A Long, Lonely Road

Tabletop miniature war gaming can be a lonely hobby. Sure, there’s a great sense of community. It’s not too difficult for even the most socially inept of us to get a game in every now and then. However, the chances of finding someone in this niche that you can start a relationship with is slim. I’ve met a lot of gamers across many states and I have yet to hear, “I met my girlfriend during a game of Warhammer.” We all go into this hobby signing certain social contracts. One clause in particular says don’t expect too much from the fairer sex when games are involved.

Now, if we were runners or mountain bikers we’d have a lot better odds. Alas, girls who play tabletop miniature war games is a rarity at best. Not to say they don’t exist. Almost every big event I’ve attended had at least one or two women playing miniature war games. However, dollars to dice says it was a current or ex-boyfriend that got them into the hobby and it wasn’t something they found on their own.

Onboarding a New Teammate 

When you  find that someone special,likely in some other circle of your life, it’s always difficult to know when to reveal your gaming skeleton. For me, it’s worked best to mention it early without revealing just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Past girlfriends usually branded my hobby as nerdy, but cute. If you’re really lucky you’ll not only find a partner who tolerates your  toy soldiers, but they’ll actively supports your hobby as well.

My wife is a big supporter, and she has even gone so far as to do some base coating on models when I’m need to get ready for an event. Words cannot express how much I appreciate her understanding of my need to nerd. However, one thing I never realized before is that my partner is in her own sub-sub culture, being the significant other (SO) of a gamer. As amazing as she is, she is not alone.

Common Ground 

Recently, we met my friend Pete and his wife, Judy, for drinks. It was our first time meeting Judy and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be weird or awkward. I planned to keep the game speak to a minimum, at least until everyone got to know each other. However, right away the girls hit it off, and by the end of the night they carried the lion’s share of the conversation. Their go-to common ground…being the SO of a gamer.

Finally, they each found someone who understood the trials and tribulations of supporting a gamer. For the first time in their lives they could lament about how nights leading up to big events would often result in the entire kitchen table being overrun with little plastic soldiers. They talked about mysterious paint stains on the carpet or coffee table. Judy said she liked to arrange Pete’s models into some kind of battle diorama when he was out of the room. My partner shared anecdotes about the feeling of dread she experienced every time she heard something rattling around inside the vacuum cleaner. “Oh shit! Is that an arm, gun, or head.”

Watching it unfold was as entertaining as it was sobering. I walked away from the evening with a new understanding of how special my wife is. But it was also reassuring to know she’s not alone.

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