I can remember two very lucky moments in gaming. The first was when I rolled two natural twenties in a row in a game of Gamma World that let me bluff my way into a quonset hut. That I managed to pull off the improbable feat sent my GM into a deep funk. I think I was denied any useful treasure for several sessions.
The second bit of luck came in 1991. I found a guy, Billy Stevens, selling carrom boards in Durham, NC (the picture here is by Jonny5 on BGG). I can’t remember now how I initially made contact with him, but I attended a carrom get-together that he hosted every week at a pub not far from the Durham Bulls’ baseball field. I became deeply enamored of the game, but I was also working in a small video rental shop, and my hours fluctuated wildly, so I was only able to attend the game days sporadically.
But we’re not to the lucky part yet.
That spring a lot of buzz started to develop around a project put together by Jane’s Addiction’s frontman, Perry Farrell. A concert/festival was going to go on tour, an event he was calling Lollapalooza. The project was making a stop at the new Walnut Creek on the outskirts of Raleigh, and my friends immediately bought tickets when they went on sale. I abstained. The job, you know? And then the day before the show, Billy Stevens walks into the store and asks if I’d like to go to Lollapalooza. He had rented space for displaying and selling carrom boards, and he needed people to staff the booth. My manager overheard the conversation and insisted that I go. So, early the next morning, I drove to Billy’s house, packed up carrom boards, and headed with a few of his friends to Lollapalooza. I spent the day drinking beer we’d smuggled in (to avoid the concession prices), playing carrom, and wandering over to the stage to watch the acts.
I mention these stories not to focus so much on luck—that bane of gamers—but to set up my love of flicking games and other table-top dexterity games (we’ll skip over my deep and abiding interest in pool). Because of this interest, my wife pre-ordered a Mayday Games Crokinole board for me in order to celebrate my recent graduation (photo of a Mayday board by WhiteKnight85). I’ve been flicking the little disks around daily since it was delivered. (As an aside, Mayday seems to have some quality control issues with this first round of boards, but mine arrived unscathed and in good shape.) And I want to point out that games are not your life. It makes me a little uneasy to say that, but it’s true. But it’s true in the way that photographs are not your life, much as Kodak would love to advertise to you the exact opposite claim. Like photos, though, you can construct snapshots of your life through games, while remembering that it’s important to focus on the life and the stories.
And if you’re in town, stop by and flick some disks.