Over a recent weekend, the [toggle Gaming] meetup I enjoy hosted a rare and special Saturday event. As usual, the [toggle Gaming] library (consisting of over 300 games / expansions) was available to borrow and play and tables were available through the majority of the bar. This event was special though because the Saturday timing meant that people that could not make it on the usual Tuesday night were out in force and many people brought their significant others. I had decided to bring my girlfriend to this event and meet friends from the group for the first time. She was decidedly not aware of geek culture of virtually any kind before I met her months ago. We had enjoyed a half a dozen different boardgames together and in a group of friends before but this was going to be a large dose of gaming culture all at once. Would I enjoy a large scale, all day gaming event with her? More importantly, would she enjoy it?
The event included several drawings to win games. Every participant to this free event received a free drawing ticket and could purchase additional tickets for other games. In addition, the normally empty side room of the bar hosted a visiting game store (The Gaming Goat), where over $55,000 worth of games were being sold for great prices. Additionally, there was a couple of tournaments of shorter games being hosted.
When we showed up, the event had people assigned to explain the drawings, introduce how the gaming library would work during the day, and most importantly to welcome us into the event. This was a very welcome touch, even for a regular like me. I instantly felt that if any store had staff as friendly and happy to be there as this event, they would not want for customers. My girlfriend felt the same way.
I had planned on showing my date a very good gateway game to set collection (collecting items like gems or cards which represent resources) to show her a nice introduction to this type of game.
Then, randomly, I friend walked up to me and asked if I would like to try a second play of a game called Viticulture. I loved my first play of this game so I agreed immediately. Together, he and his wife were kind enough to explain the game but this is not some simple gateway game. This is a full length medium depth worker placement game deeply enriched with the theme of wine-making. I cannot overemphasize how much I enjoy this game and how much the theme works into each game action. As an added twist, I ordered me and my date a glass of wine before we started. I jumped right into my second game without hesitation. This game has a very standard and intuitive worker placement mechanic and almost all questions can be answered by the response to “What would be logically next if you were really making wine?”
Still, my date was thrown by the heavy thinking and short turns of this worker placement game. It took her more than a few game years / rounds to really understand what placing a worker represented and why she couldn’t do more one each turn.
She was not to be underestimated though. Remember, she had NEVER played a worker placement game before, and I had seen this mechanic since 2005. She is extremely intuitive. Perhaps more importantly from a gamer perspective, she loves learning new things and how things work. Which, if you read my post yesterday, is one of the reasons I love boardgames. It is also the reason that as soon as she understood what she should be doing from a strategy viewpoint, she quickly relaxed and enjoyed the game. This is despite her understanding at that moment that she was pretty far behind me and the leader. Two or three rounds later, my buddy’s wife played out her slow starting strategy to crush me as well. Then, we all went off to take a break and play more games.
After that game, I realized that we were both going to really enjoy the day after all.
Thanks for reading and Happy Gaming!