Pull up a chair and the waiter will bring you a snifter of brandy. Cigar?
[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou’ve been recommended by a mutual friend as a possible member of the Esoteric Order of Gamers. Such a recommendation is not a thing to be taken lightly. The member concerned puts his very reputation at risk, and certainly, at the very least, his own membership. For joining the Order is a weighty privilege. It comes with it a certain code of conduct, a unique perspective on the world, and a dedication and exactitude with which few men (and women, we entertain no discrimination) are blessed.

Firstly, you will have come to us because of a love of games. Not just any games of course; nothing so coarse as Monopoly or Scrabble, and, by George, we’ll not have those imposters here. No, you wish to be fully immersed in games of such beauty and ingenuity that by playing them, you are transported to worlds of boundless imagination and endless amusement.

[pullquote]Remember, that while the mechanics of a game are its vital heart, the theme is its soul and spirit.[/pullquote]But beyond enjoyment of playing, you harbour a deep appreciation of the object itself. In a world of ephemeral, digitally-driven entertainment, you are one of the chosen few who still revel in the feeling of tearing the shrinkwrap off a new game; of breathing in the sweet smell of fresh ink; of the weight of quality gaming components as they sit heavily in the hand.

And yet, the game as bought is not enough; cardboard box inserts and unpainted miniatures mock you with their inadequacy. You are strangely impelled to improve your gaming experience even more, and with the skillful use of the tools that the Order can place at your disposal, you will do so. By dint of hard graft coupled with the sensitive touch of a master craftsman, you continually seek to beautify these precious objects. No thoughtless child or mangy dog will ever come near your treasured game collection, and all players will be strictly instructed to wipe their comestible-coated fingers before taking their turn.

With membership of the Order comes a sacred obligation of honourable behaviour. You vow never to share our knowledge with the uninitiated, unless they too meet the strict requirements of our community. You promise never to allow fragile game components to shake about in a box like a slow-motion component view in a Dice Tower video. You abjure the playing of games in a mechanical, ‘play to win’ fashion and shun talking about things like ‘game engines’. You make sound effects when attacking. Remember, that while the mechanics of a game are its vital heart, the theme is its soul and spirit.

We have high standards here, and with your help, they will always be met and exceeded. To all these things you must agree.

Well then, drink up! Welcome to the Order. You’ve found the place where you belong.