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My First Geeklist: A Tribute to Magic Rat
Christa Haley
United States
Waterford
Wisconsin
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Since I started frequenting BGG in 2005, I have been wondering what my first GeekList should be about. Now I have it: Your friend and mine, Jason Sato, AKA Magic Rat, whom we lost to a stroke on 06Apr07. I've known Jason for several years through various gaming events at Game Depot (Tempe, AZ), but I only really came to call him friend when Bobby Warren (Bobby4th) invited me to his Saturday game group about 2 years ago. Jason welcomed me with a smile, and proceeded to teach me a variety of games, and by that I do mean School Me. He never treated me like I was "just a girl," which had been my experience with past gaming groups, yet he always treated me with the respect a girl deserves, telling me on a weekly basis that he loves me. Of course that was generally when he was stealing my trick in Tichu, setting me with my misery color (and lots of it) in Sticheln, cutting me off at Blokus, or leaving the animals in simply horrid, completely untenable positions in Tier auf Tier, but that's neither here nor there. He loved me, I know it, and I loved him, even when he was being mean to me at the table...especially when he was being mean to me at the table.

So here's a GeekList for you, Jason. These are the games that most remind me of you. I invite you all to add your "Jason Games" to the list.

Edit: All contributions are welcome, even if the game already has been mentioned. Just add a comment to the game. We want to hear your story!

Edit:
Quote:
From the folks at Game Depot:
It was with great sadness and shock that we all learned of the sudden passing of our friend and fellow Arizona gaming hobbyist,
Jason Sato.

His friends believe the greatest tribute to Jason would be to gather together as a community and celebrate Jason's Life by playing the games he enjoyed so much.

Join Jason's family, friends and fellow gamers on Saturday evening, April 21st starting at 7:30 pm at The Game Depot. Please bring some games to play and share with others.

The Sato family wishes this will be a meaningful tribute that focuses not on Jason's death but rather on his life. So, at the request of the family: no flowers, sympathy cards or eulogy speeches.

Anyone who was touched by Jason's Life is welcome to join us for this unique remembrance.

Game Depot
3136 S. McClintock Dr. #11
N/W corner Southern & McClintock
Tempe, Arizona 85282

480-966-4727


Edit 06Apr08: It's been a year. I can hardly believe it. I still miss him. We all still talk about him. That will never change. He's still has a spot at our game table. I know he's still around because I very recently found the eulogy read at his memorial, which I thought I'd lost forever. I'd been told to post it here. I'm sorry it's so late in coming. Here it is.

Quote:
Message from Jason Sato's Mother, read at his "Celebration of Life" tribute, Saturday April 21st:

I'm having Chris, a long time friend of daughter Lauren's and us, read this for me. I know my emotions will overwhelm me...no, not because of grieving our loss, but by being so touched by all of your expression of caring and appreciation of Jason. We had no idea he had touched so many people in such positive ways and all this from his passion for gaming. Truly awesome!

I know now that Jason was born a collector and gamer. At age 3, he had a collection of little metal cars, all neatly boxed in match boxes, of course. He told me then, "I'm going to be a taxi driver when I grow up." My reply, "Fine, but you're going to have to be the best taxi driver you can be!"

There followed other collections. Insects, because his father was then an entomologist and because he got such a kick waiting for his sisters' screams when they found the dead cockroaches he had placed in their rooms.

Dinosaurs, this was a biggie. Then games, all kinds, records, and books. Gatherings at Grandpa Sato's in Honolulu, always ended with poker for the adults and Grandma sitting on the floor playing "PIUTE" (a simplified version of poker) with the grandkids. Then came Lego and more games, book...non-stop.

I must admit there were many a time when I questioned my parenting of our "Peter Pan." With his fine mind, he could have "gone for the money" in any profession. I felt I failed in not pushing him to be more materialistic, in being more ambitious for wealth, prestige and power as the world (sadly, in my opinion) defines SUCCESS.

I want each and every one of you to know my deep gratitude for setting me free of all guilt and regret with your caring messages about Magic Rat. FREE, just as I bade Jason "to be FREE & go in peace," then first time we were allowed to see him in ER, 2 1/2 weeks ago. I thank you.

We'll all miss Jason in different and personal ways. I'll miss the butting of our heads. I would tell him not to be such a "Mr. Know-it-all" and he would suggest that I not be so judgemental. More often than not, we agreed that we could still learn from each other (the old and the young), as long as we worked on keeping our minds open. As a Mom, I, of course, had to have the last say with, "Work also on your sense of humor and sense of wonderment."

I sense Jason saying, "Okay Mom. Enough ALREADY. Let the geeks start gaming."

