- I chose this group because it's nearby, it meets regularly, and they play a variety of board games. The organizers emphasize that all abilities and experience levels are welcome to join and the atmosphere is casual. I’m hoping this will be a laid-back environment for me to learn and explore different games as well as interact with game enthusiasts.
- I want to learn about the other members' experiences.
- I'm really nervous about this as a group experience. I'm worried that the members will be frustrated with me because I'm not a gamer. I often find it challenging to learn games because I am a slow learner and I don't have a lot of confidence around learning games. But I'm keeping an open mind.
- a common passion for a particular interest, in this case board games
- a common space for people of all abilities and experience
- various levels of participation among attendees/members
- leadership or lack thereof
When I said that I was worried the other members would be frustrated with me, I had already attended the group once before submitting my proposal. After just one session attendance, I had already felt confused and out of place. My first meetup event was awkward, uncomfortable, and only marginally fun. That is, I experienced a range of feelings about both my presence and my participation over the course of that initial evening. From finding myself sitting at a table of complete strangers - all of whom happened to be men - to attempting to play a game at the same time as I was learning it: everything about the evening made me question if I had chosen the right environment for this project. Should I have chosen an online affinity group instead, where I didn't have to publicly expose my fears? I managed to survive that first encounter and I also managed to return the next week. I speak in terms of this being an accomplishment because, for me, it definitely was a challenge.
I take notes during and after each meetup session. What am I looking for here? I want to get a sense of how this board game group operates as an affinity space between a fluctuating group of people through the playing of games. I want to understand how information is created and negotiated, and this would include the rules of game play as well as player interaction. These notes touch on areas such as play organization, rules, player interaction, and a running account of my own observations throughout the evening. I will be following up this post with updates about specific sessions.