Hello, Chaz Marler from Pair of Dice Paradise here, continuing my Meeples For Sheepish Peoples series, discussing the social activity of board games in the lives of people who aren’t necessarily socially outgoing.
Last episode found me stopping at Dice Tower con as a dress rehearsal for GenCon, having travelled to the convention to not only meet up and play games with friends, but to also find and play games with several others who I’d corresponded with online through social media. But, by midway through the convention, I had let the anxiety of meeting these new people cause me to neglect doing so. And so, I was at a crossroads. I could continue hiding comfortably in games with friends, or I could start pushing myself out of my comfort zone and spend time with those who I’d also come there to meet. But, would doing so really make me feel any better, or just awkward in a different way?
Well, win or lose, I decided that I had to give it a try. So, first thing the next morning, when the opportunity spontaneously arose to have breakfast with someone I’d met through Twitter and his game group, I did it. And to my amazement, I survived! That evening, I had dinner with the gentleman who won the starring role in the Board Game Decathlon mockumentary from last year’s Jack Vasel Memorial Fund charity auction. We talked well after the food was finished, and it was a fantastic conversation.
But my interactions were not all meal-based. I also chatted with a gentleman who I’d corresponded with by email, and made time to play games specifically with the online friends that I had come there to get to know better. But the most rewarding experience has to have been when I was approached by a gentleman who was clearly nervous, and mentioned that he had watched last year’s Meeples For Sheepish Peoples series, and had travelled all the way from Asia just to attend the Dice Tower convention. I was even more surprised when I discovered Asia is on the other side of the planet! They don’t even speak English! Yeah, I looked it up. Realizing the amount of courage it took for him to travel so far into the unknown just to have the opportunity to meet some of the people he’s seen on The Dice Tower’s Board Game Breakfast show really helped put my own anxieties into perspective.
So, was pushing myself out of my comfort zone worth it? In my experience, absolutely. I mean, sure, during each of these conversations I was nervous, but making the social connections I set out to make was far more rewarding. I felt fantastic, and I think it showed.
But, there can be a side-effect to feeling fantastic. And next time, I’ll conclude this batch of segments by sharing the nicest insult a socially apprehensive board gamer such as myself can receive. And did receive.