Gaming with Strangers (Deep South Con 50)

I’d just come from a panel and I was making my way to the autograph table to see which authors had signed up for a time slot. A woman stood in the middle of the walkway with the top of a game box in her hand.

“Want to play a game of Munchkin?” she asked me. 
I’ve wanted to get more into gaming for years. But my gaming history is next to non-existent (let’s not count Candyland and Monopoly when the power went out as a kid). I’ve watched the gaming tables at comic shops, and peeked into gaming rooms at conventions, but I’m always afraid to ask to join a game. I don’t want to burden those already playing by my novice status. 
Last year at Clarion West one of my classmates, Erik David Even, brought some amazing games with him to the workshop (check out Letters from Whitechapel!). And because most of the other people in our group hadn’t played the games before either, I felt more confident in giving it a try. And the games were so much fun. Erik was a patient and fun game master, and it’s due to my positive experiences gaming at Clarion West that when a complete stranger asked me if I’d like to play a game at a convention I said yes.
The woman motioned me over to a table in the middle of the atrium. I walked over and introduced myself to two other players sorting out cards. Within a few minutes a guy walked up and asked if he could join in. And just a minute later a very tall man in a cape and with a double red light saber asked if he could join as well. His name badge read “Count Dooku.” 
The young guy, Sam, and Count Dooku had both played Munchkin many times before. Myself and another girl were complete newbs, and the woman who had recruited me and her husband had played a few times. 
But after the cards were sorted, we realized that half of the deck of cards was missing. There was no way we could play the game without the treasure cards. 
Another group of people sat playing a game at a table near us. It was one of those conquer the map type games that I associate with seasoned players. The Munchkin recruiter went over and asked if they happened to have a game of Munchkin with them. A man with a long white beard pulled three small boxes out of his backpack and brought them to our table – a full set. 
We started playing, using pennies for level markers. I became a bard with a spring-mounted magnificent hat. I listened at the door, kicked the door down, and once I even went looking for trouble. 

My hand early on in the game of Munchkin at DSC50

Count Dooku helped me with each of my turns, and after a while I started to get the hang of the game. He made quippy jokes and transitioned from someone physically intimidating to a really fun person to hang out with.

If I had been watching from across the room, I think I would have mistaken our laid back game for a group of seasoned players. And that would have kept me from approaching and asking to join.

“My name is Count Dooku. Don’t worry, I never strike an unarmed opponent,” he had said when he first sat down.

Then he handed me a lightsaber and smiled. “Here, hold this.”

The next time I’m at a convention, I’m going to ask to join a game. I know I’ll be able to learn how to arm myself as I go.

2 thoughts on “Gaming with Strangers (Deep South Con 50)

  1. Oooh!! I'm so excited you know how to play! Maybe I can get the game and bring it to AWP next year and we can play it if all the panels and socializing becomes too much. 🙂

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