Saturday, December 31, 2005

30 Questions

Blame Mark Haberman who posted this idea on his blog, Habergamer. (Mark, btw, needs to do some more blogging.) :-) Anyhoo... here's a New Year's "getting to know you" post for for 2006.

1. How long have you been gaming?

I've played board & card games as long as I can remember. Over the years, I've had forays into nearly every area of gaming:
  • classic American (the 1970's): Monopoly, Prize Property, King Oil, etc.
  • wargames (late 70's/early 80's): Wooden Ships & Iron Men, Squad Leader Third Reich, etc.
  • role-playing (early 80's): Dungeons & Dragons, Runequest, Traveller
  • Games Workshop board games (mid-late 80's): Talisman, Fury of Dracula, Dungeonquest, etc.
It was finally in the late 80's that I discovered via Games Magazine that there was another world of gaming out there: Euros. (Well, at that point, "German" games.) I bought every Ravensburger game I could find that didn't look like it was for 5 year olds.

Then, in the mid-90's, two incidents changed my gaming hobby into an obsession:
  1. buying a copy of Phantoms of the Ice from White Wind Games... bringing me into contact with Alan Moon & the rest of the White Wind line. That contact led to an invitation to the Gathering of Friends...
  2. finding Linie 1 and Modern Art in a game store in Cinncinati, OH... I spent over $100 on the two of them (highway robbery!) but I was hooked...
Within the next few years came Settlers... then an online connection with Rob Wood - which led to a friendship with Ted "Roving Reporter" Cheatham - which led to an invitation to the second Gulf Games and becoming buddies with Greg Schloesser and yadda yadda yadda.

2. What was your first "Euro" game?

I think it was Scotland Yard... though I also have an early AH copy of Adel Verpflichtet.

3. Which game sucked you in?

Which time?! :-)
  • wargames: definitely Third Reich - looking back, I'm still amazed we fought our way through the rule book
  • roleplaying: D&D - a group of us read the cover article in Games Magazine and hunted down the "blue" starter box - $10. (Wish that was all I had spent on D&D... man, what I laid out for graph paper alone would finance a small 3rd world country...)
  • Games Workshop games: Talisman
  • Euros: Scotland Yard was good, but Midnight Party is what hooked me on Ravensburger games... and it was Settlers that shifted the whole thing into overdrive.
4. What is your favorite game?

Today, it's probably Return of the Heroes/Under the Shadow of the Dragon. Over time, it's either El Grande or Settlers of Catan.

5. What is your least favorite game?

Wow. Such a long list to choose from... Devil Bunny Needs A Ham is pretty high up there (or low down there), as is Lunch Money, Munchkin (and all it's evil spawn), Wortelboer, Krieg & Fremden, and Vox Populi.

6. Open or closed holdings?

For the uninitiated, there are a number of games (most notably Acquire) that have very important information hidden from other players that is trackable if you're a good card counter. Many people prefer to play with this information open to make the game less "mean."

I like holdings open for Acquire... but I don't particularly like Acquire, so there.

7. To gamble or not to gamble?

I don't gamble for money - but I'm happy to play Poker for chips. Or M&M's... though I'm in major danger of eating my winnings.

8. How much luck do you like in your games?

It just depends... sometimes I love the wild swings of fortune and other times I want total control. What I don't want is perfect information games.

9. Last three games played?

It's December 31st... while Shari & I may play some 2-player stuff later, we played games with Braeden tonight before he went to bed: Go Away, Monster; Buddel-Wuddel & Platsch!

10. Last three games purchased?

Hmmm... Under the Shadow of the Dragon, Wings of War: Watch Your Back!, and... wow, I can't remember.

11. Pack rat or trader?

I'll trade stuff... but only if I really don't enjoy it. Otherwise it stays in the collection.

