I tend to think I have an open mind about board games and gamers and pretty much think that there is a game out there for anyone. That being said, I'm overly conscious about trying to bring new people into the right games. If I know the make up of a group, I'll try to find something that fits right for the collection of people. I've got tons of gateway games and lighter games to bring people in to ensure that they can have a good time while the "veterans" are still enjoying themselves with the chosen game.
That being said, I took my newly acquired of Space Cadets: Dice Duel with me camping. I hadn't played it yet. Anyhow, it is a team game that is frantic and involves everyone rolling a lot of dice for their station and trying to get everything accomplished in real time against the "crew" of the other ship.
So we started with 2 vs. 2 teams, each of us regular, veteran gamers. I started to explain the rules when casual gamer that we knew who had also come on the trip passed by and peeked in to see what we were doing. I invited him to join us. However, that left us with uneven teams, so we looked around for another player. Sitting at a table near us under the pavilion was an older man--longer white-grey hair and a long beard and my estimate would be that he was about 70. He wasn't a gamer, but he was nearby and invited to join us.
My first thought was that this was going to be a bad fit. The game isn't complex, but there is a lot going on all at once and it can be fast paced, which isn't something good for non-gamers to jump into.
In explaining the theme, someone asked him, "Do you like Star Trek?"
He laughed and our guts were that he was scoffing at the idea and someone said, "I guess not."
He laughed again and said, "I LOVE Star Trek."
I was still nervous that this was a bad fit and my demoing the new game would fall flat. I explained the rules, trying not to sound like I was talking down, but overly explaining them. Everything was explained and with a shout of "Begin!" we started rolling dice.
Nothing made me happier in my gaming experience in a long time than hearing that grizzled old man shout, "Fire One!" as he got a weapon lock onto our ship and let loose his missile and drew first blood.
He jammed my ship's locks on his and he got several beads onto our ship. The old man was an ace weapon's officer and his team won as our ship was destroyed.
I pride myself in finding games that fit and I think I have a pretty good track record of making things accessible. However, I found out today that I like it more when I am proven wrong and my stereotypes are broken.
I salute you, grizzled old weapon's officer whose name I never caught. Thanks for a great game and for reminding me that it isn't just the games that we play, nor simply the people that we play with, but it is also the variety of people that we play with.