So, no more mourning. No more grieving. Believe me...Jason could NOT have scripted a more fitting EXIT for Magic Rat... Here at the Game Depot, gaming, and with his very good friends with him.

He did grow up to be the best gamer he could be, didn't he?
MAHALO and WARMEST ALOHA from Magic Rat's family.

Mama & Papa Rat and His 2 Sister Mice.

PEACE, OUT


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1. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:97]
Christa Haley
United States
Waterford
Wisconsin
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Last year when Bobby4th was out of town, Jason and I found ourselves looking for 2-player games after everyone else left for the day. We settled on Yinsh. I lost, but we were actually pretty evenly matched for how new I was to the game, and we had a lot of fun. In one game, I lost when he scored his final two rings on the same move. Yes, it's possible, and I have to say I don't mind losing when the move that defeats me is that amazing.

We didn't have opportunity for many 2-player games again until this year when Bobby4th was out of town again. Knowing ahead of time that there'd be time at the end of the day, we made what our FLGS owner, Patty, teased was our Yinsh Date. I was looking forward to more Yinsh Dates in years to come, but instead I'll have to treasure those two perfect games. We each won one, and they were both tooth-and-nail battles until the end.

The best part was Jason's last move of the second game. We both knew I had him in any one of 3 ways. He made a desperation move, flipping just about a whole row just to block me for one more turn...and won! Neither of us saw that coming. In fact, Patty and I saw it before he did. He was already talking about how he was about to lose and was wondering which move I was going to use to beat him for the second time in a row, when we shouted simultaneously, "Jason! You won!" He looked back at the board, dumbfounded and said something like, "Huh. I never even saw that."
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2. Board Game: Sticheln [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:558]
Christa Haley
United States
Waterford
Wisconsin
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In recent months Bobby4th, Magic Rat, and I would often be the only ones the make it to our Saturday group for the bulk of the day. Others would come and go, staying for only a game or two before having to go home or run errands. While we were waiting for others to arrive, or after the others had left (or both!), we had become accustomed to playing Sticheln. We all loved how nasty this game could be 3-player. It was probably the leading source of the aforementioned I Love Yous.
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3. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:160]
Christa Haley
United States
Waterford
Wisconsin
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One of the first games I can remember playing with Jason, and it was also one of the last. Until our last game together he tried to help teach me the finer points of the game that seemed to elude me, though I suspect there was also a touch of the "evil counselor," (as one BGGer so brilliantly described it) thrown in there, too. Not that I mind. All of the Evil Counselors I know have taught me a lot about gaming, especially about Evil Counseling.
 
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4. Board Game: Snatch [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3556]
Christa Haley
United States
Waterford
Wisconsin
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Last but not least, I'd like to talk about my Snatch. My Snatch was one of Jason's favorite topics of discussion. It may not have been his favorite game, but he did love it when I brought my Snatch to the table, and he never missed an opportunity to point it out to others. In honor of you, Jason, I vow to go on promoting my Snatch whenever possible.

*Edited for boldness, because lord know this item isn't bold enough.
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5. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:146]
Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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Jason was one of the first people I met when I moved to Phoenix in 1984. One of the guys in my role-playing group in San Antonio had moved from here and used to play with the very large group that hung out at the old Flying Buffalo store. He told me to ask for Jason and I started playing almost right away.

Sometime in the first year I was here, Jason pulled out Acquire and I joined in a game. I had seen it in the stores since I started playing war games in high school and always thought it was just another Monopoly game which would be boring. It wasn't. I really liked the game and called it my favorite board game for many years. Over the next couple of years I probably played in a couple of dozen games of Acquire and picked up a copy for myself. Though I didn't know it at the time, Jason had introduced me to Euro games long before the term became known.

His copy was from the 1970s when he was in college. They used to keep records of the high scores for each number of players, and he had pieces of paper with the scores for each number of players in pencil, which he would update if someone got a higher score. His board was warped from being left in the car in the Phoenix summer heat and some of his cards had stains on them from where the rubber bands had melted on them.

Jason and I drifted in and out of gaming with each other over the years, mostly role-playing, though occasionally games such as the Mayfair crayon rail games and the Game Master series games from Milton Bradley. A few years ago, we started gaming together regularly because of a common interest in Euro games. Sometimes I thought I was playing too many games with him because he would be everywhere I would go and my low tolerance for spending too much time with any person would kick in. I'd skip a game night here or there, or arrange to play something with someone else ahead of time. Now I just wish he was here for one more game of Acquire.

Hell, I'd even play Puerto Rico with him if I had the chance.
 
