Sunday, March 11, 2012

Confessions of a Board Game Whore: Conducting Business With Your Non-Gaming Friends


"Often she would go picnicking with 10 young men or more, in the flower of their strength and virility, and dallied with them all, the whole night through. When they wearied of the sport, she would approach their servants, perhaps 30 in number, and fight a duel with each of these; and even thus found no allayment of her craving."
"Once, visiting the house of an illustrious gentleman, they say she mounted the projecting corner of her dining couch, pulled up the front of her dress, without a blush, and thus carelessly showed her wantonness."
When hungover and horny freshman pile into a World Civilizations history course, they often hear something about Justinian the Great and his wife Empress Theodora.  Professors duly note that Theodora co-ruled with her spouse, made forced prostitution punishable by law, and rape punishable by death.  Sometimes, they even mention the Empress' humble beginnings.  She was a Sidewalk Sally.  And often times, that's where embarrassed professors leaves Old Theodora: The Pretty Woman Story of the Ancient World.  The freshman are bored and without the full story why shouldn't they be?  The truth is that prior to ruling Eastern Roman Empire, Empress Theodora ruled the streets as the as the Hottest Whore in all of Constantinople.  Just pause a moment, and consider the two quotes above.  This lady banged ten men into submission one afternoon only to ride thirty more later that evening.  Can you imagine her as a house guest?  I'm fairly liberal but I'd ban anyone who flung off their panties and humped my couch.  Theodora control yourself!  Despite, my judgmental tone, I believe we (both men and women) can learn a lesson from old Theodora.  What lesson is that you ask?  Sometimes in life, you're gonna have to make a few compromises and put out.  
Hold on.  Hold on.  Hold on.  Don't get me wrong here.  For the record, I would like to clearly state I am  in no way advocating sexual prostitution.  What I AM suggesting that life is based upon reciprocity.  Let me explain.  Recently, I've become rather addicted to Board Games.  Now, the issue with my new fascination is that, in general, my friends in South Bend don't play Board Games.  At first, I felt rather sad and forlorn.  What's a gal to do?  Then I remembered Theodora.  If Theodora had wanted to play a Board Game, she'd have walked into a friend's living room, pulled out a few Meeples from in between her heaving bosoms, done unspeakable things with them, and then watched everyone beg to participate.  Now while I'm unwilling to molest myself with Mooples (though its a fascinating idea for spicing up a romantic evening), I am willing to peddle less sexual services a gaming fix now and again.  Does that make me a Game Board Whore?  Possibly, but I've made my peace with that.  Here is the deal.  With any business venture based upon the exchange of goods and services you must have rules for conducting transactions.  Below are my Five Handy Rules for bringing in customers and keeping them coming back for more.
Attracting a Clientele 

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives superficial appearances of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.  But the tumult soon subsides.  Time makes more converts than reason." Thomas Paine, Common Sense


"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight, you, and then you win." Mahatma Gandhi
1.) Stop Clouding the Issue: First and most importantly, any Board Game Whore worth her salt knows: the desirability of gaming is never up for debate. A Hooker doesn't waste her time assuring a client he'll enjoy handing over his cash.  No.  He'd probably rather keep his $500 (What?  You thought I come cheap?  Well, you thought wrong), but that's not the point.  My Sidewalk Sallys, playing time is your payment not a point of discussion.  The key to this step, my dear Whores, is to abandon all pretense of bashfulness.  Be like Theodora.  Walk in and mount the couch!

2.) Start Small: Listen Theodora didn't snag Emperor Justinian her first time in the saddle. No Sirree. Trust me here.  Do NOT start your Non-Gaming with anything too complicated like A Few Acres of Snow.  They aren't ready to partake of strong meats yet.  They will spat it out and none of my other rules will save you.  Find a fun, easy to teach, and quick game.  I suggest starting with Guillotine and moving on to Ascension Storm of Souls.  A Good Whore remembers to be gentle the first time.

