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An Unexpected Fall

Updated: May 26, 2020

 I fell into the Theatre

I was a waitress at a restaurant on the third street promenade in Santa Monica, and a patron left a large book on the table. Wrapped in the tip was a note on a napkin that said I should read it and pass it on. I had never seen this gentleman before or did I ever again. I have continued his practice to leave books and magazines at airports and offices. The book was a collection of literary work of William Saroyan. It was intoxicating, and my life in the theatre started with Saroyan and continued for multitudinous of years.

I fell into Gaming

Always an acceptable player of party games at birthdays and social gatherings until my friend, Ben, brought over a game that I HAD to play. This game was Ticket to Ride which was rivalrous and satisfying even though it took multiple plays ever to gain a win. Ben additionally brought me my latest obsession, Machi Koro as well as my ultimate allegiance, Scythe. We have played this game more than the others, ventured into the expansions and acquired four more of the Stonemaier Company games. My collection is quite acceptable thus far with too many still wrapped in plastic.

I fell into Conventions

An invitation from my son’s school nurse, Jeanie, to a small Doctor Who convention at a hotel. Hurricane Who was an event her family enjoyed and the scale was practicable, just in one hotel and two conference rooms.  It was the perfect step into conventions. The panels were not overcrowded, the costumes were impressive, and the merchandise was unique and handcrafted or classic hard to find novelties. Our whole family cherished the discovery of these worlds, of creative, kind, like-minded gatherings, thusly the exploration of conventions adventures commenced.


I fell into GenCon

GenCon  is  short for “Geneva Convention,” an annual meeting that started 50 years ago with roots in the love of tabletop, paper and dice roleplaying games like “Dungeons & Dragons.”

GenCon is a complete immersion into board games and geekdom like no other. The convention floors are enormous, there are games in the meeting rooms of every hotel in a six-block radius, and the adjacent NFL stadium is additionally brimming with games. I stumbled into a writer’s symposium at one of the hotels and partook in the most informative classes that sparked my stalled work that I call a novel. The remarkable thing about any nerdz convention of any kind is that the people there are like you, amiable and enthusiastic to discuss what you are curious about or share what they believe you should give a chance.

Running without a Map

The trip was a last-minute decision to go and had much research was done before the event. We did schedule an Escape Room, two Dungeon & Dragons games, and a 3D Catan game. We made it to two of those.

We had a six-block walk each day to and fro from the Con, and the weather was exceptional. We wandered the rooms (without a map), joined a few games, play tested a few and purchased an obscene amount of dice.

We were fortunate to meet our favorite game maker, Jamey Stegmaier, of Stonemaier Games and play one of his first ventures. The headliner guests were Critical Role, a web series produced by Geek & Sundry in which a group of professional voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons. They had a live show at a beautiful Historic Theatre downtown; however, it sold out in five minutes last May. Remembering my life in the theatre, I knew tickets are released the day of a show when not utilized by the artists. I called and got two seated row G Center, and it was amazing to experience live. Over two thousand like-minded souls were cheering on and uproariously laughing.


The whole expedition was perfect from the beginning to the end where, at the airport, they had set up tables and chairs with signs offering GenCon travelers to continue the game.

We are absolutely continuing the game.

Author SuZanne Smith

Nerdz Garage

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