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6. Board Game: New England [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1189]
Chris Brooks
United States
Sherwood
Oregon
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This was the first game I ever played with Jason, and first time I ever played New England was with Jason. I didn't know Jason well, but it sure was nice knowing that when I would travel to Arizona I'd have an eager friend ready to try anything and provide some stiff competition.
 
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7. Board Game: Medieval Merchant [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1108]
Matthew Frederick
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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This was one of the first games Jason taught me, and it was one he truly loved, dragging it out on a regular basis. His love of it took hold in me, and even though I always lose, I still enjoy every game of it.

Thank you, Jason, for teaching me so many games, and for being my friend. You are sorely missed.
 
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8. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:94]
Matthew Frederick
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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Ra, on the other hand, was a game that Jason simply refused to play. I'm not sure why, but he was quite vehement. It wasn't uncommon for someone to suggest it, knowing he'd veto, just for the fun of it. Jason was a sport that way.

I can see his smile now, hear his voice in my head, remember struggling with him over how to appropriately apply our competing OCDs to some game component. Miss you, man. I'm sure you're up there somewhere gaming, playing yellow.
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9. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
Carl Anderson
United States
Brighton
Michigan
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I only just met Jason about two months ago, but I could tell he was a great guy. The first game I played with him was Power Grid. In that single game I could tell how passionate he was about gaming, how well he could explain the rules, and--most importantly--how willing and eager he was for new people to join the world of gaming.

From his meticulous organization of the game (each component had its placed, it seemed, in the box) to how he developed his strategy, it was a joy to lose to him in Power Grid.
 
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10. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:84]
Carl Anderson
United States
Brighton
Michigan
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Our last game of that first evening (Friday game night at the Inn) was Ticket to Ride, and I really saw what a deep thinker Jason could be. His strategy was mind-boggling and amazing and inspiring all at once. Maybe it was just me, but he really seemed to know how to take it all in. And as we'd cut off routes, he'd just laugh and keep on truckin'...it certainly seemed that his goal was to play, not to win.
 
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11. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:255]
Carl Anderson
United States
Brighton
Michigan
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Finally is Thurn and Taxis. I was at Game Depot the day after game night, and Bobby happened to be there and invited me to join him, Christa, and Jason for a round of Thurn and Taxis. I think this is what my most vivid memory is of Jason, as few as there are--just simply welcoming people into the fold.

Jason, I hardly knew you, but you'll be missed. Here's hoping you're showing the angels the best strategies for Power Grid.
 
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12. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:60]
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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I'd be remiss if I didn't add this game to the list. Jason loved to play AoS and I always knew he was in if we played. As usual, he explained how to play to me, even offering to play with "forgiveness" that first game (emergency issue a share if you screwed up). He was always yellow (nothing to do with this game, that was just his color -sorry for the random thought). I think Jason was glad that I became such a fan, as it meant he knew I'd bring the game and he didn't have to (thus he could bring other games).
 
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13. Board Game: Torres [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:281]
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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This was I believe, the first game Jason taught me. It was the first time I saw a long time gamer willing to sit down and play the basic version of the game in order for a new guy to learn the game.
 
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14. Board Game: Backgammon [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:913]
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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This was a game I discovered that Jason put in his top 25. I periodically challenged him to games and it was nice to get some one on one against Jason. He always won. His blog often tells his woes in dice rolling games, but he never had that problem when we played Backgammon.
 
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15. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:148]
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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And this is the last game I ever played with Jason. I have lots of good memories of my gaming with him and I hope I can always be as good an ambassador to gaming as he was.
 
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16. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:26]
Chuck Paquet
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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I've known Jason since the early 80's and have been playing Eurogames with him on a regular basis since the mid 90's. El Grande was one of our favorites and one of the few games where I didn't have to make the dreaded, "do I sit so I go AFTER Jason or BEFORE Jason" decision, due to it's bidding system. We'd play this game just about every chance we could get. Sadly, the last time I played this Jason was playing a different game at the time.
 
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17. Board Game: Shear Panic [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1185]
Mike Gingold
United States
Goodyear
Arizona
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I have known Jason since the mid-90s and played games with him on and off since then. Over the past 4 years or so, I played games with him either every week or every other week. I can list hundreds of games that remind me of Jason, but I am picking this one since it is the last game I played with him. Friday gaming sessions will definitely not be the same and many games that we play will not be the same either.
 
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18. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
Steve Bauer
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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Jason was a good friend and an amazing gamer. I miss him deeply.

To honor his memory with a geeklist seems very fitting. I always admired Jason's ability to keep such good track of his games and to blog in such detail about them. Thank you Christa for strating this list.

