Where to find board game groups in the Metro

Lorenzo il Magnifico / Photo by Angela Sabas

Dan and I had different board game beginnings. He started playing in Makati after his laptop broke down and he couldn’t get it fixed for a while; I had been playing board games with my parents since I was a kid.1 Until now, he owns a couple games (and those are with his family in the province); my own collection is small compared to other friends, but even as a kid we had a baul of board games to choose from. He wasn’t sure where to find board game groups; I grew up not realizing it wasn’t a common activity.

But one of the best things about board games is that it doesn’t matter when you get into it, or even why: when the game’s down, everyone just…plays. It’s a game. The important thing is that you are here with us now, and sharing in this experience, whether it’s a heavy euro or a party-style take that.

One thing I’m really happy about with this amazing resurgence and popularity of board games is that so many more people know, play, and/or are open about trying board games. I mean, playing Power Grid with your parents is cool and all, but having a variety of players to play with is always a good thing. I find I play games differently when I’m with different people, after all.

However, that can be quite the conundrum. I’ve lived in Singapore before and gone back to the Philippines, and both times I’ve found myself wanting to find people to play games with; Dan was in a similar boat when he moved back to Manila as well.

So if you’ve been wondering where to find board game groups here in the Metro, here are some good ways to go about doing that.

1. Get help from social media

I ran to social media for help, here in the Philippines. With Facebook being so ubiquitous, I did a search for board games and found a couple active groups. I threw caution to the wind and posted blind: are any game groups open to new folks joining in? That thread ended up not only for me, but for others as well. So many people commented that they were also looking for a group, are there any in their area, that sort of thing.

People were (and are) super welcoming. Pretty much everyone who was looking for a game there, got invites to various groups. There were free-for-all game nights to established groups of friends looking for “new blood”. Don’t doubt the positivity and friendliness in this community!

Here are a couple local social Facebook board game groups that Dan or I are a part of, if you want to check them out:

2. Ask your current communities and groups

In Singapore, Facebook groups were not very popular (or at least, not with the crowd I was usually with). I found groups there via online forums and communities that were not even game-related. I posted on a forum for Filipinos in Singapore and asked if there were anyone interested in playing board games, or have a group open for someone to join them, etc.

The response was definitely slower than my experience with Facebook just a year ago, but it was still a success. I met a fellow Filipina who was also into board games, and we met and played a few light two-player games. Shortly after that, I started joining her group of board game friends (who she had met through other interests as well). We even became organizers for a Meetup group for weekly board game meetups.

The best thing about this method is that you would (presumably) already have one other thing in common, other than board games. That would hopefully make it easier to meet up and bond through board games and whatever commonality you both have. The people I met through this method are still good friends of mine, we keep in touch even though I’m all the way here in Manila now.

3. Friendly local game stores and board game cafes

Don’t underestimate the power of your friendly local game stores (FLGS) and board game cafes. While it might feel rather daunting to come in completely cold, the people at these places are generally super welcoming and would love to help you find a group! They have their own communities and gaming regulars, and they may be able to match you up against a few groups who are either looking for, or welcoming of, new folks joining their game nights.

While recent years have seen a lot of cafes closing (sob), there are many more that would love to help you. They need us, after all ;) so don’t be afraid to come in and ask them if they know of any open groups. There are stores and cafes all over the Metro! Makati, Mandaluyong, QC, you name it, there’s probably a cafe or store somewhere.

4. Conventions

Try a con or two! I was super chuffed to find out there were board game conventions here in the Philippines where one might find folks sharing their love of board games. It doesn’t need to be specifically board game conventions; there have been a smattering of general game conventions that have sections for analog games. The best thing about this is that you can introduce your own friends to the games, and maybe you can then make a regular gaming group of your own!

It’s also a really good way to try out new games, or hard-to-find games. Lots of veteran gamers attend these to check out various games, so you’ll be in the best company!

