Once a year my brother-in-law Cave gathers together a team of his nerdiest allies and sequesters them in a house somewhere in the mountains of Vermont for a weekend of games that has been dubbed “Nerdstock,” by virtue of popular vote. Last year was the inaugural test-run, for which you may recall I baked the nerdiest cupcakes I could muster, and it was so much fun that we decided to do it again this past weekend. I didn’t have time to make all of those cupcakes this year, but I did make some brownies which I decorated with M&Ms.
Cave had everything set up and ready to go, starting with our touch football tournament, but things became muddled when Deuce, one of the participants, decided to go to work on Friday instead of skipping out like everyone else. Since there were only nine of us this year, and we were doing round robin tournaments with teams of three, we kind of had to wait for Deuce to get there. We let the two Deuce-less teams play each other, and then we had to move to other games until the evening. Although maybe it was better for us nerds to do some non-physical activity. Our people don’t typically excel at sports. One of our members even wrapped himself in bubble wrap to avoid injury on the field!
Now that we had begun our gaming (and trash talking), we were able to start adding things to our superlative nomination lists, a new feature this year, where we would get to decide things like who had the worst answer to a trivia question, who had the best one-liners, and who had some impressive victories. The fact that we were doing superlatives this year was a huge relief to Nerdstock attendee Ravis, who had misread his e-mail and was under the impression that this time around we would be including “super laxatives.” Needless to say, this is what we called the superlatives for the rest of the weekend.
When evening fell, Deuce arrived and we began playing outside again, although it was starting to get dark. We got several games in, and I even scored the winning touchdown in one of them! This clearly proves that something was wrong out there and that people couldn’t see well or something. In fact, by the time we decided to call it a draw and move back inside, the only things we could see out there were Sleve McZed’s shoes. Somehow they had absorbed all of the light in the area and acted as beacons for the rest of us, so we got back into the house safely and made dinner.
Dinner, like all of the games, was already under protest. We are each assigned a food responsibility at Nerdstock (I do desserts, hence the cupcakes and dragon brownies), and the two people assigned to the two dinners both decided that Friday night was probably their night to make the food, so when Cave, the actual person who was supposed to make dinner, went into the kitchen to begin food preparation, he found dinner already well underway. Oops. But that’s okay. The important thing to know is that I was in first place on the leaderboard, which meant I got/had to wear the bird hat.
One of the new rules of Nerdstock this year was that whoever was in first place got to give a nickname to the person in last place, and then everyone would have to call that person by that nickname, or else give up a precious coin to the guy that caught them saying the person’s real name. Obviously we wanted these names to be as disgusting and terrible as possible. Names so dirty and humiliating that most people would rather be silent than speak them. Names like “John LeClair.” Yeah, we went there.
The nicknames were going quite well for me, as I was catching a lot of people forgetting to use them, but this led to what I will call the theme for the rest of the weekend: complaining and whining. It seems that people did not enjoy giving up coins for calling people by their actual names, so a small minority up and decided that, because they were bad at it, the game was stupid and we were not playing it anymore. So even though most of us were having fun with it, it suddenly ended. And without the coin incentive, the nicknames were no longer relevant and we stopped using them.
From then on out it seemed as though every game we played had someone complaining about it. Sleve hated TriviaRisk, and shouted violently at it until we all gave up. He only wanted to play Cards Against Humanity, although Cave and Bubblewrap grew quickly tired of that game and grumbled until we moved on to something else. We ended up playing Avalon for about nine times in a row, until even I started complaining that I could not take one more game of it. And not just because my side lost every freaking time. I mean, Jeeves Soakem loses every time and he still plays. It’s not that the game isn’t fun. I think maybe we just needed more scheduling. Or more shutting up and going with it. Or more something. I mean, people were complaining about the tiniest things, such as Ike Mayberry bringing in a secret stash of his own fake coins and using them to bet with. Sure, it was underhanded and soulless, but on the other hand it was hilarious!
Well, complaining aside, we had a great time. I got the master bedroom on the first night for being in first place, and even though I was in absolute last place by the second night, I still got the master bedroom by giving all of my coins to Lando, ensuring that he would take first, get his name on the trophy, and in return securing the room for myself. Of course once this strategy was discovered then everybody else started combining coin piles in an effort to stop Lando from winning, but he still took, by just a few coins, and so the whole thing is under protest. In other words, a perfect ending to the weekend.