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"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

--Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5

The party leader across the table sends a fireball toward your mage. Great, just when you've assembled your team of misfits into a somewhat disciplined fighting force, someone burns your most important member to a crisp.

On the table to your right, Juggernaut just charged into Magneto, sending him flying into what was once a fast food restaurant. Magneto manages to cushion the impact somewhat, but there is still the question of the lumbering mutant still continuing to barrel towards him.

On the table behind you, a Kadungganan warrior draws blood from another with his blade. The two, you overhear, are settling a generations-long blood feud the only way they know how. There is almost no hesitation, no staredown for this duel, as the one who drew continues to run toward his combatant.

On the stage, two people in full tactical gear stand behind an apparently very important individual, who seems to be writing a letter. He has just been elected city mayor, and citizens have begun to surround him, eager to hear his first announcements.

This is Tabletop Fiesta, two-day celebration of all things tabletop. The event, held at the Activity Center, Ayala Malls Central Bloc, from October 14-15, 2023, brought different tabletop hobbyists together to feature all manner of board games and role-playing games for players of all shapes and sizes, gaming veterans and newbies alike.

From your first step into the Activity Center, the air is charged with a tingly, almost chaotic energy, one that promises a day filled with all sorts of adventures. A goat-headed demon towers over a tiny warrior figure on a table right beside the entrance.

"It has slain countless warriors, but is already badly wounded," someone with a notepad says from across the table, implying you might be the one to slay it.

It's totally free, he says, as is everything else in the venue. Your choice of gaming experiences is, thus, only limited by your time and patience for listening to someone explain a couple of rules; otherwise, just walk up to a table, have a seat, and play.

If there's one thing the pandemic taught us, it's the value of sitting across other people. Indeed, there's a particular magic that permeates the air around a table surrounded by people indulging in the same collective fantasy: worlds forming, with all manner of personalities inhabiting said worlds, trying to see how their stories play out.

Events such as Tabletop Fiesta show that, even with all that digital interaction has given us, people will still sometimes crave the authenticity of sitting face-to-face, pushing little plastic warriors, rolling dice, and telling stories with eyes wide open from the possibilities that emerge. We are, after all, social creatures; sharing space is part of what make us whole.

Tabletop Fiesta is hosted by role-playing game event organizer RECCon and board game group Fiddl., and is--

--oh great, another fireball.

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