One of the things I’ve particularly enjoyed getting into since moving to London are a variety of social gaming and quizzing events. They’ve proven to be a great way to meet new people, have a good laugh and get your brain working. They’ve all been easy and relatively simple games – I haven’t got into any complicated strategy games or things like that. Just events where you can relax and have a good laugh.
So I’ve been enjoying games with a few different groups, and have had quite a selection during this past week alone. So I thought I’d highlight some of the things I’ve been playing lately.
I’ve already written about this group when I discussed the Tubeopoly game and escape rooms I enjoyed with them earlier in the year. They also do well-organised quiz nights too, which I’ve been to a couple of now. One was the Big Bob Quiz Of The Year in January – which, as the name suggests, was all about 2016. And this Friday we had the Ultimate Pub Quiz, which covered all sorts of different things – general knowledge, top 10 lists, animal photos (the round I was naturally least able to help with), a word based sudoku (probably my best round, I enjoy puzzles like that), cheese tasting, and folk music from various countries. Some of it was quite hard, but our team score was still respectable. I haven’t been on a winning team yet, but both the quizzes I’ve been so far were good fun, the hosts do a great job.
Thinking Bob also introduced me to Cards Against Humanity as well, as they do monthly sessions for people who want to play. I’d been aware of the game for a while, as I knew friends who enjoyed it. But I had never played it before. And I’m glad I tried it, as it’s hilarious. I’ve mentioned this a few times briefly before, but if you don’t know what it is, you basically have to complete a phrase using one or more of the cards in your hand. Which sounds innocent enough, until you see what’s written on them! It’s all very adult in nature, so if you’re easily offended, you should stay away from it. But if you don’t mind throwing away all sense of morals and political correctness for a couple of hours over a few drinks, then it’s a great way to spend a night. I’ve already played it twice with them, and will definitely do so again. Not every single month, as it would get a little repetitive then, but certainly every so often.
I have other events lined up with Thinking Bob as well, those just happen to be the gaming ones. I haven’t been a member for very long, and haven’t been to any of their events for a couple of months with other things getting in the way. But I certainly hadn’t been forgotten – as soon as I arrived at the quiz on Friday, I was cheerfully greeted with a warm hug by one of the ladies that knows me there, and there were a few other people I knew there who I had a chat with too. So I do feel very much like part of the family. It’s really nice to walk into a room where people recognise you and welcome you back so warmly, even when you’ve not been around for a while. So they are still at the top of my list of social groups to hang out with so far.
This site has been on my to-do list for a little while, and has been recommended to me by a few people in the last few months. The reason I avoided it initially was because it felt a bit overwhelming to start with, as there’s so much on there.
Hence Thinking Bob felt like an easier way into things, even though you have to pay a subscription (unlike Meetup, which is free). Thinking Bob has a more concise, but still highly varied, selection of events, that are very well-organised and easy to get into. And if you attend events fairly regularly, there are other regular members and hosts who will quickly get to know you. So it was a wise move to focus on them, I’m glad I did that.
However, Meetup is a great way to add even more variety to one’s social calendar, and many Thinking Bob members are also part of Meetup groups. So I have recently been looking into Meetup more closely, and joining a few groups that interest me. There really is something for everyone on there, that’s for sure!
So I tried my first Meetup group – the Comedyopoly group – the Friday before last, going to a games night in the basement of The Shakespeare pub near Barbican station. And it was a very good night. The venue itself, and the room within it, were very easy to find. And the Meetup signs that the host stuck on the wall were very easy to spot – unlike Thinking Bob, who do have signs but I’ve never clearly seen them. I think it’s because the Meetup signs had a thick border top and bottom, and the word Meetup is in clear, bold, large print in the middle, so they stand out well.
The group wasn’t too large, so we were all able to sit around a table together, rather than being split into groups. And it worked very well. We had a lot of laughs playing a variety of games, including:
- Show Or Tell – In this game you have to describe or act out the things on the cards, some of which are very adult in nature. I think this one was my favourite, as it was often hilarious because of some of the items on the cards.
- Taboo – In this game you have to describe something on the card without using the word itself or the other 5 words listed on the card. It does make you think twice before describing things.
- Funemployed – In this game you have to apply for normal-sounding jobs, using the ridiculous and random qualifications on the cards you’re given. So you have to be quite creative, and it’s fun seeing what people come up with.
- Off Your Rocker – In this game, one player in each round becomes the psychiatrist, and must guess the quirky condition that is being shared by all the other players (the patients). Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes it can be quite tricky to guess.
- Pit – In this game you have to get 9 cards of the same item, by blindly swapping 1 to 4 cards with other players, and everyone is playing at once to try and do this, so it goes very fast! Perhaps a bit too fast for me really, but it was still fun to play a few rounds of it.
The host, Duane, who was great by the way, also mentioned that he had a game called Guards Against Insanity, which is an unofficial expansion pack to Cards Against Humanity, which apparently has an even worse sense of humour and morals than the main game. I can’t help thinking I’d like to play that one day, just to see how bad it is. It sounds like we might get the opportunity at another of these events.
