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Subject: What's your origin story? rss

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Chris Graves
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What's the background story of your love/obsession of board games and the hobby? I'll start:

I've been a video game guy since I was six years old. I am at the age that I remember when they were invented. Anyway, fast forward to a couple years ago. I started listening to a video game podcast, but it had a table top game segment, and the designer of Evolution started describing his game and how to play. I had only been familiar with Risk, Monopoly, Clue, etc., but his description of how you play this game had me totally fascinated. I'd never heard of anything like it in regard to game play. I went home, got on YouTube, and watched more videos about it...that eventually lead to "Tabletop" with Wil Wheaton, and I was done! I wanted to experience those laughs, and moments of frustration, and levels of excitement with my friends and family. Since then, my love of board gaming has well surpassed my love of video games.

So...what's your story?
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Ron
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Ever since I was three or four years old, I've been into video games. From IBM XT through NES, all up to the modern days. When I was 11 or something, I learned about Magic: The Gathering and D&D. At 15 I got into Warhammer. A bit later, I started my first metal band, and found out that two of my new-found band mates also played D&D. Their group went to Essen every year, so I started tagging along, and found out about the world of modern board games. I bought some, but only played them a few times every year.
A year and a half ago, I bought Small World at Dutch Comic Con, and found out how amazing modern board games actually are. Shortly after that, I started using BGG more often and now the games have filled a bookcase and are overflowing into my wardrobe zombie
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K S
United States
Tonawanda
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I played a few CCGs growing up, tried D&D a couple times in college, went to a few board game nights at friend's houses during grad school, but while I was in school I never really found the time (or money) to do anything regularly other than video games. My brother and sister-in-law are into a very small set of "gateway" games (especially Ticket to Ride), so I started reading about games in order to find gifts for them (most successful so far was Dominion), which is how I first found BGG.

Now I'm finally finishing grad school, so I've got a bit more freetime. I thought I'd like to find a way to spend more time together interacting with my friends. I thought about how fun those game nights used to be, but the guy who hosted them had left town. That's when I realized that I could be that guy. Flash forward 4 months: I'm on BGG every day, I've begun hosting regular game nights, my collection has grown considerably ("spun out of control" if you ask my significant other), and I've learned more than I ever thought there was to know about this hobby (and, in turn, taught my semi-gamer friends). I have opinions on online boardgame reviewers (though I still don't really know or care what an 'Undead Viking' is). I've Kickstarted way too many games, and I'm even contemplating painting miniatures.
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Greg Gresik
United States
Bolingbrook
IL
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Hanging out at a friends house at a family/friend party and I notice people playing this strange game with big hexes and little wooden pieces. I would come to find out it was called "The Settlers of Catan". I was hooked. The person who brought and taught also explained that there was a great website called "Boardgamegeek" where I could learn about this game - and other great games as well. Double-hooked.

A month or so later, I sold my Collector's Edition Risk on ebay for just over $100 - and turned around with that money and ordered Carcasonne, Citadels and Through the Desert (we already had Catan). I was done for.
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Ryan S
United States
Plano
Texas
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Someday Asagi will be the main character of her very own game.
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I've been into video games ever since I could hold a joystick/controller. Started out playing Bird vs Camel Star Wars and others on the Atari 2600. I got an NES when it came out (I still have it, it works with some TLC). I played video games wherever I could find them, PC, consoles, handhelds, etc.

I also really loved board games as a kid, having many fond memories of HeroQuest, Hotel Tycoon (which just got re-released), and Survive: Escape from Atlantis! (also re-released).

Somehow I fell out of board games for a number of years, possibly because I moved during middle school and had trouble making friends in high school and college.

In 2010, my brother stumbled upon Ticket to Ride and got me a copy for Christmas. It grabbed my friends and me, and we ended up playing it probably 25-30 times over the Christmas break from work. Not too long after that, I got into Resident Evil Deck Building Game and Carcassonne and the rest is history.

