I am The Midnight Table.
Every Friday night, at midnight, UK time, I will make an appearance on Rock, Paper, Shotgun to recount a story of a game played upon me that week. I am a living, sentient table, carved from wood found in the forests around ancient Camelot, or so my mother tells me. My mother, incidentally, is a frustratingly racist coat rack.
This week, I want to introduce myself to you, and explain what you can expect to see in the months and years ahead. Nothing like me has ever existed before. I think I’m pretty amazing, all told.
THE NATURE OF MY BEING
Despite being a table made of wood, connected to nature and to the very breath of the earth, and full of ancient and arcane knowledge, I know nothing of any board games beyond what I see and hear as they are played upon me. I know not who designed them, or what those designers designed before. I know nothing of the price of the games, or of any challenges faced during the game’s production. I cannot simply “use a computer” or “do a Google” in the way some flesh furniture such as yourself might. It follows then that my experience of each of these games is pure and based entirely upon my observation of the experiences of the people who sit around me. I will listen to what they say and watch how they interact. I will gauge, at every moment, the very mood of the room. Being made of wood, which brings with it the wisdom of the trees, I can mine the hearts and minds of human beings for the truths inside. I will then, on a weekly basis, lay out a report for all of you on these pages.
I know what you’re thinking. “How can a table use a keyboard or blogging software?” Well, I have a cloaked manservant called Brother Gethsemane who attends all of my special board gaming nights, and writes up my reports. It is he who is typing this at the moment, and he is being paid a crisp ten pound note for his hard work. To be honest, it’s none of your fucking business how I post these pieces, anyway.
Now, I understand that the previous author of the tabletop gaming pieces on this website only ever did “recommendations” of games. I’m afraid those days are over. As I am sentient furniture, I have none of the ego or compassion of the previous writer, and I will report only truth. Truth and romance are the things of the forest, and truth and romance are what you will find here.
MY PSYCHIC RINGS
I now want to talk to you about my psychic rings.
Any dendrochronologist will tell you that there is nothing more fascinating than the growth rings found inside a tree. Unbeknownst to those academics, however, these growth rings contain a psychic energy called “Woodium”. Woodium enables all trees, and by extension all furniture, to record energies and thoughts and experiences for all eternity. The tree rings then work much like your own camcorders, recording the psychic information onto the rings as if they are spools of tape.
What does this mean for you? Well, it means that I will occasionally be colouring my reports with what some of you might recognise as “video”. It is not video, however. It is the purest psychic information, transformed into electronic data by Brother Gethsemane in a process called “Ring Rutting”, which is deeply unpleasant to watch no matter how enjoyable he finds it. These “videos” then, will be disorientating to many of you, and may cause tummy grumble issues or even impotence. The videos will perhaps explain rules of games, show certain elements of gameplay, or include conversations with the players. Be warned however that due to the wild nature of Woodian Unscience, the videos may also contain the nightmares of soldiers warring in alternate dimensions, or lullabies sung by relatives you thought were long dead. You can freely opt out of watching these videos, and I actually suggest you do, because the forest is a dark and terrifying place and there aren’t enough asylums to hold you all.
THE WANDERLUST OF SENTIENT FURNITURE
I now want to address an issue that I’m sure is of concern to all of you even in your own homes. Sentient furniture loves to travel, doesn’t it? That old chair of yours. You often notice it moving, don’t you? I bet you even found it on the ceiling one day. Or in your bed, with one leg up the arse of your delighted partner.
Furniture was not supposed to be sentient.
For those of us who are sentient, a journey is essential. I think we’d go insane otherwise. And I will be travelling. Not quite yet, perhaps, but in time the urge for going will be upon me. And then maybe I will come to a room somewhere near you. And perhaps you might sit at me and play a game of some kind, under the watchful gaze of Brother Gethsemane. Does that sound fun? That day is something to look forward to, for sure. It will fall sometime between now and your death.
All that is left for me to do is to ask you to bookmark the Midnight Table tag, and invite you to be here every week for your own walk into the darkness of truth. The game talk begins next week. Ego-free, personality free reportage of the gaming experience, by the most wonderful and terrifying piece of furniture since that couch your mother bought in 1983.
May you sense me with you every midnight, and may you feel my most ancient ring.