On Tuesday, the Little Woman and I went to a gaming store. Rather, I should say that I took the Little Woman to said store, since I was the one driving.
The evening proved to be a lot more fun than I’d anticipated. I was there because I knew that this particular game store had a rule book for the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG that I picked up about two months ago. For those not familiar with role playing games, the standard method is that a publisher will create a set of core rules – this is a hefty text that outlines the basic game mechanics and provides enough information for players to begin. Eventually, the publishers will expand upon those rules, usually for specialized characters or situation, and these add-on rule sets allow for errata, corrections, and occasionally, more game scenarios. In the case of SWEotE, there are about seven or eight of these add-on components, which vary in price between $30 and $40 each. Given that the core rules typically run between $40 and $100, you can see how RPGs can become a serious investment for those who play them.
This is problematic for me because I can get very obsessive with completing sets. Doesn’t matter what the set is, or how much I may (or may not) use it/them, after a certain point, I feel almost obliged to complete the set. I hate having that quality, but at this point it’s pretty hard to shake. The purpose for our visit, therefore, was for me to decide (or talk myself out of) another purchase. Bear in mind that I’ve yet to play the game – I know one person who’s remotely interested, but that’s not enough, and she’s far too busy right now to make this happen. In short, I’m buying in anticipation that one day I’ll be able to fully use the system. There’s good and bad in doing this, but I digress.
My problem is that I can – very effectively, I should add – talk myself out of things. And that’s what I did after twenty minutes at the store. I talked myself out of the purchase and saved myself $30. Great for the wallet, but now I felt as though I’d wasted our time. That’s when we were informed that it was game night, and the package that they’d be playing was X-Wing.
I ended up with a copy of that game about two years ago after a local Target did a sudden clearance sale, but we’ve never had time to play it. Staying for game night would not only allow us to see the game played, but to see the rules in action, thus making it easier for us to get into the game when the chance arrived. The Little Woman, however, was not as eager to participate; she complained of shyness and the fact that she didn’t want to look silly. I pointed out that all we were doing was watching others, and that there was nothing wrong with that. She reluctantly agreed, so we waited.
As we did so, the store’s manager asked if we’d like to demo the game. It was not my turn to be hesitant, but the Little Woman jumped up and said, “Sure!” I don’t know where that ‘shyness’ and timidity went, but it was gone once the manager opened up a box and set the playing table for us. I have to give him credit because he was an excellent teacher – patient and clear, he stayed with us for over two hours as we played. X-Wing is a game wherein players control spaceships from Star Wars in random hostile encounters. As our teacher said, “It’s a game where you try to anticipate where and how your opponent will move.” I think an easier analogy is a slightly more complex version of chess. There’s a lot of data that players have to be cognizant of, whether it is for one’s own ship or those of one’s opponents. And you really do have to anticipate another player’s potential moves – at one point, the Little Woman and I had both managed to maneuver our ships into a very close and tight area, bumping each other at least twice.
What was really surprising to me was how the Little Woman changed. She went from being very quiet and passive (almost annoyed, at one point) to embracing her blood lust during the game. She was really into it, and I was happy. Not because I want to get her into gaming (which I’m barely into myself), but because she has never really opened herself up to meeting new people. Even though it was just us with our teacher, the Little Woman was like a wholly new person. When it became obvious that we needed to head home, I surrendered – she’d destroyed two of my fighters, while her whole fleet was still reasonably intact. She was especially thrilled to realize that we could, when time allowed, continue our contest at home. She was a bit saddened, however, to realize that she would not be able to use the major combat ships that she did at the store since I don’t own them. But she did ask me to take her back out there so that she can get one or two for herself.
Seems that I didn’t waste our time out there after all.