Have you ever been sitting at home pondering what you should do with your boring, pathetic life? Yeah, we probably all have. Well, in case you were unaware of how to Google things to do in your area, fear not! I have the solution to your sadness.

Open gaming days are exactly what they sound like (I’m noticing that trait being common – board games really aren’t that hard to understand, huh?) Local game shops which specialize in board games (ergo, not Barnes and Noble, comic shops, or other stores which happen to stock a few board games on the back shelf) will typically have one or two days/nights during the week that people can come in and just, you guessed it, play! I know, you’re thinking, “It’s too good to be true!” Well, it’s true. And here is why it’s freakin’ awesome.

For one thing, it’s usually free! (“No way!”) Yes way. I have seen most stores just allow you to come in and try some games! And a few I have seen do charge a small fee, but give it right back to you as store credit! So this can be a great way to try out some games that look/sound interesting to you before you actually buy them. Of course, the stores are not going to have every game known to man in their library of trials, but you should still be able to find plenty of new things beyond Monopoly  and Sorry! worth trying out.

It’s also a great way to support these local shops. (But you just said it was free!) I know what I said, and I wasn’t lying. However, if you’re there for a good portion of the day, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to give the store a few dollars as compensation, at least? The answer is yes. Most open gaming stores will have snacks and drinks available for purchase, for no more than 2 or 3 dollars for the most expensive thing. It’s an easy, cheap way to give thanks to the store for letting you try before you buy. Additionally, they, of course, also sell …. board games! So, if you play a game in the library that you love more than anything in the world, chances are you can pick up your own, brand new copy before you leave the store; yet another great way to support the shop! Many stores will also have the option to order a game and reserve it, in case they don’t have it in stock the day you’re there. So many perks!

Last, but definitely not least, open gaming days lead to friends galore! They are a great way to be involved with people in your area, and an even better way to meet new people after a move. You can talk to tons of other gamers, and see who has the same taste as you so you can meet up all the time and play! Plus, although most game stores have a library, they welcome players to bring their own games as well. So you can have an even wider range to choose from when people decide to bring in their games from home to see who’s interested. Making friends with other open gamers will help you find out about more shops that host open gaming, as well as conventions and events for those who adore board games. It’s literally bliss.

So instead of sitting at home scrolling along Twitter and Pintrest, you should probably start looking up stores in your area that host these awesome game days. You can rely on trusty ol’ Google or try Board Game Geek or Reddit to find out more (the gaming community loves to post things online, so it won’t be hard to find.)

Happy Playing!