I was worried. I admit it.
Every time we come up with an idea for an event, there is a part of me that is skeptical. Sure I personally would love to see this event happen or that event happen, and I know people who would be happy to see most any gaming event, but real life gets in the way, right? Schedule conflicts, kids, job… you know, that responsibility thing. So when Johannes Bowers of d20Radio said he would be happy to run his full scale BattleTech demo at Petrie’s—the one he normally runs at GenCon and the other large conventions—I of course screamed “Yes!” Giant robots beating up on other giant robots using a system widely known as one of the longest running and strongest systems created… and all of this on a board big enough to fill the entire back room? What else could any self-serving 80’s child want?
But as the advertising went up and word was spread, I began to think it might be a bad idea. Here we have Johannes coming to the store to set up a large game of which we had only one person sign up right away. No one seemed interested in RSVP and the general reaction was “That’s really cool!” followed quickly with “I might show up.”
This morning I was once again surprised and humbled by the power of ‘geek’. One by one, they started showing up. Since opening the store I have repetitively had those “build it and they will come” moments. “Do not underestimate the power of nostalgia,” I have to remind myself. And that is precisely what happened here.
I find that some people are a bit tentative when it comes to trying new things if they aren’t sure anybody else is doing it. Human nature. I have to admit I’m the same way. But as soon as there’s a trickle it quickly turns into a flow. As these grown men, most of which had played Classic Battletech in high school or college, began to gather and assign their ‘Mechs’, I’m pretty sure I heard a few of them giggling. Like I said… the power of nostalgia. Before long, these six men—of which only two had previously met each other—were standing together laughing, joking and virtually blowing things up. As I walked back to adjust the air conditioning, one of them turned to me and sarcastically commented “I think we’re having fun.”
What was I worried about?
UPDATE: 4:00pm – The game is still going. While a few of them look a little drained, the laughter is still erupting at random times. So far, one Mech has been obliterated from trying to do a jump. Yes, a jump. Using his jump-jets, he went over a mountain not aware that an enemy Mech was on the other side. He landed on the shoulder, fell over and damaged his internal systems. Oops. But no worries… almost all the rest are still being held together by string and wires. I’ll post the winning team here later tonight.
UPDATE: 7:00pm – Yup… they’re still there. We’re down to 4 players of which only 3 have Mechs left. This is epic. And the funny part is that they’re still only half way to their objective. Today has been a sort of social experiment. In their efforts to be the first one to the end goal, they spent too much time beating on each other, and now no one will be able to get there (or so I predict). Human nature won out and now they’re barely limping along.