In Memory of Jack Vasel
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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As is evidenced by the response to this thread and this geeklist the life of Jack Vasel has touched hundreds of hearts here on BGG. And, although that geeklist gives us an opportunity to offer assistance with our wallets, I just felt like there was more I could do to recognize the life of Baby Jack. As I'm sure is the case for most of the rest of you, I will be unable to pay my respects in person at the funeral Saturday.

So, I had a thought to make a memorial BGG-style. My goal is to create a way of honoring this life that we all cared about so much for the past 2 months. Here's my idea:

On Saturday, January 29th, around 2pm EST (when Jack Vasel's funeral will be) I encourage you to play a game with your kid(s). Every moment with them is precious, so grab hold of this particular moment and share your hobby with them. If you are like me and have no children (or for some reason your kids can't play) just play the closest thing you have to a kids game with someone else. If 2pm EST translates to a really strange hour for you, then feel free to adjust to some other time. The point isn't the actual timing of the game, it is the thought behind it.

EDIT: Note that it's never too late to play a game in memory of Jack. If you missed this list on Saturday, or haven't had an opportunity to game yet, feel free to add an entry later. Again, it's all about the thought, not the timeline.

On this geeklist simply post the game that you will try to play, and who you will play it with. Perhaps even throw in a kind word for the Vasel family when you post your entry. And, if you're so inclined, maybe you could have a little prayer or moment of silence prior to your game session.
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1. Board Game: Hula Hippos [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3005]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Not having any kids of my own, children's games are sometimes few and far between in my household. But I have some that are close, and this is one of my favorites. I'm having a game night with my wife and parents so we will play this in memory of Jack.

To Tom and Laura,
Thank you so much for letting us share in the life of Baby Jack. He truly touched hundreds of hearts even with just a couple months on this Earth. Since November he has never left the prayer list in my Bible Study group, and we still continue to lift up your family. I thank God for the comfort he has given you, knowing that Jack is no longer in pain and that you will be reunited with him one day. I hope that this geeklist will serve as a way of honoring the little life that has affected so many of us.

God Bless,
Ben
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2. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:577]
Joshua Gardner
United States
West Henrietta
New York
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Well, Saturday is my son's 3rd birthday. Though he's still a bit young, we've picked up Animal Upon Animal for him. He loves playing with interesting pieces in games, like Monza, Heroscape, and Go Away Monster!. I bet this one will be right up his alley.

You know, it wasn't until I became a parent that I realized how much birthdays are for the parents as much as they are for children. It's a celebration to remember the day your life changed forever.

The Vasels will definitely be in my thoughts on Saturday.



Tom and Laura,

Thank you so much for sharing the life of your little boy with us. You did not need to do this. It was a joy. I pray that God grant you and your family strength and understanding during this tough time.

With love,

Josh, Maggie, Luke, and William

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3. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:620]
Jupiter Jones
United States
Orem
Utah
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I just got into this hobby in January of last year. As I started, I quickly found some youtube videos to help me understand new games. Scott Nicholson was the first, but it wasn't too long before I found Tom's Dice Tower reviews. I was addicted! I watched dozens of them that first month and discovered so many new games.

One that impressed me, that I thought my kids would love (6 and 9) was Castle Panic. It took a few months, but we finally got it, and just like he said, my family loved it!

It's been an incredible journey since then. Instead of coming home from work to my kids vegging in front of the TV, they now say "Dad, let's play a game!" That is music to my ears. And I owe some of this to Tom for helping me to know about all the games out there, his passion for gaming, and the inclusion of his daughters in his reviews to emphasize the family appeal of gaming.

To Tom and Laura, thank you for both your christian ministry AND your game ministry. It is much more than just games to so many of us. It is an activity that helps to unite us as families, friends, even communities. Your work blesses our lives, and for that I thank you.

This Saturday afternoon, I will play a game of Castle Panic with my 2 kids in honor of little Jack...and all of the Vasels.

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4. Board Game: Caterpillar Crawl [Average Rating:4.75 Unranked]
Michael Wheal
United States
Kosse
Texas
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My son is 10 months old today (26th).

He's too young to play anything 'decent' yet.

But, as we practice crawling around on the floor - we'll be thinking of Tom, Laura and the Vasel family.


Tom, you have given us many happy moments and it has been heart wrenching to follow Jacks story over the last few months, moments of joy followed by moments of despair for you all.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at the time and in the future.

Mike, Rani and Wesley.

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5. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:63]
Nate Downs
United States
Granville
Ohio
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My step son is 9 years old and Ticket To Ride is his favorite game. He received Europe for Christmas. We have played it once and liked it a lot. We haven't got back to it because when we do sit down we have played other things. He has asked to play on nights when work seems to have gotten the best of me and...

