This work examines ways that social relations and influence are established and enforced in several local settings within the broader region of Greater Central Asia.1 Our title suggests the new centrality this region enjoys in the affairs of the contemporary world, an importance that Beissinger (2002: 1)2 describes as “one of the pivotal transformations of the twentieth century.”3 The term “Great Game”—first coined by Lieutenant (later Captain) Arthur Connoly of the Sixth Bengal Native Light Cavalry and immortalized in Kipling’s masterpiece Kiminvokes the nineteenth-century struggles for hegemony in Central Asia between (mainly) the Russians, who were pressing eastward into the region, and the British in India, who were trying to secure their northwestern frontier, which they deemed vulnerable to invasion from Central Asia. Their “game” conjoined the grand schemes of empire with the personal intrigues of local actors who sought to divert them for their own parochial ends, sometimes producing outcomes no one could foresee.