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Subject: My top secret mission behind Geek lines (Read and Destroy!) rss

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Colin Viljoen
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I have joined under an alias just in order to post this thread, get it off my chest, pass on any geekgold it might amass, close the account down and then put this whole episode far, far behind me...

To save the innocent (for 'innocent' read: the ultra-geeky) I will not use any real names or even 'real' aliases.

I will endeavour to make this post as enigmatic as possible and yet I promise you on all that is worthy that what I am about to write really did happen to me.

So, what's the story?

Well, during the past '4 months' I attended my very first gaming group. I came to gaming via a circuitous route that helpfully circumnavigated all the usual Geek-heavy stopping-off points. So, while geeks were getting beaten up at school, I was the one doing it! While geeks were afraid of girls, I was making out with them (the girls that is, not the geeks and certainly NOT geek-girls...!!!) While geeks were playing dungeons and dragons I was making real-life friends and making some memories of REAL teenage life, enough to keep me warm on a middle-aged-man's winter evening! Bluntly: I am one seriously cool guy, who dresses well, doesn't overeat, has plenty of friends and activities that don't involve meeting in small, badly lit and appallingly ventilated musty rooms...

So, why did I want to go to a gaming group? Well, I was very much enjoying the games I was playing and thought it'd be cool to meet some other folk who like them so that we could play together, I could see some new games and I could enlarge my social group.

The day...

After emailing and finding out about the group I took a deep breath and set off to join my new 'gaming-buddies'...

On the way I thought, hang on, what should I take with me? I stopped off to buy a few beers (surely these guys like a drink?) and shortly after I arrived.

Its hard not to give too much away (I genuinely don't want to upset anyone - although maybe they wouldn't care - maybe they WANT to be like this - hard to believe but I am keeping that option open...) a guy with a 'few extra pounds', a 'jogging suit' (that I am guessing had never, ever seen the sweat of sporting activity) and no shoes opened the door. I kind of felt like turning and running!!! Should I trust my instincts? If I had, I'd have missed out on an amazing anthropological experience.

I entered the house over the threadbare 'carpet' (man, you really need a LOT of inverted commas while describing these guys and their habitat!) and into a veritable cauldron of sci-fi novel, fantasy DVDs and various games. I proffered the beer and was told, "nobody brings beer, its not a rule or anything, its just that nobody does it... " was I ever glad to have brought it though as at least it could take the edge off this surreal encounter...

People were arriving all the time while those already there studiously avoided me, keeping their eyes down while clutching their little packets of snacks which they busily stored away like nervous little squirrels in the kitchen. Scotch eggs, crisps, coca-cola and popcorn abounded.

I tried to start conversation but it was hard, I just couldn't find anything in common with these folk. I named games I'd played and they gave knowing glances to each other coupled with smug smirks - someone helpfully translated my words, "what he means is...", "I think he's referring to..." and then gave the REAL pronunciation or its German version (this is literally true!)

Without warning and with no visible mode of communication the geeks started to huddle around various tables to begin gaming. What was I to do? Was I just meant to watch?

The realisation was dawning upon me - these are the guys I used to beat up at school. These are the guys I knew absolutely NOTHING about, except that they had bad hygiene, bad breath, terrible clothing, no social skills whatsoever and who only ever hang out with others of their ilk.

I was behind enemy lines without an interpreter, without provisions, my mission uncertain and no obvious points of contact with the 'locals'. I had my work cut out for me...

I realise that if I go into too much more detail I could blow my cover, although on the other hand have I just describe EVERY meeting to play games?

Some of the games had protective covers on their cards!!! All of the games were very carefully (lovingly?) packed. After each game there were certain little rituals about packing away. During each game no talking at ALL was encouraged that didn't relate directly to the game. My furtive attempts at humanity ("oh Italy? have you been there? do you like Italian food?") were met with nonplussed silence, a little nervous shuffling and a clear desire to just get on with the game...

Did I enjoy myself? Hmmm, enjoy is a very, VERY strong word in this context. I didn't HATE it though and felt that I'd even picked up a few tricks along the way so that I might even be able to attend again and make my time run more smoothly and with less obvious mistakes on my part. ALWAYS commend folk for their 'clever play' - don't go on about it, but just give a short, brusque, "very clever!" and then move on. Never, NEVER, EVER make anything approaching a comedic statement - this is a humour-free zone.

