How to Equip yourself for a Board Gaming Meetup
I have seen it all. My long years of adventures into mysterious fantasy lands and planets in space, fighting Elder Gods and of course trading goods in the Mediterranean. These are but a few of the stories I have experienced in the games I played during my board gaming sessions but when I am not in my mind being awesome, I have also seen how, in the real-world, more than a few attendees around me turn up at a meetup unprepared and looking most lost.
Thus to make sure that you are equipped as well as a level 20 Paladin in Dungeon and Dragons going to fight the big bad. I have decided to relay some humble information so you can make full use of a meetup session by having the right supplies to enjoy this great hobby to it's fullest.
This is probably the most important piece of "equipment" you will have to remember to bring before turning up as the whole point of going to a meetup is to meet people to game with and this can be helped tremendously if you are pleasant to play with.
Keeping an open mind is also important as unless you are taking the responsibility of bringing or teaching a game. You are at the mercy of what games are to be tabled. Thus before a game starts, if you don't think you will enjoy it, ask to sit the game out courteously and if the game has started already, try to enjoy the experience as much as possible and not bring down the group's collective fun by complaining or showing total disinterest.
Most of these meetups are also usually free or just a few dollars for hours of fun, so do temper your expectations. It is always better not go in expecting that the host (usually one person) is going to be able to take personal care of you and that you would be provided with food and drink.
If you are going to a board gaming meetup, chances are high some games you will play will have dice. Now imagine you are invited to play a dice game and you take out a Dice Tower for everybody to use. That I fathom would gather you quite a bit of "Street Cred" from knowing a "tool of the trade" that helps with keeping the dice from rolling off the tables, which is a usual problem at any board gaming session.
There are transport friendly, easy to build and take apart dice towers like the above you can find for a relatively cheap price I would suggest getting.
Wet and dry Tissues
Tissues speak for themselves as helping to keep a game clean is always appreciated, especially by the owner of the game. Wet tissues usually being used to clean a table before placing down a more rare and expensive game to keep the game in pristine a condition as possible.
Also, if there is a spill you can be the prepared boy/girl scout and offer your supply of dry tissues. Which can be the icebreaker you might need to get a conversation going to join the group for a game or two, and all for the cost of a few pack of tissues!
Unlike a meet and greet meetup that is more about conversations where you can jump in and out of, board games are more time sensitive as once a game starts it is usually not possible to join in until the start of a new game which may take up to an hour or more. Add to that, that these meetups are usually geared towards modern designer board games that are more expensive, certain foods are definitely preferred at board gaming meetups.
Factors you should consider are first that the refreshment is mobile-friendly, as usually, table space is at a premium and drinks be capped if possible to avoid spillage. As meals go, foods such as Ham and cheese sandwiches are a good choice as they not only fill one's belly but also do not stick to your fingers and stain like fried foods.
Another lighter refreshment to consider are snacks of which you should avoid those with powder flavourings. Snacks also having the plus point of being able to be shared with others.
This is entirely optional but the best way to make friends is to be the catalyst rather than the reactive agent. Thus if you have a game you can teach and play with people, then it will be far easier to meet new people.
Having a game of your own to table also reduces the chance that you have to wait to play a game as it is not uncommon for groups to arrange to play board games together in advance. Thus if you are waiting for someone to teach you a game with space for a player to open up, then it might be a while before one does.
That being said, do try to avoid bringing games like Monopoly, Clue, Uno, Chess, etc. There is nothing wrong with liking these games but board game meetups are mostly geared towards modern designer board games and most people are not too keen to play games such as Monopoly.
Games like Carcassonne, Citadels, One Night Ultimate Werewolf and so on are good bets as they are not only easy to teach even with a higher player count but are also still fun to many different kind of gamers.
So there you have it, a what to bring guide to a board gaming meetup. I do hope you have learned something and the next time you turn up at a meetup you will have added a few more members to your hobby gaming party of adventurers.