I had been looking forward to this day for over two years. The event was originally planned for March 2020, but it was postponed (not once, but twice) due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Really though, I’d been looking forward to it for far longer than that. I think it was around 2016 when I stumbled across a YouTube video on a channel I followed, where the YouTubers had filmed themselves playing ‘Watch the Skies’ and it was there that I heard the word “megagame” for the first time. I knew immediately that I wanted to try it for myself. Six years later, and for reasons which will become clear in a moment, I was dressed like a politician, in a suit and tie (a suit which, alarmingly, seemed to fit a bit more snugly than the last time I wore it, pre-lockdown) and I was checking in at Swindon Village Hall on the outskirts of Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire.
Megagames, in case you don’t know, are like a cross between a role-playing game and a board game, with dozens of players all playing the same game, but all with different roles and agendas. ‘Watch the Skies’ is, I believe, the most well-known megagame. In our game, the players (about 50 of us) were split into teams, mostly representing nations and corporations. Between us, under the watchful eye of the expert game controllers (hi John!) from South West Megagames, we ran the world, in an exciting simulation full of drama, tragedy, and intrigue.
So, I decided to become a YouTuber. I did it because I thought it would be quite nice to become a millionaire. Also I was quite keen to become famous enough to be invited onto Celebrity Bake-Off. And Strictly.
Not really. I always knew I was never going to become one those YouTubers. And actually I now realise that not only will I never become rich from YouTube, I will never even make a single penny out of it, because I will never pass the monetization threshold that YouTube has set. You need 1000 subscribers before you can make money the channel, and, at the current rate I am attracting them, I have worked out that this will take me around 30 years!
I suppose I thought that there was a chance that if my channel did okay, I might sell more of my board game books. Really though, I think the reason I am doing it is for the same reason that, when I was ten, I used to make my own “radio shows” with a friend, using a cassette deck, a microphone, and a record player. That was quite a while ago – it was when records were cool the first time around. Hardly anybody listened to our radio shows back then, but we had fun doing it anyway. Hardly anybody watches my YouTube channel now, but that doesn’t stop me getting satisfaction from it.
So, I thought it would be fun to run a little quiz on Twitter, a sort-of Dingbats/Catchphrase-type thing, where the rules are a bit fuzzy, but answer is a tabletop game. Here is the first one I did:
Love Letter, obviously.
Well, probably, I guess. I know that so far that tweet has been seen by 270 people, but I don’t know how many of them really looked at it or just scrolled quickly past it. I certainly don’t know how many of them got the right answer in their heads, or how many struggled; all I know is that it took three days before someone replied with the correct answer.