Show an interest in the various obscure games brought by the geeks, scattered around in bags at various locations in the room. Never, EVER be put off by food around their mouths, grease in their hair, by their dreadful skin conditions - just see this as the norm, its not good, its not bad, its just the result of spending your life doing this stuff with this type of person.

So, how do I feel now?

Mightily guilty that I'll be construed as cruel by Geekdom. I really, truly don't want to be mean-spirited, I am just telling what I saw. Is this the way it always is? Is this what would happen to me if I kept going to groups like this? Do these people have a sense of self-perception that means they know this is what they're like? Do they care? Does anyone ever break out to the REAL world? Is there inter-marrying? Is there ANY marrying?

When I left I felt very melancholy. This was an unknown world to me, it was as if I'd entered some hinterland that I was free to leave but all the while knowing that others weren't. Were they like Plato's prisoners in the cave? Were they aware of a world outside this one of cardboard push out pieces and plastic wallets and rules upon rules and about just how absurd it was for them to pretend to be all of these exciting things while all the while they live out the most monstrous monotony in their multiple variations on the theme of working in/with/on computers?

Please tell me whether your group is like this? Are you offended by my report? Angry? Relieved? Found out? How do you feel about being described in this way? Do you FEEL at all?

I am currently working towards going to the group at some point in the future and this time my disguise will be inpregnable. Is it actually your group that I am attending? I guess we'll never know...

I'll leave this up here for a week. Distribute any GG you give (out of sympathy for me/gratitude to me), close this 'beard' account and then go back about my business among the real people...

I will await your response - be honest, I know that I have...

I JUST WANT TO PUBLICLY APOLOGISE FOR THIS ILL-ADVISED, STUPID AND ILL-THOUGHT-OUT POST. I WAS CATEGORICALLY WRONG FOR DOING IT, I NOW REALISE THIS AND I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AND WITHOUT RESERVATION APOLOGISE. I ALSO REALISE THAT I SIMPLY CAN'T TAKE THESE STUPID WORDS BACK AND SO INSTEAD I ASK THAT ANYONE OFFENDED MIGHT FORGIVE ME AND WRONG THOUGH I WAS, REMEMBER THAT I DID IT OUT OF WHIMSY NOT MALICE, AND I AM THEREFORE JUST STUPID RATHER THAN ACTUALLY BEING BAD...

I AM SORRY...



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Bill Lawson
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I also am considered cool and have plenty of success with the ladies ( unless you find 2 divorces less than successful ) My experience with gamers and gaming groups over the years has been quite different than yours. Most of the guys ( yes they were mostly men) were folks I would consider my peers. There was however at least a couple of the types you describe in every group and those guys were generally the most fanatical ( they had no other social life I guess).
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Dice bags!
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Bill's right... there's probably a couple in most (if not all) groups. I've mostly played game with family members or significant others. In the last few years we've played with friends, but usually party games, save for the occasional Settlers of Catan. It's only very recently been the case that we've gone to a public gaming group, and seen some gamers that fit the types in your story.

I've always been a tad geeky (AP Calculus, anyone?) but very social, especially in college. I'm a girl, so my relatively-minor geek sins are readily forgiven.

If that group wasn't a good fit, I'd try another one. Our local FLGS-es have game nights, and there's one at a local college. If you meet some fun people, maybe they know of a private game night (at their home, perhaps) that might feel better to you. You can always try craiglist or meetup.com. Maybe some of your already-friends would be interested. Play online. Go to BGG-con. There are options; don't give up just yet.

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Dennis Ku
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I went to an event recently with a friend of mine where we also had a horrible experience. As we sat down to play a game, a fifth person joined us. She was the most ill-behaved person I have ever met. She complained about every move, rolled her eyes constantly, complained about the game (which someone else had just gotten), threw a tantrum when she wasn't allowed to take an extra turn and then, at the end, complained about someone she knows who "ruins games for her because he's too serious".

