I’ve long recognized that I really don’t “fit in” to just about any hobbyist community out there and I guess I’m fine with it. I am not a fanatic in any way, shape or form and I have neither love nor respect for fanatics in any field under the sun. I have hobbies for fun, not to compete, not to show off, not to “win”, but to have a good time in the company of people I like, engaging in a casual activity where we can enjoy our experience together.
I don’t tend to fit in anywhere, truth be told, and I really don’t care. I’ve posted about many different interests I have where I seem to be one of the only ones that hold the views that I do. I’ve posted about how I’m a rare philatelist who doesn’t obsessively collect mounds of stamps, just to have them around, or one of the even larger group that just takes anything, no matter how awful, and lovingly sticks it in an album. I have standards, but I’m not a fanatic collector, I want one of everything and when I have it, I don’t want to keep getting more, except to replace it with a superior copy. I also don’t care what anything is worth, I’m a collector, not an investor, but in most stamp collecting forums, I’m alone in that regard. I’ve also written in the past how unhappy I am that people show up out of the blue with stamps left to them by their great aunt Matilda and now we’re expected to inspect and value them. I’ve written that I’m not the typical MMO player, I want to have fun, I don’t want to swing my e-peen and show off and act like I’m hot shit, in fact, I don’t even like the overwhelming majority of players because they are as I described and I don’t treat the leveling process as a race to the end game, I don’t even play end game. It’s a game and games exist to have fun. I never fit into the action figure collecting scene, with adults who would rather play with their figures and pose them for pictures than to simply collect a single figure, mint in packaging. Even in pet care, I’m different. I am not some fanatical nature loving lunatic who thinks the world needs to revolve around one’s pets. The bird keeper community has forever driven me out of those forums because of the absurd view that your pets are more important than you or your family and that somehow everyone has a duty to take in as many damaged, injured and psychotic birds as possible or you’re a horrible person is far, far too common.
So I guess it’s no surprise that I don’t fit in at all in the board gaming community either. The fact is, there are far too many fanatics around for my taste. Yes, I know that “fan” is just the short version of “fanatic”, but there are far too many people whose adoration of board games goes beyond what I think is healthy. There are people who don’t collect games, they hoard them. There are people for whom sitting around a table rolling dice is their primary, or worse, sole means of socializing with others. They play board games to the exclusion of all else, they spend every free minute either playing a game, planning to play a game, reading about games or thinking about games. And when they can’t find others to play games with, they’re downloading board games to their tablets to play there too!
Now this isn’t a new problem and, as I’ve pointed out before, I think that all of these issues are related because I think most humans, especially in affluent western nations, have something wrong with them upstairs. These are clearly first world problems, you couldn’t go anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa and find people worrying about not being able to upgrade their meeples or not getting special rewards on Kickstarter. They want to have a thing, just because a thing exists, not because they can point to any actual use for the thing. Yes, it’s sitting in a drawer, you haven’t touched it in years, but they still have to have it! Worse yet are the people who are fanatically focused on board games and can’t imagine anyone who should not be. They don’t have any balance in their lives, they don’t know the meaning of the word “self-control” and if you should eve suggest that such a thing exists, even in relation to yourself, they get upset and call you names! There was one guy who was asking on a board game forum if he should divorce his wife because she doesn’t let him play games 5 nights a week! I kid you not!
So I come around full circle once again. I’d love to find some intelligent, rational people to discuss any of my hobbies with, who can step back and evaluate their interests critically and without the overwhelming emotional floodwaters that come in most of these forums. I don’t want to be around people who spend every free second of their day playing games, people who only work so they can pay for more games and a place to store them. I don’t want to spend time with those whose entire commitment to gaming is obsessive/compulsive and even though they realize they’re an addict, it’s not a bad thing, it’s a badge to wear on their sleeve! I don’t want to talk to those who just can’t believe that I haven’t pre-ordered every single game that comes out and had it shipped via FedEx Next-Second Air, just so they can lovingly caress the components. And yes, that happens more than I’d care to remember.
However, I can’t find those places and maybe they don’t exist. I can’t find places where stamp collectors meet to talk shop, where MMO players get together to have a good time playing a game, where action figure enthusiasts gather to talk about the state of the industry or where pet owners chat about their mutual admiration and enjoyment of their pets. Nobody has a casual interest in their hobbies, everyone is a fanatic.
And I hate fanatics.