Saturday, April 11, 2015

Magic Beans

Beans, beans the musical fruit... No wait a second. Not those beans. Today was International Table Top Game Day. A manufactured event to be sure, but what wonderful results.
Even as I sit writing this, I recognize the dysfunctional system the event is supposed to combat. Are you confused by that last sentence? Allow me to explain.
My daughter is laying on the couch with her notebook in her lap. My youngest is watching TV. My wife is reading her iPhone and I'm typing on the keyboard with my back to my family. We're in the same room, but we might as well be miles apart. What a lonely life to lead.
Today my family volunteered to play and run some board games at a place called Magic Beans Cafe, and I'm glad we did. 
Imagine this: A small coffee house with snacks and several shelves worth of board games you are invited to play. The decor is reminiscent of a tavern from Game of Thrones. Instead of watching a computer screen, we are all facing one another and participating in a favorite game or a new one you may never have heard of before. Imagination and creativity rule the day. I made some new friends and reconnected with old ones.
Today I built a town and completed some quests, then I rescued monkeys and finally I took a silly cruise around the galaxy. In between those achievements there was friendly small talk over coffee and sandwiches. In short, we had a blast.

Munchkins playing Munchkin.
My one regret is I didn't get a picture of how crowded it was. This picture with the two youngsters was taken early in the day before the main crowd arrived. The parking lot got full quickly. A good thing there was an open field next to the strip center. That filled up as well. A quick estimate of people there would be in the 60 to 75 range. Tables were full, people were playing and it was almost standing room only.
With that many people present, con funk rules applied. I can't speak for everybody there, but I'm glad I brushed my teeth and used deodorant.
We have a strong gaming community here in San Antonio, and few places to actually hang out and do fun stuff like what Magic Beans is offering.
Let me run down your excuses for you.
'I haven't owned a board game since I was in the 6th grade.'
Magic Beans has a well stocked library of games to play.
'But I don't know how to play.'
There are always people there who can teach you a game. In fact, tables are often reserved for regular players. In fact a large chalk board covers a portion of one of the walls indicating when game sessions will be held.
They've only been open about a month and a half, so cut them a bit of slack about their web page not being chock full of stuff. I suspect it won't be that way for long.
There's more information on their Facebook page. Check it out. 

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