I’ve been gaming for over 35 years. That’s over two-thirds of my entire existence. Over that span, I’ve played just about every variety of tabletop game you can imagine. Been to countless conventions and shows. Followed all the big name creators and reviews out there. I live and breath this stuff. It’s in my veins and dominates my thoughts often. Yet I have this inescapable thought that tends to creep into the forefront of my brain when I look to engage in this wonder hobby we all love.
I’m an imposter.
Not in the literal sense, but rather that even given my decades of gaming history, I still don’t belong. All those hours spent playing games, learning new ones, replaying classics, that there is still so much out there that I still haven’t been exposed to. So many games that others in circles that I inhabit seem to have a “leg up” in terms of knowing all these great games. To the point where I question my use of time. What AM I doing with my time?
This feeling can be broken into two parts. First, I have a lot of interests. I’m sure my imposter syndrome wouldn’t be nearly as bad (or exist at all) if I were only interested in boardgames, or RPGs, or whatever. But the fact is, I love gaming, film, TV, comics, reading, and the list goes on and on from there. I’m a multifaceted person, with many varying interests. And all of those things have kept me from being very good at one single pursuit. Second, there is so much out there. Like almost too much. I oftentimes feel overwhelmed with all the titles and when I’m asked about whether I’ve played this or that, I quickly realize my exposure seems limited compared to others.
Then there’s the whole Ameritrash vs. Euro conversation. This idea that one type of board game versus the other comes with a certain level of, shall we say, superiority complex? Not to say that those who prefer Euro go about proclaiming this elevated sense of self. I fully recognize that I and I alone put those thoughts squarely in my head.
I was invited to a game night through a local gamer friend at a guys place that I have never attended before. The two games played that night were squarely in the Euro category (both were lots of fun for the record, Genoa and Ra) and at one point during the evening, I was asked what my top 5 games where. I hesitated for a couple of reasons, one, I’m almost 49 and memory isn’t as quick to access as it once was. But after I had a moment to gather my answer, I still paused in giving it because as I looked at the hosts wall of mostly heavy Euros, I didn’t want to come off as a light weight or someone who wasn’t worthy of that nights invite.
And that’s a shame.
Once again, not that the host or anyone else in attendance made me feel that other games are “less”, but rather that I have put my mindset in a way that makes me think that I have to prefer a certain type of game to be taken seriously or that if I do enjoy theme heavy “Ameritrash” (can we get a better name for this? I despise this term) games, that I’m not worthy of a seat at the table.
So where does this leave me? I think at the end of the day, I’m going to stop worrying about feeling the need to fit into an idea of what my gamer self thinks it should be, and rather just enjoy what I enjoy. Regardless of what others think, I’m going to make sure I keep right on loving and enjoying the type of games that bring me joy at the table. I think I will focused on great gaming experiences, in all facets of gaming.
Imposter syndrome or not, I’m not going worry anymore about feeling like I have to present myself in a certain light in this hobby space.
I’m Richard, and I like all kinds of games. Welcome to my table. Pull up a seat and lets have some fun.
As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!