Today is the 1st Sunday in February and it’s the traditional time for Game Day. Although, that term doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone.

For a great many years, Game Day always meant football. And this time of year, Game Day referred to a specific game: the Superbowl. For many, that means watching the game on the biggest TV you can find. For others, it means getting together for a junk food festival: hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, buffalo wings, potato salad, chips, salsa, baked beans, and every wonderfully unhealthy dish you can imagine. And beer. Lots and lots of beer. Whatever it means, it is time to meet up with friends and share the day together.

But for others, Game Day has an entirely different meaning. For role-players, it means dusting off the dice, character sheets and books, and getting together for an adventure. At first there was D&D. But today, that adventure can take place within the boundaries of any of a hundred games. There is also the junk food. Perhaps not quite so over the top as at a Superbowl party, but gamers usually manage to come up with some pretty delicious spreads that would drive their doctors crazy. But just like football fans, RPGers get together to spend time with friends. We laugh and joke and spend more time off-topic than playing the game. But mostly, we have fun and that’s the main goal of any get-together.

But there is yet another meaning of Game Day. I am constantly amazed at the resurgence of board games. When I was growing up, we had a dozen or so old games, all in flimsy boxes, often with many pieces missing. But today, there are many hundreds of games. The boxes are solid with covers that are works of art by themselves. The pieces are made of high-quality plastic, with more detail than you could imagine. The complexity of many has skyrocketed, while others maintain their simplicity for those that don’t enjoy such aggressive games, while continuing to be enjoyable. To a huge demographic, Game Day means getting together to play board games. In the groups I’ve been in, the junk food is a bit more relaxed. The focus is much more on the games at hand, mainly because these games usually require a bit more attention. But that doesn’t keep the conversation down. As with the others, board gamers manage to share their lives and talk about their kids and have fun sharing each other’s company.

So Game Day isn’t about football, or role-playing games, or board games. It is about getting together with friends, talking, laughing, having fun, and enjoying the time spent together.

Whatever you are doing today, have fun, and have a great Game Day!