There's always going to be someone you don't get along with in a big group. In life, all you can do is be sensible and not be offensive while still being yourself.
 
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Scott Nicholson
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Over the last few years, I have met many local game groups. When I travel and have a few free evenings, I look around here for an existing group and see if they can host me for a game night. I've played with at least 20 such groups across the country, so I've had a variety of experiences.

Setting: The settings have ranged from a one-bedroom apartment around a card table to game and coffee shops to multi-story mansions. Some are clean, some are, well, lived-in.

Food: There are usually snacks of some sort, usually game-friendly snacks. Sometimes a full meal is served, other times, not.

Games: I've played a wide variety of games with these groups from party games to History of the World.

People: Since most of your report is about the people, I'll talk about that.

The people have typically been much friendlier than you describe here. Now, I do attempt to engage people in discussion about their careers, hobbies, and lives while we play. I don't know if I shake up the normality with my questions, but I ask away.

I'd say about 25% of the attendees fall into what you describe - people who want to talk only about the game and have little else to discuss.

About another 25% will answer my questions, but won't want to continue the conversations.

The remaining 50% are happy to engage in real-life conversations, both during and between games. I've met many interesting people through these conversations.


So, there are people out there who are willing to engage you as a person (and not just as a piece-pusher). You may just need to look more to find them.


I've only had 1 bad experience with a group who played hard-core Puerto Rico and drove me away from one of my favorite games for a while. I still meet with groups as I travel, having recently visited an authentic games cafe in Amsterdam on my last trip.
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Brenden Johnson
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I'm certain that there are a number of groups out there like the one you describe.

But there are plenty of groups that are full of "normal" people as well. I game with a group of friends I've known for a while and a local gaming group that I'm still trying to really become a part of.

I'd say my close friends are definitely the "slobbier" of the two groups, and that is because we're all so familiar that we don't feel we have to "try too hard." And even then, we're not like the people you describe above, except for the cluttered, dingy basement we meet in.

But the local gaming group I'm a part of is full of respectful, well-kept, outgoing, and fun people who have made me feel very welcome. Heck, one of the meetings was a small gathering at the group organizer's house to help her make beer. She even shared her previous batch with us and we had a couple mugs each. Good times.
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Barton Campbell
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I play electric guitar and have been in rock bands in New York and London. I used to go to clubs in New York, such as Max's Kansas City and Danceteria, and I was a club animal in London, such as Trash and Nag Nag Nag and hung out with Tim Burton, the director, for example. In January, of this year I went to an art opening and met Yoko Ono. Woopy-do. I'm not going to pretend to be any lady killer but I have a fifteen-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, so I must have done it at least twice. But I also read a lot, exclusively non-fiction, and I play wargames.

I've visited three wargaming clubs in New York City. At the first two, I only attended one time each. The geek factor was very high.

At the third, I visited a few times but never actually played a game (they did sell $1 beers here). My girlfriend, who is now my wife, was a bartender around the corner (she gave me free beers) and it was easy to pop into the game club from time to time. And the geek factor was a bit better.

I now live in New Jersey and visited a game store that has gaming nights. The geek factor was better but they only played euros. So I stopped going there after three visits.

Now I'm going to check out another club in two weeks.

I'm not going to pretend that it's just the geek factor. Frankly, I agree with Sartre, "Hell is other people". Yeah, I'm a friendly guy but I'm just not willing to put up with flakes of any kind, geeks or not. Even a beautiful and willing woman with an off-putting personality holds no attraction to me. So yeah, geeks are another world but I've come to the conclusion, like contemporary physics would suggest, every human being is another equally alien world, nay, universe. I'm sure you can hang out with your "regular" friends but you can't play a game with them. With the geeks, you can't hangout but you can play a game. It's pluses and minuses.

But, hey, let's put it like this, your like a crossover song. You can communicate with more than one crowd. Rather than put down one crowd over the other, how can you work each crowd for your mutual benefit?

BTW, you write quite well. And your meter is really evocative of the London feel. I would stick with that or try to continue writing.
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Paul O'Connor
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Sure, they're nerds. They're peculiar.

They also welcomed you into their home to share their passion.

