I had a long, rambling post about Dicebreaker and why I started watching the channel but it was getting a bit ridiculous (plus I realized I had done something similar a year ago when the site launched). Instead, I’m just going to post a TON of photos at once to show you how many “quality of life improvements” (as Wheels would say) this YouTube channel has given me this past year.
I started watching the channel from day one, not really sure what to expect but it didn’t take long for me to be inspired to want to play more tabletop games.
After watching the team play a few games of ‘Werewolf’, I wanted to play this game with my friends. October was 3 months after the channel premiered and also 3 months since I had been promoted to manager at a new library. So as the “after party” for our library system’s full staff meeting, I invited my previous co-workers over for beverages and snacks and ‘Werewolf’. I think it went well considering none of them had ever played before.
Good motivator for those winter days, anytime I rode my exercise bike, I would watch a Dicebreaker video. This photo is a blurry mess because instead of taking an actual screenshot, I snapped it with my phone while on the bike, but I think it sums up the group dynamics nicely. (The way Johnny rubs his eyes under his glasses always makes me think of Giles wiping off his glasses. Buffy eventually asks “Is that why you’re always cleaning your glasses? So you don’t have to see what we’re doing?”)
I threw my name out there for the Owlbear giveaway. I had never painted anything before and figured wouldn’t win but why not try? We were actually on a trip to Florida when this was all going on…I think it was the day we were driving home when they announced the winners on a painting live stream so I didn’t see it until later. Now that I had won, I had to paint it!!
Now we are in early February 2020, the world had not fallen into total chaos yet (or rather, it had but as an American I was being kept blissfully ignorant because our country had been on fire for 3 years now it was hard to tell what was worth panicking about anymore). So I jumped in my car with some friends and drove the 8 hours north to Boston for PAX EAST!
This PAX East was very different for me because it was the first time I wanted to hang out in the tabletop area. I had a running list in my mind of games to try, things that the team had mentioned on the show. Playing tabletop game demos was SO different from playing video games demos – the level of interaction with the person teaching you the game (sometimes the game’s creator!) and the interaction with other convention goers. I loved it.
And, of course, they had crokinole and I would NEVER have known what the heck crokinole was had it not been for Dicebreaker. I made my friends play and we had a great time, one of the few times we were all able to sit and play something together and we all had fun.
And then the highlight of my weekend, the one panel I absolutely HAD to attend no matter what: Dicebreaker presents The Ten Weirdest D&D Creatures
My D&D knowledge was very low, everything I knew was from Oxventures at this point, but the panel cracked me up and I was so thrilled to see the team in person. (And I’ve noticed the last few Oxventures and Dungeonbreakers this year have featured creatures from this panel.)
And my little fangirl heart was thrilled that they took the time for a quick chat and a photo. I’m sure they were all jetlagged and exhausted but they all smiled and laughed at my cheesy jokes because I’m sure I said something ridiculous. But yes, I love this photo.
So yeah, this happened:
And then my Mom took me out shopping for my birthday and this happened:
And then 2020 became 2020. My library shut down and we were all told to stay home and stay safe. Days began to blur together, it was hard to get motivated to do anything, but as I wrote about before, it was live streams that helped get me out of the funk and helped me find energy to be creative again.
I started following all things Dicebreaker on social media, so I tweeted at them a lot. The little “likes” and comments from the team made the “stay home” order more bearable. At least other people were out there.
I discovered Tabletop Simulator around this time which let me connect with a friend in Chicago. He was already big into tabletop gaming so it didn’t take much convincing to get him to try ‘Gloomhaven’ with me. It became a Saturday night staple but I never would have tried it had it not been for Dicebreaker.
For awhile we also played ‘Set a Watch’ every Tuesday night. It got me thinking about the way that tabletop games connect you to people, how that is very different from video games…which is a whole other post but these are obviously thoughts I would not be having had it not been for Dicebreaker.
Since I had time on my hands and the Owlbear project had showed me that painting minis could be fun, I bought a few more to keep myself busy. I didn’t actually have any games that used them, but that didn’t matter. I am used to little plastic people living on my desk. It was fun to be the one that painted them and brought them to life.
And then…the ultimate purchase…late May…I finally went a little crazy and ordered…A CROKINOLE BOARD!
Was it crazy? Yes. Do I regret it? No. I love this game. It’s so simple to teach to everyone, fun to flick the pieces. I played it with my family and when we had to go back into the library in June, I brought it into work for everyone to try because it is the kind of game that makes everyone laugh.
I also was brave enough to start playing D&D with a bunch of people I met online during the lockdown, all fans of Gamer Network series. Our group has players in Iceland, Netherlands, Canada and the U.S. but we all get along and enjoy a good adventure and, more importantly, a good laugh.
And now, every Thursday when my stepdaughter brings her boyfriend over, I have all of us play a tabletop game together. And I have SO MANY now that we rarely play the same games twice in a row (though we did have quite the crokinole championship going for awhile.) I think I surprised them all with ‘Point Salad’ because it has such an innocent name but the game can get so complex by the end.
Oh and NOT pictured? All the TTRPGs I have downloaded from itch.io based on other suggestions and the Quest RPG book that I am going to read and figure out! And all the dang Kickstarters I pledged to while I was at home with nothing better to do! (really excited to try ‘Alice is Missing’ which just arrived in my inbox!) …pretty sure my game collection has tripled in this past year and I regret nothing.
So, if you’re not watching Dicebreaker, you should be. The videos are fun and they are good people there. They care about games but they care more about people having a good time.
And why just watch when you can also listen! – they have a weekly podcast which is on the YouTube page but also on iTunes, Spotify etc.
And then there is the website – Dicebreaker.com – which is chock full of articles about upcoming games, classic games, interviews and more. I love reading it while I’m at work because it is easy to pop over and peruse while I’m waiting for the next patron to arrive.
TL;DR – THANK YOU DICEBREAKER TEAM FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!
Thank you Johnny, Wheels, Lolies, Meehan, Matt, Sara (best of luck) and Dean (welcome to the team). You are all rays of geeky sunshine in these dark times. Thank you for introducing me to this amazing hobby. Thank you for reading my tweets and comments and podcast questions. I wish you all the best as you go into your SECOND year!