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December 10, 2014

Anticipation: Domination

December 10, 2014

Meeting your (probably) guardian angel? Strange.

Watching your son poop in the shower below you? Stranger.

Dominating a group of strangers in a hard-core strategy game at Gen Con as a total noob? Strangest!

I had the absolute pleasure of attending Gen Con for the first time this year. The games, the costumes, the larping, the wonderment… all completely exhilarating by themselves, but it’s the bird’s eye view that blows my mind:

60,000 attendees from literally all walks of life who have anticipated this moment for an entire year fill the Indy Convention Center to the brim with joy.

There’s simply nothing like seeing another human being live out their destiny with the roll of a dice in an incredibly accurate Pokemon costume.


My moment came early on in my day, when I showed up for the round of Settlers of America that I registered for (with the Train Gamers Association - yes, this is a professional association that I’m now a member of) to meet my nemeses for the next 2 hours: Skip, Paula and Michael.

Settlers of America

Skip is an almost retired truck driver who tagged along with his son Michael in an effort to connect with him. Paula’s husband has been attending Gen Con for 16 years straight and now she’s a regular too. I’m a young dad who realized a new passion in gaming a few years back and may have also found his new favorite event. The 4 of us couldn’t be more different but were united in the common pursuit of victory points.

The object of our game was to colonize the western US and I found a path to victory points so quickly that my opponents were left in the dust. They spent the entire game making comments like, “Well I WOULD do that if DAAAANNN hadn’t beat me to it.” They all played together against me and couldn’t even come close.

Focus on the Moment

Close to the end I became very aware that the anxiety of my final turn had overtaken my entire body. My feet were tapping uncontrollably. The hair on my neck was standing up and I was grinding my teeth. Upon realizing that I would end the game when my turn came around, I was in paradise. That moment when you crush just a tiny bit of ego in wonderful people just to feed your own? Heaven.

We all traded pleasantries and parted ways never to meet again (most likely). I couldn’t help but smile like an idiot while I walked past the other game tables out to the main hall. I knew that this strange moment was over and made sure to stop and drink it in to preserve it in the long-term memory banks before stimulating myself with replica Game of Thrones weapons.

It’s not often that it’s okay to find joy in the domination of others, but at Gen Con... your alter-ego reigns supreme.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.
Today's prompt: "Weird. Wild. Wacky. Time to get weird. We want to hear your strangest story from the last year (or more). Will it make us raise an eyebrow or three? That's what we want. Whether it's a tale of colliding coincidences, a strange Saturday you just can't shake, or if it makes you squirm just to remember: get weird."

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