Gamer geek fun!! and how to find your fellow geeks
Posted February 28, 2012on:
A number of years ago my husband dragged me kicking and screaming to a “game night”. This was not your mamma’s scrabble night. On the table were Mystery of the Abbey, St. Petersburg, Ticket to Ride, and probably some others. That first night I wasn’t so sure about this whole Euro-gaming thing. Victory points? Nobility track? Resource tokens and Trade Goods? how in the world was I supposed to keep track of all of it??
It did take a while for me to get the hang of it. At least a year, probably two. (You know how some people aren’t math whizzes? I’m not a “resource token” whiz. I just want one of those red cubes, I don’t care if it’s supposed to be rum or tobacco or gold pressed latinum, I just know I need a red one!)
But boy am I happy I did! I dont’ think I’ll ever be that gamer girl who games 5 night a week or more, but a few times a month with my friends makes me a very happy camper. err, umm, gamer.
I live in a college town, and every year in early spring the local university hosts a gamers convention. Organized by students and held on campus, if you’re brave enough to search for a parking spot you can enjoy 48 hours of gaming and geekery. Euro-games, roleplaying games, a LAN party, collectible card games. . . . . and of course games and cards for sale and overpriced food in the basement. I’ve never been into roleplaying games, but there was a Vlad Taltos system that tempted me!
This years university gamer convention was last weekend, and I ran Ticket to Ride: Europe, which is my favorite kind of Euro-game: the kind where you can learn the rules in 60 seconds, the game takes less than 2 hours to play, and it isn’t going to fry your brain. Even better, I got to introduce a buddy of mine to gaming. I pretty much dragged him kicking and screaming to my table and said “you’re going to play this!! okay?”
and he had a good time, see?
Ticket to Ride: Europe is a simple Euro-game based on a map of Western and Central Europe. Cities are connected by train routes consisting of one to eight (most are three or four) tracks. Players must collect cards of different colors to complete their routes and maybe screw their neighbors. Victory points are scored by laying track between cities and for finishing your secret routes. This is one of my favorite series of games. The most basic version is Ticket to Ride America, and besides Europe there is Nordic Countries, Marklin (Germany), Asia, and I believe the next one coming is India. Each version beyond America has it’s own little twist.
I also got the opportunity to play Santiago de Cuba. Another quick and simple game (really quick!). The object of the game is to travel around Cuba collecting goods that need to be loaded onto a ship. You get points for loading the correct goods, controlling buildings, and sometimes you get points for screwing your neighbor. The game looks a little complicated, but the tokens are dice on the board showing the quantities of goods needed, coins, victory point tokens, and the dreaded colored cubes. The great thing about this game is that everything is randomized each game – what you can get, where you can get it, and what you need to get. We played a two player game, and it took less than hour. I can see how a four player game would get cut throat!!
A small sampling of other games that were floating around:
Twilight Imperium – This is one of those RPG/board game hybrids. The hex map is randomly built at the beginning of the game, and after that it’s explore the universe, take over valuable planets, and reach the center hex first by beating off anyone else who tries to get there. Although not as complicated as this photo makes it look, this is still a fairly complicated game. Every alien race has special things they can do and a unique tech tree, along with different available political roles. It looks really cool, but I tried this once and it’s the perfect example of “more game than I’m looking for”.
Sunrise City – I didn’t get the chance to play this, but it sure looked fun. The fact that I saw two teenagers at the table led me to believe it’s a game that even I can understand! And I’ve a weakness for these tile-placing games.
That’s one of the problems with gamer cons like this: Every four hours or so new games started up. That’s wonderful, except there were like three different tables I wanted to be at! Possible solution: cloning. Or what they did in that David Brin book Kiln People.
There were about a dozen tables of miniatures. I’m not sure what you do with these things, but they sure were cool to look at. You can’t tell from this photo, but this guy’s layout is covered in about a hundred detailed and painted warriors, each one different. I complimented him on his dedication, and he said this represented about three girlfriends. umm, okay.
What’s the point of this post, you ask?
well other than geeky fun and terribly photography, it’s to let you know that whatever fun geekish things you are into that others are into them too. Science fiction, fantasy, fanfic, writing, gaming, RPG, Warhammer, Magic the Gathering, manga, or anything else, you can find people in your community who want to play, talk, read, and discuss the same things you do. for bookclubs, check out your local libraries, bookstores, even the big guys like Barnes & Noble will sometimes host genre book clubs if they know they are the only game (no pun intended) in town. Check out bulletin boards at comic shops and game shops, even ask the store owners if they host a game night or comic swap evening.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all my internet friends, really I do! but it’s nice to find geeky friends right around the corner too.