Friday, January 10, 2014

30 Questions 8 Years Later...

I originally posted answers to Mark Haberman's meme back in 2006 - back before the word "meme" even existed. (It looks like his blog is completely gone now... sigh.)

Anyhoo, it's 8 years later, and I figure the answers to these questions might (a) need revising a bit, and (b) be a good introduction to the newer readers of my blog.

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?
Back in 2006, I noted that "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."

Eight years later, my current favorites are Eminent Domain & Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd edition)... while over time, I'd choose Race for the Galaxy, Memoir '44 and (still) The 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. (This list hasn't changed much, by the way... I've learned over time to avoid things I know I won't enjoy and that's made my life oh so much more enjoyable.)

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?

Warage, Coin Age & Clash of Cultures

10. Last three games purchased?

Clash of Cultures, Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Labyrinth of Ruin & Coin Age.

11. Pack rat or trader?

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

While that's still true (for the most part), my collection shed about 250 games early in 2013 what with moving from California.

12. What game are you thinking about right now?
After my eldest son beat me by ONE point last night in Clash of Cultures, my brain keeps trying to work out how I could have raised another warrior to prevent his flotilla of death & mayhem from swinging the game in his favor. (I really like the open-ended tech/advances system & the way the game flows... a new favorite after one play.

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. More recently, Agricola & Fresco do a splendid job of this.)
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).

Eight years down the road, I need to add in Rob Daviau (Heroscape, Risk Legacy).

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.

Eight years later, I need to add two other experiences:
  • running my own invitational mini-con in Fresno (Stained Glass Games) for four years... what with the yearly Ca$h'n'Gun$ Live and the Memoir '44 Overlord and the wonderful times we had
  • winning the Can't Stop tournament at the Gathering of Friends in 2013!
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. (Close second: Summoner Wars.)

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?

Sadly, it's no longer El Grande. I grew weary of being targeted each time I played... so, I guess Princes of Florence & Puerto Rico take the honors.

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. (This has reversed in 8 years... Smarty Party is now - barely- in the lead.)

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".

Addendum from 2014: and pretty much anything Pixar makes.

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?
  • End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (James Swanson)
  • Allegiant (Veronica Roth)
  • Spirituality for the Rest of Us (Larry Osborne)
28. Last three movies watched?
  • Despicable Me 2 (not as good as the first film... but still fun)
  • Monsters University (not as good as the first film... but better than most of the animation from anyone else - I like how the story went in some unpredictable directions even though it was a prequel)
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (while the movie plays around a bit with the storyline, this film actually does a better job than the first one of capturing the horror & oppression that permeates this story)
29. Favorite beverage?

When I answered eight years ago, I was (pre-gall bladder surgery) off of carbonated beverages. No longer! I am a Coke Zero man now!

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

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

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