Repaying that trust with anonymous derision is churlish.
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Mike Kollross
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Quote:
So, while geeks were getting beaten up at school, I was the one doing it! While geeks were afraid of girls, I was making out with them (the girls that is, not the geeks and certainly NOT geek-girls...!!!)


I hope this is an attempt at humor that I somehow missed.
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Brian Foster
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The way that I read the OP was that he had his tongue stuck firmly in his cheek, but I guess the "no humor zone" at his club is firmly in place on this board.

The piece is extremely well written and entertaining. My compliments to the author.
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Seiya V
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My first reaction was that you are either extremely arrogant and full of yourself (beating up geeks, "one cool guy", "real people") or have a terrible sense of humor.

My second reaction, was that if it was my first time in the game group you described, I'd probably be pretty uncomfortable as well. The lack of conversation, the smugness... it seems like a very uncomfortable atmosphere.

I guess I would have to agree with your post a little bit, but at the same time wonder why you care so much about your appearance or your "cool" facade. Sure this group was a bust, but that doesn't mean all gamers are geeks who can't hold conversations with "real" people...
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Eric Jome
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You know, the more I think about it, I can only consider this ridiculous crap as some sort of juvenile stunt or degenerate attempt at humor. No person who actually felt this way would bother to post, would bother to even find this site. Troll or joke. It's the only reasonable explanation.

Frankly... smells like Barnes trying to flame eurogamers.
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J
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I think it's most likely an attempt at humor and it's probably by a longer term member. Notice the familiarity with GeekGold.
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Joseph
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absolutelynotageek wrote:


I will await your response - be honest, I know that I have...



Every hobby has its own fringe or marginal groups. Sounds like you stumbled into one of those. Most of the people I've met in board gaming are nice reasonable folks. Many of them are bathe regularly and are polite and reasonable too!

I'd keep looking if I were you. I'm sure you'l find a good fit if you keep trying.

Being turned off by the attitude and environs doesn't make you a bad person.
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Ryan Heac0ck
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If you had fun try it again and see if they dont open up a bit. If you didnt then do not return, look for some 'cool' people that fit your perception of 'normal'. Do not deride them in a public forum, especially under a anon account, looking for sympathy? chuckles? affirmation?

Karma is a muthaf#%&er..... yuk
 
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Colin Viljoen
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bartman347 wrote:

So yeah, geeks are another world but I've come to the conclusion, like contemporary physics would suggest, every human being is another equally alien world, nay, universe. I'm sure you can hang out with your "regular" friends but you can't play a game with them. With the geeks, you can't hangout but you can play a game. It's pluses and minuses.

But, hey, let's put it like this, your like a crossover song. You can communicate with more than one crowd. Rather than put down one crowd over the other, how can you work each crowd for your mutual benefit?

BTW, you write quite well. And your meter is really evocative of the London feel. I would stick with that or try to continue writing.


Your responses made me smile - why aren't there people like YOU around here for me to meet up with????

I liked the stuff you said about the different crowds and you're absolutely right! And truly, I honestly don't think I am any better than these folks, really I don't - I just find it a bit, ummm, different/difficult to deal with.

I also know that I just LOVE people and so I'll see this as an opportunity to do something I find a lil' bit challenging in order to be, well, a better man...

Also, thanks for the kind comment about my writing (interesting London comment too...), I appreciate it and its encouraging since I've just set out on a doctorate in theology so hopefully it'll come in handy...

Thanks again, its folk like you that bring light into an otherwise rather dark day...

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jonathan chapman
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No beer?!

This must be a joke.
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Colin Viljoen
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goldenboat wrote:
Sure, they're nerds. They're peculiar.

They also welcomed you into their home to share their passion.

Repaying that trust with anonymous derision is churlish.


Truly sorry that you saw it as derision. It really was me just commenting and I would be mortified if my comments upset anyone...

Everything you said apart from the accusation was absolutely spot on. Thank you.
 
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Colin Viljoen
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jarredscott78 wrote:
I think it's most likely an attempt at humor and it's probably by a longer term member. Notice the familiarity with GeekGold.


