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The Real-Life Romance That Inspired Laura Heffernan's Gamer Girls Series

The author proves board games are anything but boring in her smart, sexy new series.

Laura Heffernan Gamer Girls
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  • Photo Credit: Leah Bohm / Unsplash

To understand the inspiration behind the Gamer Girls series, I have to take you way back—all the way to November 2009. I’d been living in the Boston area for a little over a year. It’s never been terribly easy for me to make friends, because I’m quite introverted in real life (don’t let my Twitter presence fool you). I worked in a small office where I was the youngest employee by about ten years, and also the only one without a spouse and/or children. Everyone was nice, but we didn’t socialize outside of work. 

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Determined to get outside my comfort zone, I joined a local social club and made plans to attend an upcoming event. When the time came, I almost didn’t go. Entering a room where I don’t know anyone sounds like about as much fun to me as a root canal. (If I can read, honestly, I’d rather have the root canal). But I also was well aware that if I didn’t come up with some kind of social life, I’d soon be moving back home, which I didn’t want at all. 

The first hour of the gathering was every bit as awkward as I feared. Everyone already knew each other (of course). I’m not someone who can walk up to a group of strangers and introduce myself. So I started to wander. Eventually, I stumbled across a room that changed my life.

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There were fewer people in this room, but still a couple dozen. Tables filled the space, most of them occupied with two to four people, and some with bystanders. Up against the back wall, there were stacks of GAMES. Not games like Monopoly or Clue, but a huge variety of stuff I’d never heard of. Much of it I’d never dreamed existed. I wandered around, looking but still not talking to anyone, when a guy about my age approached. “Hi. Do you want to play a game?”

Such a simple question, right? It turned out, I did want to play a game. And another. And another. I soon discovered that gaming was the perfect way for me to meet people because we could be social and interact and laugh and talk without awkward small talk. The game gave us natural topics of conversation.

A few months later, I was invited to another, smaller event. That event is where I met my husband. We became friends, playing games whenever we saw each other. When we started dating, everything clicked. At the time, the two of us lived about three hours apart. We would meet on the weekends at these conferences, playing games as our bond deepened. I knew very early on that he was the one for me. Eight years later, I can’t imagine my life without him.

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Our story isn’t an anomaly, not in my social circle. That guy who first invited me into a game? Met his partner gaming. My best friend met her husband playing games. The list goes on. Every year, my friends and I go to several of these events. 

So when my editor asked me what I wanted to write about, the answer seemed obvious. Love and board games go together to me like chocolate and….more chocolate. I enjoy writing about heroines who engage in interesting activities, so putting Gwen at a board game competition seemed the obvious choice. Gaming is in my blood, and it became the lifeblood of these characters. I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my love of board games with the world.

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Featured photo via Photoshop and Lea Bohm / Unsplash