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Subject: Boardgames IN THE NEWS! rss

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Pierce (敏敦) Ostrander
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Savannah
Georgia
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The following article was published on Sunday, October 2, 2005 in the Annapolis Capital Newspaper in the sports section accompanied by 3 photos!

Foob

Club tackles board games from around the world
By WENDI WINTERS, For The Capital

It was a cheery group of 22 adults and kids that gathered at the Bay Ridge Christian Church on Bay Ridge Road on a recent Saturday night.

They weren't there to pray, but to play.

Specifically, they were there to play board games, and not your rainy-day-at-the-beach-house variety like Monopoly or Trouble, either. No, these games are more complex, more engaging, more grown-up.

Nearly oblivious to their surroundings, they dove into heaps of tantalizing games that Pierce Ostrander and his wife, Ruth, lugged into the room.

It was the first meeting of the Annapolis chapter of the Games Club of Maryland, and, by any standard, it was a success.

The Maryland gamers have clubs all over the state, including in Silver Spring and Rockville, both of which are hosted by Steve Quade, who showed up in Annapolis to offer his gaming guidance.

"We have a network of nearly two dozen locations where players across the state can meet. We even have one in 'cyberspace.' Personally, I prefer to play face-to-face," said Mr. Ostrander.

Club events are open to the public. Membership is free. A prospective member only has to attend any three meetings within a single year to sign up. The club's Web site, www.gamesclubofmd.org, provides club locations and answers frequently asked questions.

The next three meetings for the Annapolis club are set for Nov. 12, Dec. 17 and Jan. 21.

Mr. Ostrander, a tall 44-year-old project manager for Pacific Northwest, has been a game player all his life. Not chess, checkers or Battle Ship - he plays what he calls "designer games."

He spent his teens playing battle games published by a now-defunct Baltimore firm called Avalon Hill War Games. A few years ago, he stumbled across European games online - and discovered a culture he wasn't aware existed.

Germans, he's learned, are fanatical board game players. German families own an average of 30 games. The biggest game fair in the world used to take place at the Milwaukee Gen Con. It's primacy has been superseded by a convention in Essen, Germany.

The German Spiel des Jahres, or Game of the Year, is the most prestigious award a game can receive. It's like hitting the jackpot for the lucky designer, who can anticipate sales of 500,000 copies or more.

Almost all the games at the club's meeting were "designer" efforts from Europe, Mr. Ostrander said.

At this inaugural club meeting there were games that, in gaming parlance, involved trading, bidding, pattern recognition, building, area control and strategy.

Hundreds of games are released every year, Mr. Ostrander said. A typical "Eurogame" can sell about 3,000 copies in the United States, and maybe 30,000 in Europe before going out of print. Once that happens, games enter the collectors' market, where prices can jump exponentially on eBay.

Despite the runaway success of electronic games, board game sales have exploded over the last decade, zooming from $700 million in 1995 to more than $4 billion in 2004, according to the Game Manufacturers Association.

At one table, Josh Payne of Cokeysville, Crownsville resident Chad Wilson and Doug Mules of Arnold were absorbed in a game of "Puerto Rico," a German import in which up to five players can compete.

"I brought Chad and Doug," said Mr. Payne. "I've been involved with GCOM for about a year."

"I'm a novice," confessed Mr. Wilson, who appeared to be winning.

Mr. Quade, 36, a computer programmer for the Computer Science Corp., held court at another table. He meticulously set up a series of octagonal tiles in a serpentine pattern, forming the unusual game board for "That's Life!"

"It's a brand new game," he enthused.

Hillsmere resident Bob Emmet liked it right away.

"It's very dynamic. Your emotions get stirred, but it's simple enough," he said.

Game designer Kevin McPartland drove in from Jessup to show off his latest creation, called "Conquest of Paradise." He needs 500 presales before a game board manufacturer will agree to print and ship the game. So far, 361 people have visited his Web site (www.gmtgames.com) to preview it and plunk down $40 on their credit card.

Jim Lineham, a member of the church, had dropped by early in the evening to check the building's audio-visual systems. Mr. Ostrander talked him into returning for the games and he brought along neighbor Danny Leydorf, a senior at Annapolis Area Christian School. They played "Shadows Over Camelot."

"Each character is on a quest, like fighting a dragon," Mr. Lineham said matter-of-factly.