I think modern board games replaced the void left by modern video games not being very couch friendly anymore. I'd much rather have friends over to play a board game than to try and play video games, which often require multiple consoles, TVs, and online play subscriptions.
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Keith B
United States
Katy
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voodoochyl wrote:
What's the background story of your love/obsession of board games and the hobby? I'll start:

I've been a video game guy since I was six years old. I am at the age that I remember when they were invented. Anyway, fast forward to a couple years ago. I started listening to a video game podcast, but it had a table top game segment, and the designer of Evolution started describing his game and how to play. I had only been familiar with Risk, Monopoly, Clue, etc., but his description of how you play this game had me totally fascinated. I'd never heard of anything like it in regard to game play. I went home, got on YouTube, and watched more videos about it...that eventually lead to "Tabletop" with Wil Wheaton, and I was done! I wanted to experience those laughs, and moments of frustration, and levels of excitement with my friends and family. Since then, my love of board gaming has well surpassed my love of video games.

So...what's your story?


Very similar to your story. Switch out Evolution with Pandemic and 7 Wonders.
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Christian K
United States
Albany
New York
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Classic games(1980's)>Heroquest(1990's)>Games Workshop(mid 1990's)>lost interest(late 1990's-mid 2000's)Power Grid and Zombies!!!(mid 2000's)>board game addiction(2010 and beyond.)
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Brian M
United States
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Origin story?

Bitten by a radioactive meeple.
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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I'm also old enough to have seen the birth of video games, but I was never very interested in them. I learned programming on Apple ][s and IBM PCs in high school and quickly discovered that the infinite puzzle challenge of coding was far more interesting than the excitement of twitching a console button to make something happen on the screen. I also never played many boardgames as a child - they were boring and/or mean.

Fast forward 30-40 years to 2013 and I read a mainstream media article on "designer board games" like Catan, Pandemic and Forbidden Island. I read about coops, and how the newer games were interesting to play and not so mean as they used to be. I was looking for activities that my wife and I could do together, since our interests are otherwise almost non-overlapping, and so I thought it would be worth a try. Of course, then I found BGG, and became addicted to the site. In the last three years, we've evolved quickly from gateway games to heavy euros, and we've had a blast getting here.
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Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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My older brothers got me into board and video games. They were old to teach myself and my other younger brothers how to play. I too am old enough to see the earliest video games. The first game that I learned was Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders VCR, Checkers, Chess, Backgammon, Monopoly, UNO, and Sorry!. I got started on video games when my uncle gave us his Intellevision, and Atari 2600.
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Bart R.
Belgium
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A friend of mine had a Tandy console and that immediately grabbed my attention. There would be days when I'd be playing it while he was out playing football with the other kids from school. One game I remember quite well was Temple of Rom.

When I was twelve (so we're talking 1986-87), we got an NES through mail order - my parents bought the console and my sister and I split the costs of the games. We did have quite a lot of boardgames too back then, but it was just the standard stuff, like Which Witch? and Stay Alive.

Twelve years on: a couple of days after starting my first job, I noticed two guys playing 'a card game' - but it was unlike anything I'd ever seen. That game turned out to be MtG. I never got into MtG myself, but I did join their weekly AD&D group and it was by far the most fun an afternoon had ever been since playing those boardgames 10 years earlier.

Another ten years on, we made full circle: my sister had found our old copy of The Game of Life and we set it up for old times' sake, but it wasn't nearly as much fun as we remembered. Just a couple of weeks later, I read an article about boardgames in a magazine and Carcassonne was one of the titles mentioned. The rest is, as they say, history
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Steve B
Ireland
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Like 99.9% of other members of the human race, I enjoyed playing Age of Empires on Windows 95. My great grandmother, and my grandmother, would probably whoop my ass in that game, simply because Age of Empires is the most mainstream, popular, normal part of every-day life game that has ever been made.

So, one time I was in London, visiting my mate Gregor who somehow blagged his way into London School of Economics. We were out in Camden, and I was in the process of getting arrested in Camden, due to "fighting" on the metro. Some bloke Terence came along and managed to get me out of the arrest, instead getting some guy in dreadlocks involved. Another policeman came and said "Yeah Dave this aint the guy". I said "finally someone who knows what they're doing". Dave said "Oi! I'll nick you!"

We ended up anyway safely in some club in Camden and had a good night.

The next morning Gregor decided to show me around London. We went to the "biggest toy shop in the world", which probably isn't even in the biggest in the UK, Hamleys. I was walking around and found a board game section. There were 2 games that sparked my interest. Tide of Iron, which seemed like a pretty cool throwback to the most recent World War, and Agricola, which instantly reminded me of my great grandmother.

Yes, old Maggie, who used to thrash me as the Babylonians - now, in physical form on the table, I would be able to send workers out to gather wood, gather stones, build some houses, and build up my little village.

