Before every board game convention that I go to I always pray for God to show me the “real” reason for going. I know it’s not about the games, but it’s really about the people and the relationships with those that play them. Last November I went to Dallas wondering what will happen this time. Previous to this convention I had gotten a game to review called the Game of 49. I hadn’t gotten a chance to play it before the convention, but I reached out to the publisher and hoped to meet them and play it with them there.
This was a small independent publisher and it was their first game designed and published (the designer was the self publisher). Think of it like someone self publishing a book and selling it next to the huge publishers that are sold Barnes & Noble, but all in one hall.
My friend had gone out to dinner since my game was running long. So I was standing in the lobby of the hotel by myself and I saw the publisher of the Game of 49 walking my way. I knew what he looked like from some videos of him showing off the game so I introduced myself to him and his wife and asked if I could join them for dinner. Even in the 10 minutes before our food came, I could tell these were genuinely two of the nicest people I’ve met. When the food came, I did something I rarely do (pray for strangers at a meal). I prayed that our relationship were to grow, and that they would be blessed in one way shape or form at this convention.
The next day I finally got a chance to play the Game of 49. I was a little nervous because I wanted to like it, but quite honestly just by the looks of it, it’s something that I would normally pass by.
It’s such a simple game where you try and get 4 chips in a row through bidding in auctions. But there are cards that allow you not only put your chip in 1 of many spots (like a wild) you also get $7 for each chip you have on the board. So it’s like a little economic building game. I liked the game so much that I announced it my “surprise hit” of the convention on the live podcast that was recorded there in front of a couple hundred attendees. Later that night they had sold a ton of them. The “celebrity” of the convention (Rich Sommers form TV’s Mad Men) told me later that he bought a copy on my recommendation and loved it!
The buzz that I started flowed through the convention and they sold out all the copies they brought. I later got this message from the publisher:
” I sold out my copies at BGG Con. Pretty good odds that the shout-out you arranged on the Dice Tower podcast contributed to that. Anytime we’re attending the same con, I’ll have to make it a point to have dinner with you the first night, as a good luck charm. Ruth and I had a outstanding weekend, and it was genuine pleasure meeting you. “
This was truly a diamond in the rough that may have been passed over by gamers. When I prayed for them to be blessed during the convention I didn’t realize that I was personally going to be used to assist them in their blessing. Blessings come in many ways and most often don’t come in monetary form, but in this case I believe it was. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple.
From this I learned that even when you pray for someone else, don’t be surprised if YOU are part of that story. I think sometimes we pray for someone and hope that it will get handled without us. But sometimes we are actually the most qualified to help that prayer be answered whether we know it or not.
Is it a coincidence that the game has the number of the bible squared (7 x 7) in the title of it? I think not! :)