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Why I Extra Life:Why I Play Tabletop Games for Extra Life

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In preparation for Tabletop Appreciation Weekend on Sept. 16-18, Jamison from the Chits and Bits Extra Life team shares why he plays Tabletop games to support Extra Life.

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As Extra Lifers, we’re gathered together by the common threads of gaming and our desires to make the world around us a little bit better; by turning our passion for games into helping the kids and families that need Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. We give a piece of ourselves, in the form of time and effort, for those that are forced to face what could be the worst moments of their lives. We do this not because of the medals, or recognition, or personal benefit – but because it’s the right thing to do.

One third of the Extra Lifers last year were tabletop gamers. Many of us also love video games, and vice versa. But tabletop gaming will always be my first love. Extra Life has recognized that we are a growing part of the team, and last year started Tabletop Appreciation weekend, which this year is September 16th-18th. It will be a time to gather your friends, sit down at a table and play some games, face to face.

That’s part of the draw of these games. You can sit down with a complete stranger and forge a bond by the shared experience. Three years ago, I began a 24 hour tabletop game marathon for Extra Life. I was new to the local board game community, so I was very unsure of whether it would be successful. Sitting down and playing games with people I barely knew was an easy way to establish a rapport. I was able to talk to them about what I was doing and why it was important. That quickly translated to new friendships and the growing success of the marathon. I met one of my best friends, Rob, who has helped me take our event further than I ever dreamed. The first year, we raised just over a thousand dollars; our event this spring, we had over 100 participants, and have raised just over $22,000 for The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. All from taking a chance over a board game.

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Tabletop gaming has taken me some amazing places. Extra Life United this past February, was one of them. I met so many people that shared the same passions and goals as I did. I met the families and children that we work so hard to support. I met people like the Enmons and Jeromy Adams, who started Extra Life. Through the lens of playing games, I went home with so many new friends. If I hadn’t sat down at the table, I wouldn’t have had the courage to interact with them. This past spring, I hiked 250 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a lifelong dream, carrying my Extra Life flag every step of the way. I have made it to Gen Con a few times, where I get to meet publishers, designers, board game media people, and tens of thousands of other gamers. All of whom I can connect with in a way that non-gamers can’t really understand.

I hope you take the time during Tabletop Appreciation weekend to gather some friends or family and dust off some of those board games you haven’t played in a while. Break out a deck of cards and play some Hearts. Set up the chess board. Share a few hours with someone face to face, without your cell phone, without a screen. Laugh with the people you care about, or even better, a stranger that becomes a friend. If you take a chance, you might find that it’ll pay off.

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Learn more about how you can participate in Tabletop Appreciation Weekend at extra-life.org/tabletopweekend.


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