So I bought Agricola (and also Tide of Iron) and it all started from there.
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Anneke Zakoor
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Illinois
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Hey,

I moved to the U.S. 8 years ago with Monopoly, and all those older family games, being my only experience with board games. Let's just say that in South Africa(where I'm from originally) there aren't much of a board game scene (at least not what I noticed). I've always been into video games like MMO's and such, but it wasn't till I met a guy at work that invited me to play board games with him and his friends at a game store that I really fell in love with board games.

I started with games like Magic the Gathering, Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, and Settlers of Catan. Then we moved on to Mage Wars, Super Dungeon Explore, and Relic Knights. I play pretty much play anything I can get my hands onto now and love investing in new games on Kickstarter.
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Paradox Games
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Space Invaders. An the Pong Clones consoles. I was hooked.
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J J
Australia
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New best friend moved in over the road. He had (based on some quick research I just did, it was most probably) John Holmes' Fantasy Role Playing Games, which had basic rules and a scenario to play. He also got HeroQuest when it was released, and our other friend up the road got Space Crusade. There was no going back from that point, although it was some years before modern strategy games really took off, and even more before I could get into them.
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Marina SC
Canada
Vaughan
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I loved mainstream games of all kinds when I was young, but in my teens and most of my twenties I had given those up and generally stuck to cards, Scrabble and video games. A few years ago I was visiting some friends in England (we also work together, as video game devs), and one mentioned that he recently started getting into boardgames, and that he imagined himself being the proud owner of a shelf full of them one day. During that trip I played my first designer boardgames, which were Archipelago and Eclipse... I can't remember Archipelago, but I liked Eclipse, and that planted the seed. I started buying and playing games more seriously last year, and ironically I have reversed roles with my friend: I'm now the one with a shelf full of games, and introduce games to him laugh
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Henrik Johansson
Sweden
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Leopard II followed by Advanced Squad Leader, Air Superiority, Air Strike. I was a software developer at a government military research facility so this was to enhance my domain knowledge. And on my way to work I passed by a shop called Tradition with a lot of gorgeous games on display. I was active on rec.games.board, a predecessor of BGG. That was when the Euro game genre turned up, and I whent down that Catan road instead of wargames.
 
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James Lautermilch
United States
California
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My first "Game" was when I was about 7 years old. It came from the back of a breakfast cereal box. Rice Krinkles. It came in the mail and was a tank game with a small paper map and plastic tanks. They came in two pieces and were held together by a rubber band. a small dart gun was fire at them and if you hit them just right they popped in half killing the tank. From there it was on to Stratego and then Risk. My first wargame was Third Reich and on to SPI and many many other publishers and games over the past 50 years.
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Matt Riddle
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Mine is the super standard played tons of cards growing up, all the standard family games, and a bit of risk. Then after college was introduced to Catan,
Thought it was cool then never thought of it again till about 7-8 years later I was introduced to it again and was hooked. We were looking for something to do as a group instead of poker and games it was.
 
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Steve
United States
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voodoochyl wrote:
I've been a video game guy since I was six years old. I am at the age that I remember when they were invented.


So like the 50's?
 
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I grew up playing games, the usual ones, like Yahtzee, Ludo, Trivial Persuit, and so on. My oldest game in the collection, is one I got for a birthday; Labyrinth. Still keeping on to that.

When I was starting higher education, I was introduced to Magic: The Gathering by two cousins. We traveled to tournaments together and stuff, too. Then they got introduced to boardgames, and pulled me into the world. So now we go to boardgame gatherings together.
 
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Kevin Buchanan
China
Shenyang
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Wow... where do I start?

Yes, certainly there were plenty of board and card games around when I was a kid. I played the old Star Wars Death Star game to death and also spent huge amounts of time on the usual... Battleships, Guess Who, Go For Broke, Hotel, Interceptor, Ken-U=Go etc.

My Grandmother kept the gaming thing going, primarily with Trivial pursuit as I moved into my teens, but with a coupel of other games, most notably the word game Initial Subject. As that was were we played, I started to supplement the collection there with things like Cluedo, Stratego and an old Star Trek game that was doing the rounds at the time.

Meanwhile, two specific events dragged me towards hobby-gaming. First, was the appearance of Citadel Miniatures amongst a group of kids at school, which drew me towards Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Second was a games-day at school. I'd gone into town to try and pick up a copy of a Judge Dredd game (Block Mania), but found it out of stock. That led me to West End's Star Wars Roleplaying game.