Mrs. Ostrander, whose works are exhibited at the West River Gallery in Galesville, jokingly calls herself a "Game Widow."

Still, she said, "I enjoy games and we use it as a social outlet with friends."

She was busy playing "Drachen-Land," a game that involved hiding various colored "jewels" behind cardboard castle walls.

The game meisters noted that many of the games they play aren't available in the mass-market, big-box stores. They find them in specialty stores, comic book shops and tucked into the corners of Barnes & Noble or Borders. Mostly, they buy online at sites like www.fairplaygames. com, www.thoughthammer.com, www. funagain.com, www.gamesurplus.com and www.gamefest.com.

Suddenly, there was a yelp from the "Shadows Over Camelot" table. A dragon had just eaten a player. Well, that's life.

Wendi Winters is a freelance writer on the Broadneck Peninsula.

Next Annapolis story

 
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Ron Hetrick
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Jacksonville
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Ugh...I don't know what to say. I am seething with emotions. jealousy, anger, intense bitterness. I lived in Crofton until late last year desperately wanting a game club in the area. I move to Florida and then one gets started in Annapolis?!? I think I'm going to be sick.

Anyways, congrats on getting it going. I'm sure it rocked. cry
 
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Doujin games are awesome! I can't read Japanese!
England
York
North Yorkshire
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Ron, if you wanted a games club in Crofton, you should have started one. Do you have a games club where you are now? If not, start one.

http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2005/10_02-37/...
Haven't found the photos yet.
 
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Necessary Evil
United States
Glen Arm
Maryland
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Yes, I play the Bass.
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Sweet Holy Moses, Fruit F*cker Prime!
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Come on Ron, you had a game club at work!

-M
 
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Robert Jones
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Germantown
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That's a good article. Better than most I've seen in newspapers. Well done!

Bob
GCOM Germantown
 
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Ron Hetrick
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malloc wrote:
Come on Ron, you had a game club at work!

-M
Quiting games 2/3rds through because our lunch hour was well over does not constitute a game club. Even so, I'd do anything to have that back now.

And for Eye of Night, yes, there are some people here in Jax who get together but I have been cursed beyond cursed about hitting that group. If I ever finally do show up, I will will probably be asked to leave on account of my incompetitence so far.
 
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Paul Sauberer
United States
Austin
Texas
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Ron,

I'm pretty sure that there is an active gaming community in the Jacksonville area. Some googling, checking the BGG Forums and Gamer Database should get you connected.

If you get really desperate, our Palm Beach Gamers group is only about 4 hours away from you.

I grew up in Annapolis and it's good to see gaming there. I was also an AH junkie during my teenage years and used to hang out at The Ship Shop, which carried wargames before it became a miniatures only place on Maryland Avenue. I also drove up to Baltimore several times each year to buy games directly from AH.

Still, I can't complain about my current gaming activity.
 
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Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
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Just so all you gamers know, I have been writing for the national press in Malaysia, The New Straits Times, a weekly games column, "Wanna Play?" since November 2004. They see it as part of a new lifestyle activity in the country and appropriately publish it every Wednesday in their Life & Times section.

You can check out this week's article at:
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/Advanced/20...

or just log on to:
http://www.nst.com.my

every Wednesday (Malaysian time of course!) to check out the online version, which has all the text, but for some strange reason, no images!!! The print version is usually 1-2 pages full color.

To find the article, click on:
- New Straits Times (as they group has several newspapers).
- Life & Times section.
- Features section.

If you can't find it, just type-in "games" in the search engine and the latest article should come out.

Enjoy


Edwin
 
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Kevin McPartland
United States
Jessup
Maryland
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St. Patrick for Banish the Snakes by GMT Games.
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Quote:
So far, 361 people have visited his Web site (www.gmtgames.com) to preview it and plunk down $40 on their credit card.
Yes, very good publicity, but the reporter managed to make four errors in this one sentence. Well, OK, the first error is not her fault: Conquest of Paradise is now up to 378 orders since the meeting! Second error: GMT's web site is not MY web site. Third error: the game is only $32 for pre-orders. Fourth error: credit cards are not charged until the game is ready to publish; so the charge is not "on" anybody's credit card yet.
 
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True Blue Jon
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Vancouver
Washington
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macedwin wrote:
That's very cool but where did you get the World’s Top 10 Games (at October, 2005) list from?
 
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