Played board games with my friends from college today. Eclipse, a game I played for the first time last November. On the surface this doesn’t sound too unusual. After all, these are some of my best friends, we’re gamers, it’s the Fourth of July weekend. Normal, right? Only, I was in Chiba, Japan, while my friends were mostly in Nashua New Hampshire and one was in Worcester Mass.
This is not a technology review. I don’t have the background, nor the interest really to explain how we were able to connect virtually. There was some Google tech involved, and some Apple tech. I have fiber, my friends have cable. And we used an incredibly cool tool, called Vassal, to play our board game.
Instead, the ubiquity of the tech, the ease of connecting, is what struck me. The tech is EASY. There was no struggle, only maybe a couple of interface problems, but that was mostly my fault for being a bit slow on the uptake.
Now here is the part when I wax nostalgic and talk about, “when I was a kid.” Because it’s true, when I was a kid, or at least in my 20’s when I first came to Japan, a long distance phone call was a couple of bucks a minute. Go back even further, in ’89 when I was studying abroad in Taiwan, there was only one phone in the town that could dial internationally. I had to pay on my end, AND my folks paid collect. It was prohibitive.
Now it’s free, or close enough as makes no difference.
The other good thing of course is that truly good friends fall back in together like it was yesterday. It’s almost like a continuation of the same conversation, never mind that it started 8 months ago, the last time we were in the same physical space. For the past couple of years, I’ve had business trips to Boston, where I’m from, which has been great. I get to take a couple of extra days and meet up.
No, I did not win, not even close. I felt like I was winning for a while, but that was temporary. Next time.
2 thoughts on “Board Gaming Weekend”
Next time can’t come too soon for us!
Agreed. Salient points on the ease of connecting as well. I’ve used various technologies over the last decade and seen them grow and improve a lot. In 1981 I got to go to Italy on an exchange. I called home a bit that summer – maybe a little homesick even though having a ton of fun – and I had to walk from the house 3 miles or more to the center of Bologna to the International Calling Center. It had big red private booths, you had to sign up on a list then wait, and you went in, paid several dollars equivalent for a two minute phone call, and got a strip of ticker tape with the lira charge on it. Technology changes – a lot – and it’s definitely for the better these days. Good observations.