Goodness, if I'd been going at humour I truly hope that I wouldn've done a far better job. Ummm, don't know what to say about the GeekGold - its EVERYWHERE on this site...

Try not to be quite so suspicious...
 
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J
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absolutelynotageek wrote:
jarredscott78 wrote:
I think it's most likely an attempt at humor and it's probably by a longer term member. Notice the familiarity with GeekGold.


Goodness, if I'd been going at humour I truly hope that I wouldn've done a far better job. Ummm, don't know what to say about the GeekGold - its EVERYWHERE on this site...

Try not to be quite so suspicious...


I tried it, didn't like it.

And your having an underdeveloped sense of humor would only add to my suspicion. For the record, I actually was entertained by your original post and I have had some very similar experiences. I attended a game group a few times where I was the only one drinking alcohol and I was the only one who knew nothing about SciFi.
 
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christine belsom
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Uh, "Yeah," and what's wrong with "geek girls"? Being one, I can tell you that many of us are indistinguishable from the rest of our gender.

Also, how did you KNOW they weren't geek girls? I played a lot of sports in high school and college. I was a cheerleader. I made friends with whom I am still in contact, with whom I also enjoyed many extra-curriculars that did not involve musty rooms. My social skills are on a par with your average Junior League member. I am also a sci-fi loving, problem-solving, critical thinking, Literature studying, board- and video- game playing geek, and have been all my life.

In any case, if you are seriously giving up the hobby because you unwittingly found the wrong game group, then can I have all your games? Because really, you have to be a bit more determined to participate in ANY hobby than you were in this one. Even "gamers" have a hard time finding the right group. I know for a "non-gamer" like yourself, it might be intimidating, but if you are so tough, why let one session scare you off? You could find another group, or you could start your own.

I can only assume that your insulting attitude towards all of geekdom, especially in this particular venue, is some kind of attempt at "edgy comedy." If you really are the type of person who used physical violence on other people just because they smelled bad or were otherwise different from you, or if you really do make uninformed generalizations about people just because you can't use a viewpoint other than the narrow one exemplified in this post, then you'd just be a real dick. Pity for you? Yes. "Gratitude" or "Sympathy"? No.
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J
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midnightferret wrote:
Uh, "Yeah," and what's wrong with "geek girls"? Being one, I can tell you that many of us are indistinguishable from the rest of our gender.

Also, how did you KNOW they weren't geek girls? I played a lot of sports in high school and college. I was a cheerleader...


I was just about to start flirting with you until I clicked on your profile and saw that the second word is "Married". Shucks.
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Jeff Hinrickson
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I know of these people you speak.

I too have been in your position.

I view it like this, It's not like you have to be their friends or anything just go and fulfill your gaming fetish and go about your business.

That's what I do, damn forgot to use my alias BGG account.
 
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Jesse Miller
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It's kind of funny, because reading this post reminded me of some of the guys that have come to check out our group and never come back.

We like to curse, drink and otherwise carry on during our gaming sessions. We like euros and "american" (I refuse to use the other word) games. We end up getting distracted easily and games usually take us a bit longer to play than normal. We are ok with this, and yelling at people who aren't paying attention when it's their turn has become a bit of a sport.

I've been gaming most of my life, and have no problems with women or hygiene. Played lots of D&D back in the day, along with even more geeky offerings like Call of Cthulhu, the Ringworld role playing game and Stormbringer.

In a couple of instances, we've had guys come by that were clearly made uncomfortable by our style of play and interaction. They didn't return, and I bear them no ill will. I'm sure they were able to find a group that fits them better.

Moral of the story: Keep looking and you'll find somewhere to fit in. As an aside, you may want to keep stories of beating up people to yourself: no-one likes an asshole.
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Jeff Hinrickson
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jarredscott78 wrote:
midnightferret wrote:
Uh, "Yeah," and what's wrong with "geek girls"? Being one, I can tell you that many of us are indistinguishable from the rest of our gender.

Also, how did you KNOW they weren't geek girls? I played a lot of sports in high school and college. I was a cheerleader...


I was just about to start flirting with you until I clicked on your profile and saw that the second word is "Married". Shucks.


This sounds like the type of girl that would kick you in the balls for unwanted advances.
 
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