Saturday night should have been an ideal time to game. My wife was having several women from church over for a craft night, and I was (thankfully) banished from my home. I found a new store in the area that was offering open gaming on Saturday nights, so this seemed like a promising way to pass the evening away from my own hearth.
Unfortunately, I chickened out.
GeekInsight posted last week on the question “Are board games a social hobby?” And while the hobby may be social, many of its hobbyists (myself included) are not. I am an introvert, and I like the structured environment that games provide, which dictates the flow of conversation.
So while I showed up for open gaming, insinuating myself into games in progress proved too difficult a task for me. I skulked awkwardly around the store, pretending to examine the merchandise, then hovered over someone’s game, hoping to be introduced to what was going on. Then I remembered how much I don’t like others hovering over what I’m doing, skulked some more, and decided it was time to leave.
The bummer about all this was that in counting on open gaming as my night’s activity, I ignored my mother’s sage advice (which I usually follow): “Wherever you go, always take a book with you.” After my failure at the games store, I still couldn’t return home, so I went to Barnes & Noble and eventually Half Price Books, where solitary skulking is more normal and less frowned upon, though I didn’t have the book I was reading to keep me company.
Why do I share all this? Because the other news from the weekend is that I’m officially going to GenCon in August. I was quite excited about this news—before I discovered my inability to join strangers’ games, which from what I gather is a lot of what GenCon is. Does anyone have advice for how I can do this? Here are some conversation starters I came up with on my shameful drive home:
- “Nice meeple.”
- “I liked Settlers of Catan before it was cool.”
- “Chess would be so much better if the knights were paladins.”
- “So what’s your favorite Spiel des Jahres?”
- “If you were a Cosmic Encounter alien, which one would you be and why?”
- “What’s that game you’re playing? Is it similar to Monopoly at all?”
As you can see, I need a lot of help. Please leave me some advice in the comments.