Editor’s Note: The holiday season is almost upon us, and along with that comes reflection on the year that is drawing to a close. We asked our writers to tell us about nerdy things they’re grateful for this year, and their answers remind me just what a wonderfully diverse group of nerds we have in our community! I enjoyed pulling together this list of nerdy thankfulness, and I hope reading it reminds you of the things you’re grateful for in your own life.
Online Gaming with Friends
This year, I’m grateful for opportunities to spend time online with the people I call friends. Weekly Among Us nights streaming on Twitch with LTN Radio have helped me though some very tough weeks, and roleplay sessions over Discord give me a chance to play without having to worry about changing pandemic guidelines or trying to gather everyone in one room at the same time. Finding a balance between school and work can be tough, so having part of my social life online has been a lifeline for me.
Marvel Champions: The Card Game
I love tabletop games, and Marvel Champions: The Card Game (Fantasy Flight Games) has been nothing short of a blessing. Since it’s a “Living Card Game,” (LCG) I don’t have to chase rare cards in blind packs—each month’s release has a full playset of cards. In this cooperative game for 1–4 players, each player controls a hero deck in the fight against the villain. Throughout the pandemic, my group has been able to play remotely via video chat, allowing us to stay connected as we work to solve the challenge in front of us. I’ve also come to love playing it solo for a meditative, relaxing analog experience. I’m so thankful for this game!
Keychron K2 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
I write a lot. In fact, I just finished writing one book and am in the midst of writing another. Additionally, I write weekly newsletters and articles. Since I bought my Keychron this summer, I’ve put probably 100,000 words to virtual paper with it—its clickity-clack is wonderful, and it makes my weekly hours of typing just a little bit more enjoyable. Highly recommend.
Hunt a Killer Murder Mystery Boxes
I’m grateful for murder mysteries; more specifically, Hunt a Killer murder mystery boxes! I finally got around to playing some of their stand-alone games this year and I am hooked, to say the least. Even though they can be played alone, I’ve enjoyed playing them with other people. After being stressed out from the demands of work, there’s nothing quite so relaxing as combing through the evidence and details of a grisly murder with your best friends and trying to figure out “whodunnit.”
I am grateful for the convention I’ll be attending in December. Cons are the one place I’m extroverted as I know I’m surrounded by folks who feel the same way I do, whether our fandoms are different or the same. At a con, I can immerse myself in all things nerdy and celebrate the nerdiness of others around me. I cannot wait for more of them in the future!
(Editor’s Note: Love Thy Nerd takes trips to nerd conventions throughout the year to love and serve the nerdy neighbors we find there. Want to go on a trip with us? Visit our Outreach page to see which conventions we plan to attend in the near future, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.)
One of my favorite parts of board gaming is that it’s an opportunity to leave my screens for a few hours and instead focus intensely on a physical game, in a physical space, with in-the-flesh friends. The tactile, embodied experience is so important for me that I’ve long resisted the idea of digital board gaming. But I have been so grateful for a way to continue playing games with my friends during the pandemic these last two years. Not only did tools like Tabletop Simulator and Board Game Arena keep my local gaming group going during quarantine, I’ve also grown to appreciate that it lets me play games with friends across the country who, even in a “normal” year, I’d maybe get to see in person once every year or two. My semi-regular TTS Arkham Horror, spread out across three time zones, has (ironically) become one of my favorite ways to stay sane.
Friendly Local Game Stores
When my husband and I planned our move to Kansas City at the beginning of 2020, we were excited to be moving to a place with a few great friendly local game stores (FLGSs). Once lockdown lifted and we could actually spend some time with the people who work and hang out there, we’ve loved getting to know the fine folks at Cardboard Corner and TableTop Game and Hobby. They aren’t just salespeople—they’re invested in the hobbies and the local nerd population. We might be getting started making friends a year late, but we’re sourcing from a community that these shops have been cultivating for a long time—and that’s priceless.
Dune (2021 film)
I am grateful Dune came out and lived up to the hype. This story has been with me since I was 11 years old and I am glad it was finally done justice on the silver screen. No offense, Mr. Lynch, but Denis [Villeneuve (director)] knocked it out of the park and then some! Thinking about cryofreezing myself to subvert the wait for Part 2. – Elliot Iannello
Dungeons & Dragons
I’m grateful for the long-term Dungeons & Dragons campaign I DM, which is coming to a close this year. Many campaigns start strong, but few end the way we hope. This one has gone the distance (four years!) and throughout this year we raced to the final showdown and the story’s completion. I’m going to miss the characters, but thankfully not the friends as we will start again next year in 2022, diving head first into a new campaign with new fun and adventure. Dungeons & Dragons truly is the world’s greatest roleplaying game, and I’m thankful I have a group willing to play it with me every week.
I’m grateful for how Ted Lasso makes me simultaneously laugh and cry (which is as much of a mess as it sounds like). I’d heard good things from friends (as well as its seven Emmys and 8.8/10 on IMDb) about the “heartfelt comedy,” but was surprised at how personal it became. The show manages to deal with problems I’m currently going through—like change and panic attacks—while wrapping them in genuinely funny situations and witty banter. Plus, the dynamic between Coaches Lasso and Beard made me grateful for the few close friends who really “get” me.
Nerdy Dog Toys
After wanting a dog for years and going on a waitlist in July 2020, I finally got a puppy this past May. I love my Scottish Terrier, Gimli—but I also had no idea how exhausting puppies could be. I’ve tried desperately to keep him entertained so he doesn’t chew up my carpet or furniture. Fortunately, there are a ton of nerdy dog toys out there. Want to violently shake a blanket or rug (or my arm), Gimli? Here, shake Mando, Grogu, and a Jawa out of this toy shaped like a sand crawler! Want to play fetch? Here’s a tennis ball with the Millennium Falcon on it! Even better, the soft balls with the hitchhiking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion are big enough to not roll under the furniture. I even found Gimli a stuffed axe squeaky toy on Etsy. Eventually he’ll learn to entertain himself quietly . . . but until then, at least I can keep him occupied in nerdy style.
A Nerdy Spouse
I am so grateful for my wife and how she supports my nerdiness, even getting sucked into some of it herself! The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) began the year we got engaged, and the movies and shows have become something both of us have enjoyed throughout our marriage. We go see the movies on opening night, attend comic cons, and even host Marvel-themed parties for friends. She’s a keeper for sure, and I’m so thankful for her!!
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