We’ll be sharing cons and events that we go to here in the blog (where in an official capacity or just as participants!), so feel free to follow us to keep updated :)

And a final special mention

We are actually part of a group of local board game advocates that do hold a bunch of Open Game Nights across the metro, on a weekly basis. VariablePlay hosts these game nights. If you find yourself near these places, there will likely be a game night this week (whatever week it is that you’re reading this!) and you are always welcome to join. The current schedule is:

Visit the Facebook page for updates (and for the weekly board game podcast!) or send a private message to ask for help. Or message us, of course, and we’ll help :D

If we’ve missed out any any nifty ways to find board game groups to play with, let us know in the comments below ;)

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The usual Monopoly, Cluedo, Sorry, and other old classic games.

Our TRPG origin stories

Hey meeplings, get a cup of your favorite beverage1, sit down and relax, as I tell you a tale of how two geeks got into the wonderful and limitless worlds of tabletop roleplaying games.

But first, let us define what is a Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TRPG). According to the internet, it is defined as “a form of role-playing game (RPG) in which the participants describe their characters’ actions through speech. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a set formal system of rules and guidelines.”2

Essentially, in a TRPG we have the players, who act out their characters that interact with other characters and with the world, which is usually created by a Game Master (GM)3. The GM, on the other hand, usually has a bigger responsibility: since they act as the main storyteller and arbiter, it is their duty to describe the world and its inhabitants and how it reacts to the players’ actions.

What I like about tabletop roleplaying games is the freedom to do what you want–but obviously in a respectful way especially with the other participants–with only your creativity and imagination as the limit. Also, in a world where social interactions are now done largely thru social media, it is somewhat liberating that TRPG sessions, especially those that are in-person, have become a social gathering which enables the participants to interact face-to-face with others.

With that, let me finally begin with our TRPG origin stories.

Dan’s experience

I have been a fan of fantasy and sci-fi genres in various mediums, from books, games, movies, etc., but RPG video games are the biggest contributor to my interest in tabletop roleplaying games. Games such as The Elder Scrolls series, World of Warcraft, Runescape, Witcher series, Pillars of Eternity, Fallout series, Star Wars: KOTOR, and many others.

I learned about tabletop roleplaying games thru pop culture osmosis, such as the D&D episode of Community. Eventually, I was able to watch Critical Role4 and this basically gave me the final push to actually look for games to join.

My first game was D&D 5th edition which was played online via Roll20. We were able to play up to two sessions where I played a Gnome Tinker. The campaign ended abruptly and this just whetted my appetite further to play more. Through lurking in various Facebook groups, I was able to join a supposedly one-shot game, but this time, it was in-person and we were playing the organized play variant for D&D 5th edition called Adventurers League.

I played Nefarian Blackclaw5, a Black Dragonborn Paladin. The module/campaign that we played consisted of multiple mini-adventures which caused our group to meet, surprisingly, on a weekly basis, and we kept playing the next modules of the series. Eventually, this group of strangers became really good friends and even became event organizers still running D&D and other RPG games6.

Angela’s experience

She has been an avid reader since she was little, being exposed to various fantasy series such as Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, October Daye, The Old Kingdom, The Song of the Lioness, The Chronicles of Prydain, and many others.

She learned about TRPGs from the interwebs and due to joining collaborative writing activities online when she was younger. Many years later, she met one of those writing friends in person and after talking about how she missed writing creatively, they recommended she try joining TRPG groups. Angela then initially tried to join a new campaign set in Wheel of Time, but due to various reasons, the campaign did not push through. The next opportunity was during the Singapore Open Gaming convention, where she was able to try a one-shot of The Dark Eye, a German fantasy roleplaying game, which initially did not meet her expectations.

More opportunities were few and far between. Finally, early in 2018, she found out that Critical Role had just started its second season–she had been seeing it around the Geek & Sundry channel from watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop and Titansgrave segments, but was hesitant to start watching when there were so many season one episodes to go through to catch up. With season two, however, she ended up binge watching it for a couple weeks–and after hearing from a guy she met a few months back via board games7 that he planned to run a one-shot game set in the World of Warcraft universe8, she jumped at the chance. She played a Draenei9 Priest named Tala, and together with her party, they played through the intro of the Alliance arriving in Northrend.

