This was the week of Todd. For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know exactly what I am talking about. For everyone else: this weeks challenge was to “Play a game with Todd”, and it’s been an epic challenge.
Back in late December when I decided to take on this project I flipped through the calendar to see what kind of challenges I would be in store for, and to start planning for those that would be harder. This was the challenge that gave me pause, because my gaming group doesn’t have any “Todd’s”. So as soon as I undertook this challenge, I began asking around.
I started out small, simply asking my gaming friends if they knew anyone named “Todd”. Mostly I got told no, and occasionally I got answers like “Well, yeah, my boss. But he isn’t nearly cool enough to come out and game”. After a couple weeks like this I began digging through friends of friends on Facebook. Someone had to know a Todd. I found a couple and sent out messages, explaining to them why I was contacting them.
Nothing, no reply. I’m guessing they thought I was an axe murdering lunatic. After all, how many people have ever contacted you because of your name and asked you to game? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
At this point, time was starting to run thin. I started putting calls out on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. I figured that while this had a higher probability of danger (aka lunatics showing up on my doorstep), it was at least safer than putting out a Craigslist ad, after all, I was likely to get one of my fans then, right? As Monday, February 6th, approached I got desperate. I posted to both Twitter and Facebook multiple times a day, in hopes that someone would see it and respond.
As our game night rolled around, I admitted defeat. After over a month of searching, no Todd had come forward. Maybe I should have put out a Craigslist ad. My group and I discussed possibilities that were close and loosely fit the theme.
“We could put in ‘Sweeny Todd’ and make a game out of watching it. That’s kinda like gaming with Todd.”
“You could treat ‘Todd’ as an acronym and play with people who’s first letter of their name spell it out.”
“You could get me a name badge and we’ll label me as Todd!”
“You know a baby fox is called a Todd, right?”
We clung to the last one. Shawna, the head of our acquisition team, had a stuffed desert fox from the St. Louis zoo and brought him down to the gaming table.
“There ya go! Now you can play with a Todd!”
So being a desperate woman, we did. Todd and Raymond (one of our other gamers) teamed up and together they played as one, complete with whispers and discussions of game play. Think of a little girl having a tea party with her dolls, that’s kinda what this looked like. Except we were gaming rather than having tea. It all worked well until Todd wanted to play his own book in Telestrations, in addition to Raymond playing a book. Then it just got confusing. We all had a good laugh about it though.
We were just wrapping up our game night when Shawna popped on to Facebook and saw what had to be a miracle. I had been contacted by a Todd. Todd Russell to be specific. The clouds parted as I read his email. One of our fans had forwarded him the link. He had no idea why I wanted to game with him, but was willing to listen. God bless the internet!
But then the email came…
After receiving more details, he had to say no. No one had mentioned to him previously that I am in central Indiana, and he was sadly in North Carolina. Surely there was a gamer Todd in the Hoosier state, right? More posts were made to Facebook and Twitter, but no one else came forward.
This got me to wandering what the problem was. Were there just no ‘Todd’s’ out there? Well, according to the US Census Bureau the name Todd occurs 0.213% of the time. Meaning that approximately 1 in 469 have that name, it’s the 88th most popular male name, and that popularity is on the decline.
So, in the end, I largely failed. Although we had fun playing with Todd the desert fox. We knew this was going to be a rough week for us, and we did our best, but sometimes you are just licked. Next week our challenge is much easier for us, as we must “Play a game not published in your native language.” Time to break out some of our translated imports!
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