12. What game are you thinking about right now?

I really like Ark... the first play was confusing for the first 30 minutes. Then, you could almost hear an audible "click" in the room as we finished the game at twice the speed we played the first 30 minutes. I think there's a lot there to explore (how to play cards to keep other players from using "your" spaces, etc.) but I need to play it some more to make that happen.

13. What's your favorite mechanic?

I don't know that I have one... but I like it when the mechanics mesh with the theme. (Goldland is an excellent example.)

14. What is your favorite theme?

I like exploration games a whole lot.

15. Who is your favorite designer?

It's a toss-up between Klaus Teuber (Settlers, Gnadelos, Anno 1503, Entdecker, Lowenherz) and Wolfgang Riedesser (Dschungelrennen, Ausgebremst).

16. Best gaming experience?

Gulf Games... I'm hard-pressed to choose individual games, but particular highlights include:

  • Shanghai (BAD game, GREAT company) with Ted Cheatham, Greg Schloesser & Craig Berg
  • Princes of Florence with Derk, Vonda, Jon Pessano & ?... wining after Derk talked major trash about me being a fluffy gamer
  • Waldschattenspiel with Frank Branham in a darkened kitchen

And so many others... sigh.

17. Worst gaming experience?

Perpetual Notion with my Bible study group - we renamed it "The Fight Game".

18. Favorite game for 2 players?

Memoir '44... even when I lose, I enjoy the ride.

19. Favorite game for 3 players?

Schappchen Jagd... I can't spell the game, but I love to play it.

20. Favorite game for 5 players?

El Grande.

21. Favorite game for 6 players?

Entenrallye. Just as long as one of them isn't Dave Vander Ark. (Hi, Dave!)

22. Favorite party game?

Time's Up, followed closely by Smarty Party.

23. Do you value Theme or Mechanics more?

Like I said earlier, I value the meshing of the two... I want a theme that works and/or draws me in that lines up with the mechanics of the game.

24. What color do you want to use to play with?

I like being yellow, but I don't always get to do that. I'd rather not be "doody brown" (which is an option in some of my games.)

25. What is your favorite movie?

"The Princess Bride"... followed closely by "Raising Arizona" and "The Truman Show".

26. What is your favorite book?

  • Fiction: The Silver Chair (C.S. Lewis)
  • Non-Fiction: Seizing Your Divine Moment (Erwin McManus) & Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller)

27. Last three books read?

  • Faith of My Fathers (Chris Seay & family)
  • Walk On: the Spiritual Journey of U2 (Steve Stockman)
  • The Present Future (Reggie McNeal)

28. Last three movies watched?

  • Jump Tomorrow (highly recommended indie romance with a bit of magical realism and an almost total lack of cynicism)
  • King Kong 2005 (gorgeous & epic, but it's about a big ape, for crying out loud)
  • Narnia: LW& W (the kids are incredible and there are great moments, but Aslan doesn't have the power he has in the books)

29. Favorite beverage?

It used to be diet Coke... more recently it's either Snapple Apple or Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider.

30. What are the three most important people in your life?

My wife, Shari, and my two boys, Braeden & Collin. (No surprise here, right?!)


Anonymous said...

Question 25:

How small can text go before someone can read it?

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Sorry... Question 31: how stupid can Mark be with this freaky blogging software?

Anonymous said...

For the uninitiated, there are a number of games (most notably Acquire) that have very important information hidden from other players that is trackable if you're a good card counter. Many people prefer to play with this information open to make the game less "mean."

Er, no. Maybe some people prefer to play with this information open to make the game less "mean.", but everyone I know who advocates the position does so because it makes the game better - people don't mistakenly attack (in whatever format the game allows) the wrong player, and the game becomes more a matter of the on-board play and less determined by what the player with the worst memory thinks (or can be convinced of). The effect is actually making the game _MORE_ mean, since attacks are better directed.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Much as I hate to admit it, Joe's right.

Maybe it would have been better if I'd have said:

Many people prefer to play with this information open to make the game less "player randomized".