This is my favorite game of all time and Jason was always one of my favorite opponents. Jason and I shared a love of this game and he was always willing to play it with me (unlike some other people in AZBoardGamers). We both had a preference for the factory and spent dozens of games fighting over who would get the factory first.

He had such a deep knowledge of the game he was always a joy to play against or just spend time discussing strategy.
 
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19. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:173]
Steve Bauer
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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This was the last game I ever played with Jason. I don't think it is a game he particularly liked but the memory is made especially sweet because Jason blasted me in his blog for forgetting a rule when I was going over the game rules (That only the provinces used in the first kingdom are used in the second kingdom) which cost him the game.

This is so typically Jason I can't help but smile. To quote from his blog "However, I consider it an act of karmic justice that Steve was punished for not mentioning that rule (we did have new players who needed a full rules explanation) as Jason beat him out by one point."

Thanks for all the great times Jason.
 
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20. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:425]
The Dude
United States
Mesa
Arizona
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I knew Jason from occassionally playing games with him on Friday evenings.
I always enjoyed playing a game with him because I knew I would have a great time and receive some sage-like advice. There was never the fear of ridicule or complaint.

This is last game that I remember playing with Jason. He will be sorely missed. We need more gamers like him.
 
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21. Board Game: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:284]
Will Watts
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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I've known Jason since the early eighties. I don't remember exactly when we first met but it probably was playing the RPG Champions at Flying Buffalo. I remember getting his imput on my first and favorite Champions hero, The Blue Avenger. Through the years I played a lot of games with Jason. Carcassone - Hunters and Gatherers was one of the many games he taught me and my, and I think his, favorite version of Carcassone. He was good at explaining games but more than just being clear about the rules he would also give you a little primer about the tactics of the game. It was clear to me that he not only wanted to teach you to play, he wanted to teach you to play well. This was his generosity of spirit. Games weren't just about winning, they were about sharing something really cool. I have a lot of memories of Jason, sharing fun times at cons, talking about movies and books, lunches and late night snacks.
Jason had a lot of friends and I am glad that I can count myself as one of them.

Aloha Jason, I will miss you.
 
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22. Board Game: Campaign Trail [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:4601]
Scott Hagen
United States
Chandler
Arizona
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I met Jason when I came to work at Flying Buffalo in 1983. He was the first active GM to let me join his Champions game. Every once in a while he'd push a boardgame to the table instead of a role-playing game. Back then there weren't a huge selection of "beer & pretzel" type games in that era dominated by wargames. Campaign Trail is just one of the few that made it to the table during that era. I can also remember Cradle of Civilization, Junta, Empire Builder, Rail Baron, to name a few.

I learned early on that Jason had a knack for lying in the weeds, and stealing victory; usually from my grasp (or so it seemed). Up until then, I had divided my focus faily evenly on my opponents, but I quickly gave Jason a double shot of my attension. Back then, it didn't matter how many players there were in a game, I always considered Jason my real competition. I always studied, even recently, the moves Jason made when we gamed; sometimes to learn a game more quickly, and other times to try to pick up on the nuances of strategy, Jason, I assumed, had already mastered.

Over the last 20+ years I've enjoyed playing RPGs, CCGs, Euro-style games, miniture games, and even Fantasy Basketball. I introduced him to a few, he introduced me to scores.

I'm going to miss Jason, across the table, across the game room, across the convention floor, and sitting beside me at Suns games.
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23. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:315]
John Brier
United States
Aventura
Florida
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I never knew Jason personally, but I knew him from BGG and from SBW where he played several games including Reef Encounter.

He played in a tournament I organized and which in fact is still going on, and he actually managed to finish all of his games, making his last move just a couple days before his stroke. He will be remembered and missed as a great player.
 
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24. Board Game: Wettstreit der Baumeister [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:3543]
Jason Maxwell
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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The very first time I came to the AZ Boargamers weekly meeting at Gamer's Edge I walked in while Jason, Bobby, Rob(?), and Matthew(?) were playing this one. I remember sitting next to Jason and reading the English translation of the rules while they played. At one point there was some discussion of strategy in buying a tile or not late i nthe game and I pointed out that there was some drawback to it (Tiles in hand hurt you in endgame scoring or something like that) that Jason had missed during the rules explanation. It was one of the few times I remember Jason missing something in the rules.
 
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25. Board Game: Java [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:471]
Jason Maxwell
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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After the Wettstreit der Baumeister game the group gave the new guy the chance to pick the next game. Having heard so much about the mask trilogy, and seeing that somebody had brought Java (turns out it was Jason) I picked it to play. Jason and Bobby joined me. As you would expect, the newbie got beat down, but it was the first of many, many games I played with the group.
 
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