Board Games

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.((The usual Monopoly, Cluedo, Sorry, and other old classic games.)) 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 ;)

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