Today, both of us play TRPGs on a weekly basis in various campaigns/settings, which we will be talking about in a future post. Additionally, we will also be putting up summaries of games that I run under the Our Campaigns category, so stay tuned!

What about you? What was your TRPG origin story? Leave a comment below!

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Tea, coffee, beer, or whiskey for me, please.
2. All hail Wikipedia.
3. Also called Dungeon Master, Storyteller, Referee, etc. depending on the game system.
4. We both identify as Critters. I started watching since Vox Machina, while she started with the Mighty Nein.
5. Rest in peace.
6. We are now known as the Greasy Snitches.
7. i.e. ME!
8. Both of us have spent countless hours playing World of Warcraft.
9. She plays Alliance, I play Horde. Love finds a way haha.

New products: new cover colors for tomes and spell slot clips

I don’t know why we took so long before getting these colors out, but here they are! The D&D character tomes are now available in two super pretty colors, Bravest Blue and Radiant Red. The covers come in the same linen-textured finish as our Bewitching Black, Immaculate Ivory, and Pleasant Purple covers.

Look at dat finish <3

Price: ₱495.00 – Get the Bravest Blue character tome or Radiant Red character tome

They come in standard plain and dotted pages, after the character sheets you all know and love <3

If they’re sold out on the shop, have no fear–we’ve started accepting pre-orders! You’ll have the option to pre-order if an item is sold out on the shop and we allow pre-orders for the item. Just purchase your tome on that designated pre-order page, and we’ll get you your tome as soon as we’ve crafted it for you.

But wait, there’s more!

Personally, I’d always felt that none of the paper clips I tested with our spell slot tracker really did the trick. They were either too small and wrinkled the page unnecessarily, or too big and it’s just taking up so. much. space.

Thus started the Quest for The Perfect Clips. After a few investigation rolls, we finally found the one: a little wider but fairly short, these droplet clips are made even prettier by the colors they come in: gold, silver, rose gold, black, purple, and green. Perfect for all your different D&D characters!

Price: ₱50 – Buy them now

These clips are 10 in a pack — one for every spell slot, and an extra in case you misplace one or need it just ’cause ;)

Personally, I swiped a pack of purples for myself, because PURPLE! Though the green is tempting for my Yuan-ti Pureblood…ugh, choices, choices. What about you, what colors do you think your characters should use?

Hey meeplings!

Finally, we’ve done and dusted off our writing muscles. We’re psyched to share with you our various gaming pursuits, be it of the roleplaying game or board game variety. (Maybe a computer game or two, too!)

Perhaps a bit of introduction is in order? We’re Dan and Angela, gamers from the Philippines and currently based in Metro Manila. We met over a year ago over boardgames (naturally) and soon bonded over shared interests that included storytelling, history, and food (of course).

Earlier this year, we had the brilliant idea (heh) to explore making notebooks for other people. Angela had been making these hand-bound notebooks for her personal use for a good while now, so it wasn’t a very great leap to settle on having notebooks for an RPG character’s adventures (bujo ftw). We started selling online soon after, and the online shop was born.

The rest is history!

What the blog?

We’re just getting everything settled over the next few days, but you could expect the following topics over the course of a week:

  • Mondays for our shop updates
  • Tuesdays for rambling about roleplaying games
  • Wednesdays we’ll talk about a boardgame or two
  • And Thursdays come with writeups on our own campaigns

Fridays and the weekends will be quiet on the blog front–go play some games!

In the meantime, please check out our online shop for character folios and tomes for your D&D games, as well as some nifty cork coaster sets that turn into modular terrain when you flip them over :) We’re cooking up some new products so stay tuned–follow us over at Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for updates!

Talk to y’all soon!