This isn’t a blog post about the rights and wrongs of the UK leaving the European Union – clearly Indiemeet isn’t the place to debate that. And of course, this are my personal opinions only – as you would expect from a group with no organising body or structure.
It is prompted by the fact that over the last few weeks, and especially in the hours since it became clear that the UK had voted to leave the EU, that a lot of my personal immigrant friends living in the UK have been expressing considerable uncertainty and distress over the increasingly hostile public tone over immigrants in Britain. Anecdotally, the number of verbal and physical attacks on immigrants in England seems to be on the increase and there is plainly a lot of fear out there about how this will all escalate.
For me, one of the most joyful and precious aspects of the London Indie RPG Meetup and the tabletop scene more generally is its internationalism. The UK is a bit of a cultural colony of the US, and we’re used to having our games and other media come from America, but over the last 20 years tabletop games has become increasingly global.
Specifically looking at Indie RPGs, games from across Europe have become firm favourites, including Love in the Time of Seið, Sagas of the Icelanders, Itras By and a whole host of Nordic Larps. My initial notion that the scene was dominated by a small group of West Coast Americans has been increasingly challenged and now blown away.
More important than the games we play, of course, are the people who play them – and there is gets even more international. We are a community of people from Ghana, the Philippines, India, Israel, Poland, Greece, Norway, Sweden, France, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA (apologies if I’ve missed anyone out) … and with every meetup someone new from somewhere else pops up.
Our community has been incalculably enriched by immigration and we are a community of immigrants. As a community, therefore, I think it is important that we come together over the next few weeks and make people especially welcome, both first timers and regulars, during this period of uncertainty. One option, if you can’t wait for our next Indiemeets on the 6th and 16th of July, is to attend “Le Drinks & Dice” this Monday, a drinks night organised by Le Guilde des Rolistes Francophones de Londres.
Politics is important – and games are even good ways to explore politics (a topic, perhaps, for another time), but people are more so. So I think it is important that we ensure we are as welcoming a safe haven as we can be for anyone affected by recent events.