Kia Ora (or hello in Maori)
This is a great honour. Thanks so much to Alysa. What a great week you’ve had! Nice to see good things happen to really top people! I haven’t met anyone from the Netherlands I don’t like, and Alysa you’re very cool. So thanks for sharing this last week! Your replies to the questions were really interesting and engaging.
One of the things I love about BGG is ‘meeting’ great people from different nationalities, without having to try their food or negotiate their customs officers.
I’m not sure what detail to go into with games. My father loved cards: Bridge, 500, Patience, Canasta, Samba and my earliest memory of games is his card table being used for 500 or Patience. My grandmother was also a 500 player.
My grandfather, who died in 1973 was, as far as documentation suggests, a brilliant chess player my father thought I should play chess to keep up the family chess thing.
I grew up being beaten at cards and chess so I switched to roll and moves. I played with my cousins and siblings - some of my favourite memories involved Manhunt, Hey Hey Witch Way, DragRace, Masterpiece, Stratego, Ulcers, Cluedo, Payday, Buccaneer and a range of others. My sister, brother and I played all sorts of board and card games and we had a big collection. We forced our cousins to play.
I was inventing board games, and when I was 12 I went to a patent attorney to get some protection around some mechanics. I got nowhere from that (they explained that with the arrival of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Defender, board games were a thing of the past) . Everyone's favourite of my games was the one where you had to get an agent, get contracts, make movies, get a good review and then win an Oscar (Called Oscar!). I was pleased to see someone else invented something very similar later and it's here under another name. My favourite was a take-off of the NZ political system (called Parliament) where every player was the leader of a political party and had MPs with electorates around the board and had to get to Parliament to pass favourable bills into law. Oddly enough no one has commercialised anything remotely like it.
Three things kept me playing games as I tired of roll and moves;
1) the publishing of a Poleconomy
by a New Zealander from my home town. The game went international (Australia, Canada, England) and while essentially a roll and move Monopoly-type game it had some great mechanics and it had an advanced game that involved negotiation and making your own rules. It spun my head. It also had some ideas I had in Parliament.
2) Traveller and then Dungeons and Dragons. I had a math teacher from England at one of my secondary schools, she had a ZX81 and played Traveller (Classic)
. We had a club and then she brought along this new thing called Dungeons and Dragons. I was hooked for about 8 weeks in which time I created several dungeons that no one would play and then I got obsessed about being elected to the School Council.
3) University and a new friend introduced me to Kingmaker
. From there I ended up finding Diplomacy
which he also played and then through other people in student politics Illuminati
I then got obsessed with student politics and substance abuse for five years. There were a lot of games of Diplomacy and then, as no one was speaking to each other anymore, Junta.
After that, while I still played cards, I had Junta out very occasionally.
In the years following, I did all those "how to Host a Murder" things. I was moving up and down NZ I worked for our executive government for 3 years, no one plays board games there, they have other games but none seemed to involved meeples.
About 10 years ago I was given Bohnanza
by my brother, (who was still playing D&D, and many other games), and then someone gave me Caracassonne. I played this a lot. Then out came Junta again.
About 4 years ago after a rather unfortunate chain of events I was home unemployed looking after kids and going mad. So I realised I needed to talk to big people and keep my brain going. Games. I started buying games, Rocketville Mystery of the Abbey
(you all know how it starts) I found a games group. I stumbled onto BGG, primarily for reviews. I got game fever.
And then I woke up here on BGG.
I live with my partner and two little kids - Charlotte just turned 5 and despite having a copy of Wendy: Im Galopp
from Mousey doesn't play games (often), but my son Tim is an avid Forbidden Island, Pandemic, Touch of Evil, and Witch of Salem player. He loves Lego games.
The generosity of BGGers is fantastic. Alysa, Mousey, Cate108, Binraix, Tahanet09, Hilkman, UndeadViking, Beatrix, lilacdog, troybowers, Seriouslyboard, and Tim of Pixel Park, NZ's game distributors all deserve a mention and sorry to anyone I’ve missed.
see here a forum thread on some of this generosity - Re: Three mystery boxes, two earthquakes and why my partner's view of BGG has changed
Now I’m discovering the new games I’m getting aren’t as good as ones I already have. Rather than learn new ones, I want to play Power Struggle, Cuba, Princes of the Renaissance, Taj Mahal, Inkognito, Mystery Express, Havana, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Diplomacy, Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg, Hollywood Blockbuster, Illuminati, Kingmaker, Mansions of Madness, oh and Junta.
My basic thoughts about Boardgaming are:
- Boardgaming is a reductionism of real life. Whereas we wander around wondering what the rules are and how to play, Boardgames shrink the variables down. You can better control and manage life as a boardgame (which is why the ‘idea’ of the Game of Life appealed to me – even though the game is pants).
- We play games as we live. People who are cold and calculating, highly planned or reticent, or energetic in how they approach real life and mostly the same in games. You’ll note some people get really quiet and think a lot before they’ll play, others of us just jump in, some have to win, some feign not being interested so if they lose it won’t matter, some try and take control, and so on. And if they’re not approaching games as they approach life, they’re using games to live out how they think they should be, or would like to be.
- Boardgaming allows us to be anything we want, soldiers, Kings, movie makers, adventurers, traders, office magnates, pirates, detectives, etc…
- Imo there is a Tao of boardgaming – but it’s not about playing to win, or even as Dr K says ‘the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning', but imo it’s about playing for the joy of playing. To get really esoteric; becoming one with the playing.