to fit one game in, though I enjoyed it quite a lot. I was only able to play this game due to the fact that SGC was able to move some of its Warhammer content over to the Tuesday meetings.
Warhammer and it’s various games are something that I’ve been interested in for quite some time now, but I have never been able to experience them myself due to the large cost of building an army of miniatures and lacking any time to attend SGC’s Wednesday meetings. As such, now that Warhammer is being hosted during the Tuesday meetings, I jumped at the chance to finally play these games myself. During this meeting specifically, I played Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress, a Campaign Dungeon-Crawler game set in the Warhammer 40k universe, along with three other players.
In Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress (Blackstone), you play as a group of explorers searching for relics and riches within the depths of an ancient space-faring fortress. These expeditions into the fortress take place in two distinct phases, the exploration phase and the facility phase. In the exploration phase, the players draw a card from the exploration deck, which determines what they will find in this area of the fortress. In our session, we only drew Combat cards from this deck, but other areas of the fortress will feature other challenges. Combat encounters in particular are quite complex, as they require the players to balance not only their own actions, but also their position in initiative, the group pool of Destiny Dice for additional actions and the potential actions that their enemies may take based on the roll of a twenty-sided die. After each exploration phase, the players have the option to exit the Fortress and enter the facility phase, where they can use their character’s ships to perform various actions and purchase items using the loot they have gathered, though each player can only visit one ship. From this point the players can either save their characters by placing their character cards and loot in their special card sleeve and stop for the time being or reenter the Fortress.
As Blackstone is a Campaign game, my group is still quite far from finishing it, but I had quite a lot of fun with the combat encounters that we were able to play through. However, I do not think that the fun I felt was purely attributed to the game, but to the people I was playing with as well. For one thing, one of the players in this group is actually someone that I have known since my first semester here at Miami, and that I would consider a good friend. And the two other players, even if we only recently met, were still more than willing to discuss the things they enjoy and just generally have a good time while at the meeting. This general feeling of openness and acceptance is not just something that applies to this particular meeting, as it is something that I have found in every meeting of SGC that I have attended.
I believe that it is because of this open and accepting feeling that I enjoy my time with SGC so much, both this meeting and any other. No matter what group of people I choose to play with, or what game we are playing, I enjoy my time while I am there. The community their organization has built is just so accepting and so committed to having fun that it seems to be hard not to have fun while playing tabletop games with them. Not only that, but if the game you are playing happens to be a game that you are unfamiliar with, and someone else is very familiar with, the more experienced players will typically jump at the opportunity to share something that they love with someone new. This exact scenario is what happened during the above meeting, as while I am still relatively new to the people that play Warhammer at SGC’s meetings, they were very excited to help teach me the games that they enjoy so much.
As I have expressed throughout this reflection, I have always been able to enjoy my time spent at SGC, and the meeting on February 15th was simply an example of just why that is. The community that the Strategy Gaming Club’s officers have been able to build over their time is just simply such a welcoming and open one. As a result the entire organization just has a friendly and accepting atmosphere that makes it clear that having fun and meeting new people should be the number one priority, and that the tabletop games available are simply a way to meet those people and build those friendships. Even after all of this time, there are still new people in the organization to meet, and new games to play, and so the environment that SGC provides will always be appreciated.