Let’s Play: The Annotated Guide to She’s Got Game, Part 1

A while back, my extraordinarily talented friend Kellye Garrett got the idea of annotating her debut book, sharing the notes on her website, and then giving the book away when she finished. I thought the idea was brilliant, but I decided to publish four more books and have a baby and, well, time got away from me.


Fast forward two years. The Gamer Girl series is very near and dear to my heart (click here to see how it was inspired by how I met my husband). With Against the Rules coming out in two weeks, I thought it would be fun to share annotations from She’s Got Game. My intent is to do the next two books between now and the end of the year, then give all three away to one or more readers who hopefully don’t mind that some jerk wrote all over their books.

Chapter One

Page 8 (first blog entry): “I’m excited to be participating in the annual Explorers of Islay tournament.”

As some readers have already pointed out, this game is Settlers of Catan. I changed the name largely to avoid a trademark issue, but didn’t make any particular move to hide it. Catan is a classic game, exactly the sort of thing people would play competitively, and it’s fun. Settlers to Explorers is an obvious substitution, and I chose Islay as the fictional place because my husband toured of Isla, Scotland while I was finishing my rough draft.

Page 9: “The conference center buzzed with anticipation.”

The description in the opening paragraph is based on my own experiences at Mindgames, an annual board game competition I attend each year.


Page 11: “John, the only person who won more tournaments than C. McKay….”

In She’s Got Game, almost all of the minor gamer characters are named after gamer friends of mine. By the time I got to Against the Rules, nearly every character is (including the villains). My friend John owns a board game cafe in Virginia, so he was the obvious choice for a man who runs tournaments and a board game store.


Page 11: I don’t like to name the hero and heroine in my romcoms after people I know, which is why none of the main characters share names with my gamer friends. However, Cody is named after one of the men on the Chicago season of Married at First Sight. Initially, he also looked the same, before I decided that I wanted him to look like Gilbert Blythe.


Page 12: “Don’t Keep Calm, He Just Called You Carrots.”

This is a real shirt they sell in the Anne of Green Gables tourist areas on Prince Edward Island. I wanted to buy it but thought it didn’t make sense because I’m not a redhead. As a child, I loved Anne of Green Gables, but I thought P.E.I. was a made up place, like Mordor. My Canadian sister-in-law finds this absolutely hilarious.


Page 13: For those who don’t know, the game instructions are essentially what I would say to anyone who asked me how to play Settlers.


Page 14: Shannon was originally named Summer. I changed it after my first beta reader mistakenly (and continuously) referred to her as Shannon. Decided that the name fit the character better.


Page 17: Gwen’s peanut allergy is one thing the two of us share (along with a rather unfortunate temper). Hers is more severe than mine, though.


Chapter 3

Page 29: It took a while to name Tom, given the unflattering description. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I eventually chose Tom because I know at least three or four gamers with that name, none of whom are likely to read romcom.


Page 31: I actually had a friend who, as a rule, never traded resource cards when playing Settlers. As a rule, I refused to play with him. Way too frustrating.


Page 35: Gwen is helping her dad create an online profile.

I really enjoy vicarious online dating. I used to take my roommate’s computer and scroll through profiles for her.


Part II:

NYC is one of my favorite cities. I love it. However, despite having lived only 3 hours away for the past 12 years, I’ve only been once – to buy my wedding dress.

Like Gwen, I’ve never had a cronut. Sad, but true.


Chapter 6

Page 53: Creepy Art is one of the few minor characters in this book inspired by–but NOT named after–a gamer that I know. Regardless, several of my female friends correctly identified the real person.


Page 55: The rather disturbing event Gwen describes at the top of this page unfortunately happened to me at a party a few years ago. It was one of the grossest moments of my adult life. #MeToo


Page 56: The real Michelle lives in Dallas, is one of my biggest fans, and is one of the sweetest people alive. We both love games, cruises, and Broadway.


Page 56:  Dustin is based on a guy I worked with, many years ago. He’s stuck with me so much that when I first wrote this book, I had three obnoxious characters I independently named Dustin. (One of them is Lucas.)


Chapter 8

Page 69:  Although the game is a classic, I am not a Monopoly fan. There’s too much luck involved for me and not really any strategy. I tend to have bad dice karma, so I rarely play games that rely heavily on rolling dice unless there’s something that makes it interesting (like Dice Forge or Dicey Peaks).

Part III: Charlotte

Page 75: Gwen’s blog post here is based on a true story. There is a real “big giant head” in Charlotte, and it was the best attraction I could find at first.


Chapter 9

Page 78: Gwen and Holly’s visit to the big giant head is based on a true story, including the images they posed for.


Page 78: The real Ellen is a pharmacist living in upstate New York. Play social deduction games with her at your own risk – it’s extremely difficult to tell when she’s lying.


Page 83: As much as I wanted to name all the minor characters after my friends, I ran into issues with the villains in this book. I couldn’t think of anyone I disliked enough to name this character after them, so he became Donald.


Chapter 10

Page 87: Angel and John, described here, are my only friends who actually make a personal appearance in the book. If their names sound familiar, it’s because they’re also in both the dedication and the acknowledgments.


Page 88: Clue was always one of my favorite games. As a child, I was unbeatable.

That’s it for now! Tune in next week to get a peek into the rest of She’s Got Game. The book is available through Northshire Books in Saratoga, NY and at your favorite online retailer.

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