Vincent “Scooter” Hamilton: Time2Tabletop founder
Bringing board games to the people
Vincent “Scooter” Hamilton was at home when his friends arrived, bringing a camera and a microphone. They plugged the electronics into a laptop, hung grey sheets around his living room and then they started playing Dungeons & Dragons live on camera. What started as a hobby turned into a whole heck of a lot more.
Since May 2017, Hamilton has run Time2Tabletop, a group devoted to teaching kids social skills through tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Along with their educational programs, the group streams regularly on Twitch.tv and hosts meatspace events, bringing together industry leaders and community members for workshops, gaming and beer. SN&R sat down with Hamilton along with members of the Time2Tabletop team Lucy Zheng, Rysa Kolesinski and Brianna Winstead to discuss education in tabletop gaming, their favorite games and their upcoming Pull Up a Chair Expo.
How did Time2Tabletop form?
Hamilton: I had the dream of saving the world through gaming together. That’s not a joke. It’s been something I’ve been looking into for probably 10 years … I believe very strongly that we have a common language through gaming … When you start playing games, you get to know that other person, whether you think you do or not.
Why do you think that happens when you play a game?
Zheng: Coming from a research perspective, the fact that you’re able to take the context away, all the prejudices and judgments, you’re better able to—in a sense—be yourself, but also be better, because you’re not constrained by society.
What are some of your favorite games?
Hamilton: Zombicide, I think is what we’ve all played together … We just broke open Ticket To Ride. [We] really enjoy it because you can play up to five players. I like games that have a lot of players in it, and a lot of interaction, a lot of strategies.
Teaching kids is a big part of what you do; how early in the process was that a part of T2T?
Hamilton: Day one. Before day one. That curriculum was it, everything else was a byproduct … [Schools] are not teaching kids how to be good people, [they’re] teaching them a bunch of information and having them regurgitate it. Instead of that, let’s teach them to socialize with each other interact with each other and think for themselves.
What kind of reception have you gotten?
Hamilton: There are some hurdles to cross on the back end, because for a lot of schools, it is new and something different … once the kids and the administration see what’s going on, they’re like, “Holy crap, I didn’t know this was a thing.”
Winstead: [One of my students] was really quiet in the beginning. At first I thought it was just me, like okay, it’s a new outsider, I get it, you’re shy. … Over the course of months, she’s more outgoing, she’s talking more, she is okay with new kids joining into the group.
Tell me about your upcoming Pull Up a Chair Expo.
Hamilton: Pull Up a Chair has always been a dream of mine. I was like, “There’s so much talent in Sacramento, but we don’t get together and we don’t share ideas.” … We’ll have workshops all day. You get to meet these people that are making all this stuff and hang out with them. And we also have a [beer], called ‘+1 Charisma’ that is brewing right now at Yolo Brewing Company for the event … My shtick has been “Pull up a chair and make time to tabletop,” because we get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget to do what we love to do.