Rorschach Their Asses


"Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct." Thomas Carlyl

3.) All Payments Must Be Made Upfront: Here is the Ugly Truth: Your Customer probably doesn't want to play with you.  He or she is interested in the services you provide not the game.  This means that you NEVER complete a job until you've been paid. Hookers get their cash up front and Board Game Whores are paid ahead of time.  Furthermore, Services will only be rendered during the day of game play.  After a 24 hour period, all transactions are null and void.  In real terms how does this work?  It all comes down to preparedness. Personally, I carry the game Guillotine around in my purse.  Remember that carrying Games with you will make you more alert to possible business deals.  You need an example?  Sure you do!  A Customer requests I help clean her house.  "Oh, I'd be more than happy to help" I respond, as I reach into my purse, pull out Guillotine, and slide it across the table.  "That will cost you two games."  (Note: I also keep Ascension: Storm of Souls in my trunk just in case)

Now where does Rorschach come in you ask?  Well, Customers like to make excuses.  "I'm just so busy today."  "I must finish this grant application."  "If I don't get to the hospital soon I'll pass out."  Too damn bad!  If a Customer refuses to pay, then the next time he looks up at you and shouts "Save me" you look down at him and whisper "no".  Reopening a line of credit means clearing up all debts prior to restarting business.

The Spike to His Vicious 



"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." Sun Tzu, The Art of War

4.) Spike to His Vicious: Especially during the first transaction, a Customer will attempt to stop payment by belittling your Game. In this moment, you've got to become the Spike to your Customer's Vicious.  Spike isn't worried about what Vicious thinks.  He's a fucking Space Cowboy. Play the Folk Street Blues and move with blind confidence.  This means: Be unflappable.  State the obvious.  Then force the issue.

Customer: So you said something about a game.

Me: Yep!  I want you to play Guillotine with me.  I just bought it.

<Insert Long Pause Followed by an Eye Roll>

Me: And yeah, you're just gonna have to dive into a deeper levels of Geekiness than you are comfortable with.  I want to play.

Customer: Obviously, but did my look say that much?  This isn't cool.  Why are you making me do this at Quincy's?

Me: Yes, your look said it all but I'm afraid I wear my Nerdiness on my sleeve like a Badge of Honor.  And you're middle aged.  Do you really believe anyone at Quincy's thinks you're still cool?  Time to grow up Peter Pan, Count Chocula.

Customer: <looking sheepish>: Nice of you to remind me.

Me: You're welcome!
Companion Lessons from Saffron

Mal: Whoa, hey. Flesh. Um... Saffron... i-it-it ain't a question of pleasing me. It's more a question of what's... um... of what's morally right. 

Saffron: I do know my Bible sir. "On the night of their betrothal, the wife shall open to the man as the furrow to the plow and he shall work in her, in and again, 'til she bring him to his fall and rest him then upon the sweat of her breast." 

Mal: Whoa, good Bible.


5.) Pleasuring Your Customer: Listen once you've succeeded in finding a Customer, you must make this a nice experience.  Do you think Theodora routinely looked at her gentlemen and said: "I'd prefer to be fucking the couch over you right now"?  No, she did not.  Life Saffron from Joss Whedon's Firefly, you've got to convince your company that playing with them is a pleasure you're dying to indulge in. ("I swell to think of you in me.")  In real terms, this means be a good sport.  Most things in life come down to not being an Asshole.  Keep that in mind before you throw a fit over whether Customer is correctly counting up his Runes.

Finally, my Board Gaming Whores, remember its always more fun to play with a willing participant but sometimes in life we have to make a few compromises.  The keys to enjoying your transactions are keeping the proper attitude, sticking to the rules, and riding that couch like Theodora! (With the proper creativity there is no telling how many uses one might find for Meeples...and Honey)

*For any fans of Small Worlds fans, this June, Days of Wonder is releasing a new expansion for the game, Small Worlds Realms which is supposed to be "chock full of expansion content that quite literally breaks the mold for future matches of the board game. Players are no longer confined to the standard maps as included in Small World and Small World Underground, but can now use a stock of 48 double-sided terrain tiles to create their very own world."

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