Tag: sekigahara

Games with Friends

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately, specifically male friendships. Honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about masculinity, male relationships, family, and life past the age of thirty. I came across this article the other day The Legion Lonely by Stephen Thomas and it hit really close to home. With the exception of being married, I’m just like the author, a 34-year-old man without any friends. Even sadder is that with a quick online search I came across other recent articles on the same topic. For example this Boston Globe piece.

The scary thing is that I’m not some maladjusted shy basement dweller. As far back as I can remember I have always been an extroverted outgoing guy. As a matter of fact, I’ve always been at the center of my social circle. A decade ago weekend events with friends were scheduled weeks in advance. Almost every night I would get a call from a friend wanting to hang out, even if it was just to a late night dinner or coffee.

Somewhat solitary hobbies.



So what happened? I got happily married, move away, got a time-consuming career. My friends got happily married, had children, moved away, committed to careers. We all keep in touch, Facebook every now and then, but our relationship is no different than one between any acquaintance on social media. Not enough time. Too much distance. Too much effort.

Now, to be honest I’m perfectly happy. My wife is amazing. We have the best conversation and I love spending time with her. But, I’m also a little bit jealous. She has friends. Girlfriends that she goes hiking with, girlfriends that she goes out of her way to spend time with over lunch. My entire social circle has become her friends and the associated husbands.

It doesn’t help that my hobbies and interests tend to be solitary in nature. It’s hard to make friends when I’m spending hours writing or sitting in a chair reading. Writing fiction in itself is a really strange and lonely endeavor. It requires one to be emotionally extroverted, brave with a hint of narcissism, yet requires hours upon hours of basement dwelling alone time.

The truth is that friendships require effort. I can spend all day making excuses about not having enough time, being tired from work, needing to spend time with the family, on and on, but in the end, I’m in control of the situation. 20170921_174732

So with the above in mind, I’ve decided to make an effort to connect with people and rekindle my interests. I grew up gaming, everything from tabletop RPGs to hex wargames. Right now, being away from my old group, my only game partner is my wife. I gave it some thought and decided that I’m going to make an effort to find others that share my interest or are interested in learning. Interestingly enough last week two different guys at work came up to me and struck up conversations about tabletop games out of the blue.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to wait around for a group to find me. Instead, I’m going to take the lead and set up regular game nights. Invite people that show interest and hopefully create a group of like-minded guys that can share my interest in gaming. When I was young I discovered pen and paper RPGs and became the perpetual DM who always ran games for all my friends, might as well continue to take the lead.

Last week I did just that. I invited a coworker for some gaming and I busted out Sekigahara. I had a great time playing against a new opponent and already other coworkers want to get some gaming on. Sekigahara is a fantastic game but runs a bit long, so I ordered Command & Colors: Napoleonics. A game I can hopefully teach really fast and use as an introduction to tabletop wargaming.

I did a bit of stickering this weekend.


I’m going to make a serious effort to break out of my comfort zone and become more receptive to embracing new hobbies and new opportunities. Becoming a wild-haired, bearded madman recluse isn’t very appealing.


A Weekend of Game: Sekigahara and Lords of Waterdeep

Another fantastic three day weekend is shortly coming to a close. The past three days have been a blast. We continued exploring around our neighborhood, trying new restaurants, and going on our now weekly hikes. You can check out all the great sights from this weekends adventure through Kamakura at Judy’s blog Adventurous Abroad. She takes some really great pictures.alexwaterfall

But my favorite part of the weekend was our newly rekindled gaming. Judy and I used to play a lot of boardgames. We even have a modest little collection. Our friends in Southern California used to get together every weekend, drink beer, and roll dice.
Unfortunately, life got in the way. We moved further and further away. Schedules became harder to manage and work drained our available leisure time. Boardgaming kind of fell to the wayside.
Recently I have been getting the itch to game. An itch that just cannot be satisfied by my PS4. So I ordered Sekigahara. I thought it was appropriate thematically due to us living in Japan. Also, our favorite game is Twilight Struggle, made by the same company so I wanted to continue that experience.
Making everything cooler, Judy the genius that she is, pointed out the fact that we can actually ask other humans to play with us. So, we got ourselves invited to our friends, Kelsey and Johns, house for beer and board gaming.


On Saturday Judy and I battled for Japan in GMT’s two player Sekigahara: The Unification of Japansekigahara2

The battle of Sekigahara fought in 1600 unified Japan under the Tokugawa family bringing peace and prosperity for over two hundred years. In the game, each player takes a side in the 7-week battle, one representing Ishida Mitsunari and the other Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The game is fantastic. Nail-bitingly tense, and beyond exciting. It uses blocks for units that hide your strength from your opponent creating a fantastic fog-of-war effect. Units attack using loyalty cards, a mechanic used to simulate warfare based on ever-shifting alliances. You can have situations where a small but loyal army smashes a larger force due to shifting loyalties and betrayal.
sekigaharagame gameboard
The mechanics lead to a tension-filled game where you constantly have to adjust and overcome in order to succeed.
We played two games and had a blast going 1 – 1 for wins. Judy won the first game, smashing me in Kyoto in an epic battle. The second game I got lucky, winning by capturing Tokugawa alone when she unwisely separated him from a siege.
Sekigahara Game Pic 1
Overall great game, and a fantastic return to gaming for us.
Sunday we did our first board game night, with John and Kelsey. Judy and I both had a blast and we both look forward to doing it again.
For the game of choice, we decided on bringing Lords of Waterdeep. LoW is actually the first Eurostyle game we ever played. It’s a great introduction to worker placement games and more complex Eurogames in general. It super easy to teach and super easy to play. Most of all it has a great theme and really high-quality art and design. I am also partial to the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms theme.
So the four of us spent the night as shadowy masked manipulators pulling the strings in the shadows of The City of Splendors. We sent wizards, warriors, clerics, and rogues on dangerous missions. Judy embraced her role as a fantasy slum lord, the Donald Trump of fantasy real estate, by developing many buildings throughout the city.
The game was a blast and we ended up playing twice back to back. The first game was a tie between me and Judy(I’m sure there is a tiebreaker mechanic) and the second went to John.
Lords of Waterdeep is a great introductory game. It was a blast to play again after so many years. It’s really simple that you can drink a few beers playing it yet has enough depth of choice and action to keep you occupied the whole time.
Another great weekend spent exploring a fantastic country with my amazing wife and great friends. Life is wonderful.