Anyway, the time flew by as we went through all of the games. And they were a lovely bunch of people, some of whom I might see again as I’ve been joining one or two other groups that they’re also members of. Not just gaming groups, but other things too. But I’ll definitely go again to other games meetups like this as time goes on, with this group and others. It was a great way to spend a Friday night.
This is a relatively new startup, less than a year old I believe, but their unique selection of events are already proving to be popular from what I can tell, with lots of good reviews on their Facebook page. I found out about them because a group of Thinking Bob members were going to attend one of their events. I was going to go with them but wasn’t able to in the end. But I decided to check out their events for myself, and a few have caught my eye.
So on Tuesday night I went to my first event with them – Dirty Scrabble Speed Dating It’s like regular speed dating, in that you spend about 5 minutes with each person before moving on to the next. But the twist is that you have a Scrabble board between you as well so you can have a very quick game together. And in this game you can only put down dirty and rude words – which is more difficult than it sounds, even when you’re allowed to pick up 10 letters and be really flexible with spelling. You have to be a bit creative, and that does produce some funny results!
I’ve never been to any kind of dating event before, nor have I used any dating apps or websites like Tinder or Match or whatever. But I do like word games, and I do want to meet new people, so it sounded interesting and worth a go. I wasn’t going there looking for or expecting to find ‘the one’ – for me this was another social event, a chance to say hello to some new people and have some fun. If it resulted in any friendships beyond the event, that would be a bonus.
So naturally I was a bit nervous, but it did help a great deal that I’ve already been to quite a few social events already this year, so I’m feeling quite relaxed about meeting new people these days. And I had no problems on this night either, I didn’t have any shyness getting the better of me, thankfully.
It was easy to chat to people, because everyone was very friendly and talkative, including Jordi the organiser. So much so, in fact, that I didn’t end up playing much Scrabble. What we did play was fun, and if we’d had more time to play with each person, it would have been quite a good laugh. But the amount of Scrabble playing got less and less as I moved from girl to girl, as we just ended up talking quite happily, and that used the time up very quickly. And thus the evening served its primary purpose, getting people to engage with each other. The Scrabble just helped to break the ice and take the pressure off, and I know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t end up playing much of it.
The only thing that let it down a bit was the acoustics in the room. Drink, Shop & Do is a lovely place, and the room we were in had a very impressive large domed ceiling. However, when you’ve got 20 people chattering away all at once, that domed ceiling also causes everyone’s voices to reverberate all round the room, so it’s very loud, and consequently you have to speak loudly and listen very intently to hear what the other person is saying. So it’s not particularly conducive to good conversation. But we all managed, it just meant that my voice sounded a bit strained afterwards!
You also have to watch out when going into the Gents toilets on the lower floor in there, because it has a couple of steps downwards into it which are easily missed in the dark. Luckily I was being careful and didn’t fall down them, but if you’ve had a few drinks and aren’t concentrating or expecting them, I can imagine people slipping down them.
That didn’t spoil the evening though. Nor did the fact that the names I wrote down afterwards didn’t result in any friendship matches. It’s a shame, but it was my first time doing anything like this, so I didn’t have huge expectations. Just going to one of these things was a big step for me. And I enjoyed myself, so it was well worth doing. There was a broad range of people, with different interests, personalities, nationalities, etc. And every single one was really nice and friendly and very interesting to talk to.
I am going to another event with this group soon as well. Not a speed-dating event, but it’s still something very different from what I’ve been doing so far, so that should be interesting to write about later.
Still To Come…
So it’s been an interesting time recently, playing a variety of games at different events with different groups of people, and I’ve enjoyed all of them in their own way. And I look forward to trying others as well as time goes on, as I know there are loads of board games, card games, quizzes and more out there. I also like other things like bowling, pool and video games as well, so I’m sure I’ll end up going to events involving those things too.
When it comes to things I haven’t played, I know I’d like to learn chess one day – it’s amazing to think I never have yet. One person I met at the speed dating event was into backgammon, which would be good to learn too. And another girl there was into Dungeons & Dragons, which I would also be interested to at least try, as I’m not sure if I’d be any good at it, or if it would be my cup of tea. The only experience I’ve seen of people playing it is on The Big Bang Theory, so it’s impossible to tell based just on that. But it could be interesting to try it out as a beginner one day, to satisfy my curiosity see if it appeals.
So there will be plenty more gaming experiences to come, as well as other walks, trips to museums and other bits and pieces. I’m trying to ensure I do a fair variety of things, which is pretty easy when there’s so much on offer really.
This coming week I’m going away for a couple of days to visit friends in my old home town, which will be cool, I’ve missed hanging out with them, naturally. But once I’m back in the big smoke again, my explorations will be continuing. Plus there’s an interesting project I’m getting a bit involved with, but I won’t mention that until it goes live. And I’ve got meetings arranged with one or two wonderful people as well. So there’s plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead, I won’t be getting bored any time soon! 🙂