... well, I am out of town for the rest of the week. I'm not too much in the mood to leave because I have had some self-reflection regarding my love for my own family. All of this is even more in my mind because my wife is to have a baby in less than a month.

As you can tell from this writing I am basically all over the place, and the last thing I want to do is get on a plane in the next 3 hours.

So... I hope to play Ticket To Ride: Europe with my step-son and my pregnant wife on Saturday, when I return from Ottawa.

Thankfully, it will be my last trip for a couple months...


Tom, thanks for your openness about the situation your family has gone through. I said before that we do not share beliefs, but I would like to act similarly to you if I am ever in your situation. Thank you for the inspiration and the honestly. We don't really pray around here, but I know my wife has spent some time with tears in her eyes, and I have spent time with thoughts of you in my heart. I hope you understand that is the best we do...

... that, and play games...
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:84]
Jim Kiifner
United States
Etna
Ohio
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We already had a board game night scheduled for this Saturday with some friends.

My son is 9. He loves games. My wife and I told him the story of Jack last night and he cried just as I did. The timing of this makes it mean that much more to us. We have another little guy on the way (should be here within the next few weeks). I'm not sure what game we will play; but I have chosen to put my son's favorite here as a placeholder.

Tom and family,

We continue to pray that you will experience an extra measure of God's peace and comfort over the next few weeks and months. God continues to use your faith as a testimony and encouragement to us all.

Jim, Andrea and AJ Kiifner (and "peanut")
Isaiah 40:31
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7. Board Game: Dungeon Twister [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:542]
Eric Franklin
United States
Milton
Washington
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I first met Tom at Origins about five years ago. It was my first Origins, and I had no idea who he was at the time (and what a big deal it was that he liked the game so much). I remember him as being an extremely nice (and very excited) man.

I won't presume to call him a friend - I barely know him - but I have interacted with him outside of Origins a few times online, and he is unfailing polite and is extremely passionate about gaming.

After that first convention, I learned how much he had enjoyed Dungeon Twister. Enough that it's hung out in his Top 100 for a good long while.

This weekend, I will try to play Dungeon Twister with my wife.
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8. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Ronster Zero
United States
California
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This is my youngest daughter. She is my main gaming buddy. Willing to try any game with me, she really enjoys the act of playing.

I will, maybe without her tutu, get in a gaming in Jacks honor.
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9. Board Game: Long Shot [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:874]
Davido
United States
California
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My daughter is 8, and is High Priestess of the Cult of the New. Longshot is a recent Tanga pickup that we've been playing for the last month or so and will play again this weekend. It supposedly plays 3-8, but we play 2p anyways-it's all about the games, right?

I just realized that Longshot is a somewhat ironic metaphor for little Jacks's all to brief life here on earth. At the same time, the title celebrates the risk in hores racing. Much like we celebrate the risks we sometimes take-to marry, have a family, to bring a new life into this world. When we start a game, we do not know how it may end, but we play anyways. So to it is with our lives-we know not the end, but let's cherish the journey.

My Spanish is limited, but now I understand the meaning of "Vaya con Dios"-Go with G-d. May you cherish Jack's memory always.
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10. Board Game: Sorry! Sliders [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1066]
Clive Lovett
Canada
Kamloops
British Columbia
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I will play this with my 6 year old daughter Sophie. We could play several other games and we probably will but this game always brings laughter and hearing her say Sooorrrrrrry as she knocks one of my pieces always brings a smile to my face.

Out thoughts will be with Tom and his family!
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11. Board Game: Go Away Monster! [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2014]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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This is my daughter's first game, and we will be playing it on Saturday afternoon.

The Vasel family will be in my thoughts.
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12. Board Game: Click Clack [Average Rating:5.54 Overall Rank:8793]
Nick Witchey
United States
Laguna Hills
California
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My 3 year old daughter's favorite game will be played.
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13. Board Game: Snakes and Ladders [Average Rating:2.77 Overall Rank:11182]
SQ
United States
Show Low
Arizona
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This is one of my least favorite games, but my kids love it. I've been watching Tom's videos for a little while now and while I learn about the coolest new games, I'm also taking notes on how to be a great father. Through this I've found what it means to play games that my not be high on my list, but are enjoyed by those I play with and that is more important.

Holding my nose, I will play this game with my kids this weekend and cherish every moment of it.
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14. Board Game: Animal Party [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:7731]
ethidium bromide
Germany
Potsdam
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My daughter is 17 months old. We have never played any game before but I´ll try to play Kuh&Co with her on Saturday. She loves spotting and naming animals.

