Time has come for me to abmit it. I am a gamer.
I always was a gamer, but I have been off gaming since 1989. With good reasons, but with age comes maturity and (hopefully) the end of some self dilutions. This is the story of one of them.
I stopped tabletop gaming in 1989, at the same time as I gave up drinking. I was drunk when I gamed and when I gave up the juice I gave up the dice as well. I got rid of everything. All my games, my dice. With the exception of one deck of LO-Vision regular poker cards, because these are rather difficult to find. When I met he who would become my husband, a year later, I even made him give up gaming too. Yes, he got rid of his dice set (very basic red polyhedrals he kept in a vintage Sucrets tin) and his AD&D books for me. He is a very good and patient man.
In the following years, I tried to occasionnaly play simple family board games from time to time, and it would be dreadful for me. Literally deadful: I would get anxiety attacks playing Monopoly. SkipBo would make me sweat bullets. To top it off, I discovered I was a pretty bad loser. To be perfectly honest, I probably always was a terrible loser back when I drank too, but I don't remember much of it, on accounts I was drunk most of the time. I do remember not having a lot of fun and getting into loud arguments with fellow gamers, and it's probably a sign of just how bad a loser I was. But I had stopped gaming. I was literally off my game! It did not stop the attraction to gaming one damn bit.
So for some two decades, I resorted to watching every video game show on tv, reading gaming mags in stores, going to Toys'R'Us and pining over all those pretty boxes (I thought that family games might be less dangerous than serious games, somehow). Mostly, though, I sat at the table whenever a card game or a boardgame was played in the same building I was in and I watched, attentively, for hours, studying the strategies, enjoying the gameplay and the repartie, loving every minute of it, all the while trying not to pee my pants for fear of joinging in.
In my silly little brain, boozing and gaming were so closely associated, they had the same effect on me. And my fear of drinking was merged with a fear of gaming.
Fast forward to 2011. My husband (the same as above) and I adopted a marvelous little boy. We were now responsibe for the forging of this little person, for teaching him everything from talking to walking to, yes, playing. And I realized I was scared of playing. I was scared of games. This could not be. My parents had not been into games much at all when I was a child, except for the occasional Scrabble night in the 1970s to which I was certainly not invited, because of too much cigarettes and scotch, because the 70s. I cannot say that my parents taught me to play, or to game, ever. My husband's family were card players, avid ones. We still have the booklets used to keep score in the endless games of 500 and Hearts. My husband and his brother even invented a card game, some trick taking thing they call "le jeu".
But I could not place the entire onus of teaching our son play and games on his father. It would not be fair to either of them. So I discerned, for about a year.
At the beginning of 2012, I decided that I needed to set myself straight and start to teach my son gaming. He turned two and I introduced him to the wonderful things that are dice. I bought him giant foam polyhedrals, as well as a full set of 22mm polyhedrals and an assortment of d6 of the same size. He loves them. We are learning numbers on them, though they are as often used as train cars or as meal for the imaginary fish we will be cathcing from the confort of our couch-cum-sailboat.
I bought a set for myself too. Then I bought more. Then I started buying tabletop games, mostly dice games, because that's always what I loved the most back in the day. I also started watching Wil Wheaton's TableTop show on Geek and Sundry and I came to the realization that I was a born again gamer.
So I bought DIxit and all the expansions and I brought it to a friend's house we were staying in last Christmas and we played. I played. I got beat so badly it was pityful. And it was all marvelous.
Last night, I played solitaire on the living room table while my son played something with another deck of cards. We had a ball.