Geekway to the West

by | May 31, 2015 | Shahnaz Blog (Previously They Throw Rocks)

Hi all,

I haven’t been MIA.  I have been busy.  It’s been a week since I returned from Seattle and there’s things I can blog about that, but here’s a post that has been long overdue.  The weekend before I left for Seattle, I attended my first “Geekway to the West”.  It’s a board game convention!

The story really started early this year when I was in casual conversation with a patient’s parent about board games and how much I enjoyed it.  She talked about being a gamer, but she liked video games. As we talked, she told me that there was, however, a board game convention in St. Louis.  She wasn’t sure about it.  “A friend of mine went and she liked it!  That’s all I know.”  The other piece of information I got was the possible name.  She asked me to google “geekway to the west” but she wasn’t sure if that’s what it was called.  She said it would be close enough.  The joke in the office switched to myself not showing up for work or calling in sick with some lame excuse when I really was playing games at this conference.  We all laughed at my craziness and I walked away.  The next thing I did in my office, before checking on patients was to stop by my computer.  Ah!  Google!  Thou art a true friend.

Geekway to the West showed up and I was looking at the website.  Pre-registration was open for $35.  I didn’t want to go alone.  I loved board games, but did I love it enough to go to a conference?  I wasn’t sure.  This looked serious.  I called my friends.  “Hey!  So, there’s this conference for board games.  Uhm.  What do you think?”  Of course, they were all busy and had other things to do than go and play games.  One of my friends wanted me to go as a guinea pig.  If I liked it, she would join next year.  Others checked their schedule and said they would think about it.  The thing is that pre-registration was going to close in a couple of weeks and registration would be $45.  Walk-ins was $50 and everyone pretty much decided that they couldn’t make a decision for pre-registration or even registration.  “We’ll do the walk-ins if we have to,” is what I got.

I told my husband that he’s going with me.  LOL.  No.  He’s not a big fan of board games, but he is a big fan of me, so he obliged.  I pre-registered for 2.  As luck would have it, registration got sold out.  They capped at 1300 people and so walk ins were not allowed either.  My brother was going to come into town for the conference.  I told him that the walk-ins were sold out, but he could use my husband’s badge and come.  After all, my husband wasn’t too interested.

The conference opened on Thursday.  I was at work and was supposed to get off by 1pm.  Long story short, it was a horrible day at work and I got off at 3pm.  I was exhausted.  I was going to throw in the hat.  Who cares about some stupid board game convention, I thought.  I’ll go later.  As I thought about it, I changed my mind.  I was not going to let a bad day ruin the rest of my evening.  So, as tired and frustrated as I was, I went.  I got confused about the location.  I knew it was at the Sheraton Chalet, but at the last minute I talked myself into believing it was at the Sheraton which was walking distance from the Chalet.  So, that took a while and I finally ended up at the conference and registered.  I told the person at registration that I had a rough day at work and I had no idea what I was doing there.  This was my first time at a game conference and I was alone.  He looked at me and said, “Well!  You forget about your bad day now and you just play games.”  “Games?  But what do I do?”  I really didn’t know how it all worked.  He suggested I go to the “play and win” room and just find someone to play with.  I look back at that and it’s funny.  A simple task – find someone to play with, seemed gigantic to me until I walked in there.  I found someone to play with immediately.  We picked a game neither of us had played – Viticulture.  We found a teacher to help us learn the game and I had a lot of fun.

The next day, Friday, I got there at 9:30am and stayed until I had to leave at 7pm to go pick my brother up from the airport.  By then I had played Viticulture, again.  I played 5 Tribes.  I played an army game I can’t recall, Resistance, and The Game of 49.  Saturday, I went with my husband in the morning and I took my brother in the afternoon.  Sunday, I left for Seattle with my brother taking our badges and waiting to see if I won any of the games we played in the “Play and Win”.  My brother texted me that we did not win anything.

It’s funny.  It’s a world of board games I would not have discovered.  So many.  I was told by a friend before I went that people may be aggressive.  I didn’t encounter any of that.  I encountered like minded people who just loved to play board games for the fun of playing.  Of course, we all wanted to win, but we weren’t going to be aggressive and yell.  We just played a fair game and it was a fair fight to win.

I got a text from my brother when I was in Seattle.  “Forget medical conferences.  Let’s just go to board game conferences from now on!”  Hahaha!  Yes, I would say he loved it too.


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