In memory of Jack R. Vasel
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15. Board Game: Viva Topo! [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1296]
Lance
United States
Moorhead
Minnesota
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Rilyn and I will once again throw down with a session of Viva Topo!, our favorite game, in memory of little Jack.

My heart goes out to Tom and his family - I wish them peace at this most troublesome time.
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16. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:637]
Driptorch
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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I would be honoured to play Gulo Gulo with my children this Saturday.

Update:
The boys & I played 2 games, back-to-back.


To the Vasel family:
Our sincerest condolences.
You are in our thoughts & hearts.
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17. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.17 Overall Rank:11179]
Fred Schmidt
United States
Suisun City
California
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Isn't it something how someone we've known for just a little while can have such an impact on our lives, and even touch the hearts of people they've never met?

I'm going to ask my boys if they'll do me the honor of playing a game with me this Saturday. I'm sure they'll request Candyland... they love it for some reason! Then I'll introduce them to one of Tom's favorite games, Heroscape!
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18. Board Game: Dancing Eggs [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1281]
Wizbet
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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On Saturday, my daughter will be celebrating her 5th birthday. As part of the preparation for this party, we went out and bought Dancing Eggs, specifically because of the hilarious demonstration Tom and Melody Vasel gave of this game. It contrasted so much from other dry, formal reviews of Dancing Eggs.

My family feels we've gotten to know the Vasels through the countless videos and reviews that we've watched since we decided to ramp up our family's game collection a few months ago. We feel deeply for your loss.

We intend to have parents as well as children join in on this game. I know some parents will be great sports. Every chuckle we get out of this game will be a tribute. Thanks so much Vasel family!

Elizabeth
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19. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:430]
Paul Turfrey
England
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My eldest (4) loves this. It'll wind him up before bedtime

In memoriam
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20. Board Game: Dice 10,000 [Average Rating:6.17 Unranked]
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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My little guy is only 2 years old, so he's not quite at that age where he can sit and game with me. But, he has shown a propensity to roll dice and I can think of no better way to honor Jack than to have a dice tower fest with Derek.
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21. Board Game: Take the Cake [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:8824]
Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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My daughter is four years old and she is just cutting her teeth on games. I really want to build her confidence and enjoyment of playing board games with Dad. On Saturday, it will be Take the Cake, but in 5 years it will be something much more. I look forward to that day...

Jack's passing is a reminder that life is precious and one can not take it for granted. My thoughts and prayers are for the Vasel family.


Here's to Jack.

CM Randall
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22. Board Game: Kayanak [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2905]
Julie Taylor
Canada
Waterloo
ON
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My family won't all be together on Sat. at 2, so we will each take a moment to think of dear Jack then. In lieu of that we sat tonight and had a game of Kayanak. Our hearts go out to the Vasel family, who we've never met, yet feel we know because of the wonderful reviews (which has led to an extensive family game collection.) We wish them peace and healing.
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23. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:126]
Keith

Apex
North Carolina
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In my office I have a game of ASL set up. My 2 year old son rarely shows interest beyond asking "What's that daddy?"

As I was reading through this list early tonight my son said, "I wanna do it."

So we rolled some dice together. It was the first time we've done a "gaming thing" together.

Now...that's not all that special in and of itself, but without your Dice Tower reviews I highly doubt I would have been re-invigorated for boardgaming in the way that I am today.

Your courage in sharing your family's triumph and sadness with us demonstrates that gaming is about people and connections more than dice, blocks, maps, boards, and rules. It's not the contents of the box, but the contents of hearts and minds that make boardgaming special. I hope you find peace and comfort in knowing that so many people share a connection to you because of your generous spirit and shared enjoyment in this hobby.
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24. Board Game: Soccer Tactics World [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:3551]
Brian King
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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My oldest son has a soccer event out of town this weekend that he and I are attending. I'm thinking about taking this to keep with the soccer theme for the weekend. Probably won't get to it Saturday afternoon, but will try to get in a game that evening.

Like many others here, my family was touched by Jack's story and we were so sad to hear of his death. We know he is in a far better place and is strong and thriving there. Our prayers are with the Vasel's who have to deal with his loss on a daily basis.
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25. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:193] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
RacNRoll Gaming
United States
Poughkeepsie
New York
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I was planning on doing this before ever seeing this as my own personal memorial for Jack...I am happy to see that I was not alone in my thinking.

The kids and I will be playing Heroscape on Saturday in tribute to Jack.

Heroscape is the game that got me back into gaming after a very long hiatus..and if my son hadn't asked for it for his birthday I probably never would have gotten back. Once I was back it was people like Tom that opened my eyes (and wallet)to so many more games to enjoy with my kids.

This will be my youngest first ever game of Heroscape..which in itself is only fitting.
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