Specialized clubs can sometimes deter gamers, but it’s still a great way to find gaming partners

Photo by Maxwell Gawlic / The Peak

Written by: Alexander Kenny, Peak Associate

I’ve heard a lot of the same things from students discussing their inability to keep up with hobbies like tabletop games and video games — things like “I wish I had time to play games, but I just don’t!”, or “I enjoy games, but all the clubs only focus on specific games, and I’m not a big fan!” While I can understand the frustration that most clubs are heavily specialized, this mentality towards how to find people who enjoy similar games has to change.         

Just because a club focuses on a certain game or niche within gaming doesn’t mean that valuable connections can’t be made through those clubs, both in gaming and general life. School gaming clubs should not be seen as organizations that provide you with people to play with. They’re a valuable resource to meet new people and to bond with them.

This goes for all clubs, as the possibilities that arise from meeting people in clubs should never be limited to the topic that the club nominally focuses on— or in the case of gaming groups, the specific game or genre. It’d immediately put a stop to the growth of a club’s success as a social catalyst, and the main goal of most clubs is to encourage that social atmosphere.

For example, say you wanted to check out SFU’s League of Legends club, without being much of an expert yourself. Most people in the club are likely more familiar with the game than. But the club still welcomes people who haven’t played the game much and are simply interested in playing, or learning more about it.

If you find you don’t enjoy it, there’s no obligation to go to future events, but there’s still an opportunity to use the time you’re there to socialize with the members. This gives you a lot of opportunity to find something else to play with the people you meet there outside of club activities, or even to make connections beyond that specific club’s circle.

That said, especially when it comes to board gaming hobbies, there are undoubtedly challenges when gaming through clubs. Many can be variant and inconsistent with the games they play, so finding common ground with group members can be difficult. However, putting in the effort to do so is something that no one should be afraid of doing. A majority of the time, the worst that happens is that you try again elsewhere.

But the best-case scenario is that you make friends within the club. Even if you can’t get into their theme, or aren’t fond of the club’s overall vibe, spending time with people who share general interests still opens the door for to play games with new friends. In my experience, I’ve found a good number of friends this way who enjoy gaming in similar ways, and we ended up starting weekly sessions outside of campus and club meetings.

One of the most important steps we can all take when trying to find other gamers is to approach every group and opportunity with an open mind — as with everything else in life. Forget about whether the club is centred on a certain game, avoid thinking too much about the game, and just try to get to know people. Clubs and groups are all about trying new things and being with people. Once these are covered, gaming comes far easier.