Get your game on!
You know you want to play with purple, don't you?
I have always loved playing games. I learned Checkers first, and consistently beat my poor mother for years and years. (She finally did get a win against me and it was sadly the last time we played together.) My early childhood also was spent playing the standard fare with my two brothers: a bunch of Milton Bradley standards, such as Pay Day, Life, Clue and Monopoly. We were fortunate to own Survive!, which I consider a gem among most of the mediocre mass-produced titles. I also had the opportunity to play chess if I finished my work fast enough in elementary school, so I played dozens of games at school. (I would later play with a travel set on a number of camping trips later on.) Around the age of 11, I stumbled upon the Gamemaster classics, first Axis and Allies and then Fortress America. We played many games of A&A. From there, our interest shifted to wargames. My first introduction was a copy of Ambush! that my dad bought and we played a couple of scenarios. From there, we bought a ton of Avalon Hill hex-and-counter wargames on clearance from KB Toy and Hobby - $4 each! Frederick the Great and Conquistador remain a couple of my favorites. I did buy Comsic Encounter and played that quite a bit in high school, in addition to cards. My buddies and I played a ton of pinochle.
In college, I played billiards, which almost can be thought of as a dexterity game. There was a semester where I spawned a flurry of interest in chess in my dorm and found the one player that perfectly matched. I learned some nuances of the game and we ended with a tied overall score: 8 wins each with a couple of draws.
I went to the Peace Corps and tried teaching the locals how to play chess to no avail; they didn't really seem to grasp the strategy all that well. After that, my participation in the hobby went dormant for a couple of years.
My wife, Karen, attended graduate school in Boston. It was there that I learned about boardgames by playing Settlers with some of her classmates on Thursday nights. There also was an awesome game store near her apartment in Harvard Square. I made my first Eurogame purchase, Metro. Karen and I played some games of it and also introduced some friends to it. I was playing Eurogames but didn't know it.
We moved from Boston and I didn't play anything until late 2006 when a friend of mine came out and visited and brought both Ticket to Ride and Settlers. I enjoyed playing them both, but didn't think all to much about it until a few months later, when, in reading his wife's blog, it occurred to me that I should see on the Internet if there were people that wanted to play boardgames. One Friday night (which I'm sure Karen now regrets), she was out with her friends and I had nothing to do. I went tracking down the Friday Night Gamers and while I came up short that night, I went the following Friday. I went the next week, and after that, I was hooked!
I soon joined the Geek and then delighted in learning new game after new game (to me, anyway). I spent Friday nights (and Thursdays and occasionally Tuesdays as well) playing boardgames. Suddenly, I realized that I had a new group of friends and a new hobby! I try to find every excuse to get time to play boardgames, and I love logging my plays on the Geek and reading about different games. I've found that now I have played so many different games that I would rather play the great games I know how to play. Instead of the Cult of the New, I'm part of CO3T, the Cult of The Tried and True. Now I still don't mind learning new games, but there's nothing like sitting down and playing a great game that you already know how to play.
Overall, I find boardgames to be one of the best leisure activities out there, because it requires both social interaction and critical thinking, which makes it far superior to the passive entertainment of movies and television. Online multiplayer games have some interaction, but I believe that the face-to-face interaction of boardgames is still superior, as it the requirement that boardgames place the burden on the players to enforce the rules.
At any rate, I'm a hopelessly addicted gamer with now about a hundred titles in my closet and a new baby boy. I look forward to filling his childhood with games much as mine was. I hope that he will learn how to try his hardest to win and to gracefully both lose and win, and then long after he's moved out that sometimes he'll come over and get a quick game in.
My Ratings System
I recently re-rated all the games that I've played, now that I'm up to about 350. I was going to rate every single game and give it a unique rating with three decimal places, but I realized quickly that I was trying to split hairs between a bunch of What I really wanted was to sort games by groups and especially take the 250 games in the 6-8 range and separate them more. Essentially, my rating system is slightly adapted from the Geek suggestions:
10 An all-time favorite that I will always consider a classic. These are few and far between, and this will be limited to my top 10.
9.5 In consideration for the top 10 but still has not convinced me it's a classic.
9 Top-tier game. Always willing to play this.
8.5 Excellent game but missing the element that makes is a top-tier game. May very well be a game moving its way into the top-tier.
8 Very good game and worthy of suggesting to bring to the table. This is a high compliment, since table time is limited, especially in relation to the number of games out there.
7.8 Quality game. If there weren't so many great games out there, I'd suggest this.
7.5 Good game that has some noteworthy mechanics.
7.2 Special rating given to games I've played once and liked and would really like another play to finalize a rating.
7 Good game; usually willing to play this.
6.8 Pretty good game, willing to play on a semi-regular basis. A number of games at this rating are ones that I've gotten some burnout by playing too much.
6.5 Game has some interesting elements, but either I have reservations about playing this too much, there are some drawbacks to pull down its rating, or its interesting mechanics are not compelling enough to make me consider it a good game.
6.2 Element of merit is better than average, but not by much.
6 Game has enough merit to be played occassionally.
5 Unremarkable game with nothing compelling about it, positive or negative.
4 Not my kind of game, but could get talked into it on a rare occasion.
3 Would not play again, but the possibility is open to play it one more time.
2 While the game is not totally broken, will never play again.
1 Game is totally broken; will refuse to ever play again.
As for the numbers by the side of my avatar, they are binary values, which are numbers represented by just 1s and 0s, like in a computer. I'm a computer programmer, which is why I chose to do something like that. Now as for what the numbers represent, send me a GeekMail, and I'll let you know what they mean. I'll be impressed with your geekiness if you figure it out!