Many of us love to get together with friends and family for a few board games from time to time. Sometimes those game sessions can extend longer than the normal play time or maybe you decided to give a campaign run a try? I recently had the pleasure of a gaming weekend away and thought I would put some of my thoughts down on paper about extended gaming sessions. But first, I'll set the scene, It has become a tradition to head to a friend's beach house in Anglesea over the Queen's Birthday weekend. With the extra day off on the Monday, we can get heavily into games on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
After I got home from work Friday, I packed a suitcase and got the kids in the car, (I made sure to pack the games aswell, don't worry). In fact, there were more games than clothes and food. 2 and a half hours later, and we were at the house, arriving just before our friends. We all unloaded into our respective rooms, and grabbed a few refreshments before inspecting all the games we brought with us. We then settled into a weekend of fun and laughter. Each night, I don't think I went to bed before 2am, getting in as much gaming as we could. We really attacked this weekend with gusto, getting in a total of 42 different games (22 of which were unique games).
We did go out for dinner one night, but for the most part, we had enough food for 2 families of 4 and an extra adult. A few small trips down to the nearby supermarket now and then made sure we were all well fed, and we had plenty to drink. Between the 2 families, our children were well cared for, getting enough sleep and attention to keep both them and us happy. We played games with just adults, adults and kids, and the kids branched off to play games on their own, be it digital or cardboard. In all, it was a great weekend of gaming.
I would however like to note my top tips for having an extended gaming session.
Preparation is key to having a good weekend. This is where you organise where you're going, who will bring what, and if you can, make a note of what you want to get out of the weekend. Is there a specific game you want to play, does anyone have specific food requirements, etc.
Make sure you sustain yourself. You will get cranky and irritable if you don't eat, and you will start to not feel well if you don’t drink. Snacks and alcohol are fun for while you're gaming, but having a good sandwich and a glass of water can keep you alert to make optimum decisions.
We would all love to stay up all night playing games, but taking at least a few hours to get some sleep rests your body as well as your brain. You want to be at your mental best to play those long games.
As much as it's great fun to go from game to game, or play a 6 hour massive session, you will play so much better and feel refreshed for the next session if you take the time to go for a walk for 15 minutes. It also allows you to talk about the games, great plays, etc.
While it’s great to get stuck into a 4 hour campaign session of Twilight Imperium 3, you will loose interest of players if you play 4 games of Smallworld each day. Take a variety of games that have different mechanics and goals. This way everyone can play to their strengths and have a chance to have fun. Even try playing some 2 player games.
Its no fun for one person or couple to act as mother for the weekend. Take turns cooking or organising food and work together to clean. After all, its more fun playing all together.
How can I say this nicely.. You smell.. Or you will if you're not careful. Take the time to shower at the bare minimum every other day. You may even feel refreshed and ready to tackle that next game.
Gaming is something that brings us all together, and long sessions and gaming weekends are the pinnacle that we as gamers strive for. This may not be the most comprehensive list of things to be wary of when your gaming, but if you think ahead, and take time to look after yourself, a weekend away with your favourite games will be everything you want it to be.
Have fun gaming!