After 2020, the shift from gaming at the tabletop to gaming from a video call had felt well enough. Everybody had to quick pivot to find new ways to enjoy a beloved hobby, and we made the best of it. Innovations for tools like virtual tabletops were rolling in fast, while a whole lot of gamers were experiencing the existential nightmare of connection and audio/video issues for the first time. But we could still game, and sometimes that is what mattered.
However, the dynamic shifted for me over time, as it did for many others. After a couple years of easing quarantine restrictions, the rest of the Gaming Honors team could gather at the table again… and I was 450 miles away after relocating for a new job in the middle of a pandemic. Let me tell you, the fellas put in some work to get around that. No longer would we all be little video boxes on each other’s laptops. I would be the video box, a big video box, on a television at the table where the rest of the group gathered in real life.
Through conversations that were punctuated by audio-delay-infused silence; through multi-camera setups in a desperate attempt to let me see a game board; through questioning whether or not my connection had dropped when I would go to get a drink: these brave gamers persevered. On my turn in the initiative order, each would look over and see my face get closer to the screen that it was being projected from… as if leaning closer to my monitor would actually make me see better.
Week after week, the little video camera at the end of the table would launch; and despite the setbacks, characters were born and their stories told through that camera. The rabble-rouser, Finnick the Fair, turned a new leaf in holy reverence of the great Sovereign; the scoundrel with a royal legacy, Jax Falco, tentatively united with his distant father against a tyrannical brother; and Wander, a wayward elf, had been led by his dreams to an encounter that may reshape the future of an entire multidimensionally-accessible civilization. I was still gaming, and that was still what mattered.
These stories would not have seen the light of day if not for the willingness of a great group to work through the inconveniences, and for that I am grateful to the amazing team at Gaming Honors. But the title of this article contains… foreshadowing! For today, I revisit this topic because they project me from a screen no longer. I have relocated again, back near Gaming Honors HQ!
I must share that returning to the world of gaming at the table is glorious. Sometimes the littles things make the biggest difference, like moving your own mini along the dungeon map, or seeing the fear in the players’ eyes when their friend rolls one last death save. The novelty of these facets of gaming continues to mean a lot to me after over a decade of play, and I like to think that they always will.
Happy 2024 to everyone from us at Gaming Honors! I am personally looking forward to gaming in person on a regular basis, for the first time in many years. I hope that all of you can find opportunities this year to appreciate all the fun aspects of this awesome hobby. At the end of the day, as long as you are still gaming, and still honoring your players, and still honoring your game, I think that is what matters.