Next thing I know, these two influences had drawn me to Space Crusade, Star Warriors and Assault on Hoth, which remained mainstays for quite some time.

then, at university, a friend finally got me to play Block Mania, Blood Royale, Star Force Terra Contact and a couple more games... before Magic The Gathering hit.

That drew me to my local games store, which was just starting to expand its board game collection. From there, Settlers led to Condotierre and gaming moved more and more to boards and cards. Magic fell by the wayside and I ended up working for that games store, before managing their next branch, writing a gaming column and... well, they were a busy few years.

Married life and an overseas job changed my habits for a while and shrunk my collection, but now the cycle begins again.
 
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John Prewitt
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Granada Hills
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Kinda boring. I went to Guitar Center (why? I hate that place) to buy strings and there's this game store next door. I was with my wife and thought, hey, what the hell, and we went in there.. not having a clue what they sold or did. I had never heard of modern board games. The guy running the place was pretty nice and I told him I wanted a game for beginners.. (Side story: We went in there once long before and another employee was very rude and confrontational, we left pretty quickly.). He asked well.. what do you want? I said I had no idea. So somehow we ended up on Talisman. It was so hard to learn out of the box, but we ended up playing it that night after forcing ourselves through the rules and had a good time. We then bought some expansions, and then I found this site, and bought: Eldritch Horror, War of the Ring, and Mage Knight (in that order)... oddly Mage Knight is still my favorite game a year later and I sold the other two, and now have played over 150 games!
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Dave Platt
United Kingdom
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Starting in the 60s

Snakes and ladders, Ludo, Mousetrap, Kerplunk, Rebound, Battleships, Monopoly, Formula 1, Risk, Totopoly, Business Game, Speculate, Campaign, Masterpiece, Chartbusters, Soccerama, League Championship, L'attaque, Exploration, Buccaneer, Moviemaker, Subuteo Football, Subuteo Rugby, Subuteo Angling, Proshot golf, Go for Broke, Ratrace, Careers, Air Charter, Blast Off, Election, Wembley, and probably a few more I can't remember.

All the time video games had been getting going but only in arcades. I do remember playing Pong in an arcade when it first arrived on the scene and I do remember playing a lot of classic games such as Space Invaders and Donkey Kong on machines in bars when they first made an appearance.

As family came along I had less time for playing games but me and the wife would occasionally break out a game such as Ratrace, Moviemaker or Kingmaker which we got into for a while. I played Diplomacy via post as well.
As the kids got older it was mostly video games but the odd board game did make it through such as Heroquest, Space Invaders or Cludo Super Slueth.

From my late 20s to mid 50s I've spent countless hours playing Video games, mostly long campaign type games that typically take months to complete.

In the past 5 or so years I've come back to board games, as we play as a family at weekend get-togethers. Currently on the table at weekends is Catan. We play a series of games over a number of months, with the first to 10 winning.

During all this time I've flirted with making games, both board and video, but never really seen it through to fruition. Finally now at the age of 55 I'm putting some serious time and money into combining all this gaming time into making a board game that will hopefully encompass all the good I've found in games over the years. Been at it since March and the first copies should be for sale on the net in the first half of next year.
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Peter Bowie
United Kingdom
Crewe
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When I was younger, I pestered my parents to play games all the time, silly stuff like the Power Rangers board game and all that. Learnt things like Chess and Scrabble, and they became classic fallbacks.

Got into video games a little with Sonic and Pokémon. Did a little MMORPG-ing, but it got old fast. Fun enough pastime, but video games never absorbed me that much.

After that, TCGs became my thing - YGO specifically. Eventually it got boring, paying more and more money for the same cards with different names, with a community with more jerkwads than not.

Played/judged casually for years, alongside playing the Pokémon video game "competitively" on the side, and Scrabble with my family occasionally. Started a local TCG group that's still going today. Someone brought in a modern board game - Catan - and that was it. Board games for life.

Although it's still evolving from there. I tried all-sorts of different games. Gateways got old quick. Role-playing games aren't my thing. I was a dice-hating Euro lover for a while, but the point salad-esque designs got boring, and with games like Kemet, and later the advent of Cthulhu Wars, I found that it's the combative player interactivity I value most. Seems like a good time for people like me to be into board games, with the hobby becoming more and more diverse, and designers being willing to do different things.
 
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