Lock down one year one. It’s been a hell of a year.

One year ago we went online for the first time.

I had played coop shooter video games using Steam for voice chat and a handful of games of Keyflower on Board Game Arena, but March 2020 was new for all us. We had a charity day scheduled for the 28th March and we had 14 days to get it to work online. At that time I didn’t want to fail, little did I know quite how important going online was going to be for all of us and quite how much we were going to grow and change.

Fundraising mug! July 2020… So long ago

Those first two weeks were hard. Board Game Arena and the other sites groaned and creaked under the weight of trapped gamers and went unstable and ‘paid for’ only. You couldn’t buy a web camera, microphone or toilet paper.  With a borrowed web camera we converted a number of games and streamed them via OBS Studio which is free software.  The added benefit of streaming was it kept things familiar and may have made the transition easier.  We had a fledging Discord site which has grown into an active community with multiple channels.

From that point we’ve grown, from two sessions a month and a few role playing games a year to where we are now in 2021 where there has only been three or four days a month without some kind of event.  Our community has run multiple role play games as well as adhoc gaming sessions. We’ve branched into quizzes and video games such as Jackbox and Among Us, always trying to vary the kind of games we play to make sure we entertain as many people as possible. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and appeared on the radio four times spreading the word of gaming and community

Our games library has grown from 30 titles to nearly 200 board games and 25 jigsaw puzzles, role play games, back issues of Tabletop Gaming magazine and more. The majority has come from personal donations from amazing people who could have sold their games but gave them to us instead. We’ve lent out 200 plus games for free and hopefully provided hours of fun and social interactions. www.herefordshireboardgamers.co.uk/library

Board game library March 2020 30 ish titles
Custom website we’ve created to support the games library

We’ve played over 30 RPG systems! Before you heard of Herefordshire Board Gamers could you name 30 board games and / or RPGs!

Alice is missing, Alien, Are you my soul mate? Call of Chtulhu, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Cyber Punk classic, Delta Green Dungeons and Dragons, Dungeon World, Fiasco, Forget about it, Heart of the dungeon, Honey Heist, Hostile, Hypertellions, Last Fleet, Masks, Mork Bork, Mothership, Mutant year zero, Parslings, Savage worlds Adventurer and Explorer, Short lived Shenanigans, Soul mates., View scream, Warhammer Fantasy role play, We are room mates now and Zombie World.

Celebratory art work for our weekly Warhammer Fantasy roleplay game which has only missed one week since April 2020

We’ve attracted international gamers and our online events have seen us reconnect with gamers we only met up with at conventions. We haven’t cancelled a single event and instead of 30 events we’ve held over 200, with fully public events almost every week. Our fundraising has continued and we’ve raised £2642.56 This has been via quizzes, raffles, and general donations as all of our events are free and we aim to keep them that way. This is our second best 12 months ever!

More importantly we’ve provided games, community and social support for all of you. I know a lot of us have struggled, with a number of us having severe mental health incidents and how much regular gaming sessions have helped.

The last twelve months have been hard, but as a community we’ve worked amazingly well together. I am incredibly proud of what we’ve done and the good work we’ve achieved and the skills we have developed. Everyone should be proud of how they have contributed towards this great community. We’ve worked with other communities, shared resources and written more guides.

I’ve definitely missed those folks who haven’t been able to enjoy or partake in online games.
We will meet again in person when it is safe to do so, and we will stay online as well as that is more accessible for many.

Our exercise challenge

What will the next 6 months hold? We are going to hold our May event online again and try to play as many games as we can and raise money for Herefordshire Mind. Our birthday party in July will also be online. From that point forward we will look to see how we can meet safely in person and starting planning for May 2022 and the biggest. damn charity event / mini convention we can run.

As ever we welcome your support, feedback and ideas, this community is ours.