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Subject: Geek of the Week #304 - airjudden rss

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Larz Welo
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I was an unworthy Geek of the Week last week. I am merely a lowly denizen of the wargaming folder. However, I am extremely grateful to everyone who commented and had fun with me.

Choosing the Geek who was to follow me was a nightmare. Being a lowly denizen of the wargaming folder, I don't get around to all the corners of the geek quite as much. I'm supposed to select a user I don't personally know, and who lives on a different continent than me. That knocked out all my local friends, and all my old friends! So, I looked around at all my favorite users...only to learn that all of them had been Geek of the Week before. Now, for some it'd be quite a while, but as a new receiver of this specially honor I definitely wanted to choose another undiscovered user. So, I started to think...do I personally know my PBEM opponents? I decided that the answer to that was no...I have no idea what they look like and if they walked by my house right now I'd not even know (except that they would probably look out of place).

So, without further blibber-blabber, your next Geek of the Week is:

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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
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Judd is a great guy. He's pretty new and hasn't even been on the site very long at all. He's a new patron, but he runs the Wargames on Your Table Geeklist, and contributes a great deal more in many dynamic and new ways. His profile is extremely well fleshed out...even though I haven't made his list of "opponents" yet. Maybe I have to crush him in Paths first...

Again, lots of good and recent contributions. Ask away!

airjudden wrote:
Here ya go:

First of all, I have to say WOW! Am I honored! When my buddy and VASSAL-opponent Jon (Capt_S) won GotW a few weeks ago, I was telling my wife how cool it was that he won. She asked if I’d ever win it and I told her no way – I’m a mere apprentice learning from the masters in the Wargame forum, so when Lars told me I was selected, I was blown away.

So how did I get into gaming? Probably like most of us, I played a lot of the classics as a kid: Monopoly, Clue, and Checkers, as well as lesser known games, such as Mug Shots, The Fastest Gun, and Dogfight. My older sister taught me chess and I used to beat her a lot. I thought I was a young Bobby Fisher and then I learned we were playing it wrong and that I can’t beat a single person on the planet. It turns out that I was an idiot savant minus the "savant."

When I was 10 years old, I had developed an interest in WWII from my father, model airplanes, and movies. My Dad brought home The Battle of the Bulge and Midway and opened up a brand new world: hexes, counters, combat results tables, LONG games. I loved it. I spent the next couple of years playing sports games: my Dad re-created Red Barber's Big League Baseball Game from memory (it was an impossible-to-find game from his childhood), and we played the heck out of that game.

When I was 12 years old, a new friend changed my gaming life by introducing me to two remarkable games: Kingmaker and Star Fleet Battles. The latter struck appealed to the big Star Trek nerd inside of me. I taught a whole bunch of guys SFB in my hometown (Parsons, Kansas). Through my high school years, we had a pretty solid group of gamers. Some were very much into fantasy/role-playing games (AD&D was very influential) while others gravitated toward World War II, Sci-Fi, and mini games. Favorites from this time included Revolt on Antares, Victory in the Pacific, Ace of Aces, Lost Worlds, Tactics (25th Anniversary Edition), Castle Risk, and Axis & Allies.

Then we all went to college and mostly went our separate ways. At Kansas State University, I discovered Strat-O-Matic Basketball and it became another milestone in my gaming life. I taught it to a bunch of guys in the dorm and I ran draft leagues for 3 years as a participant, commissioner, and statistician. Like Star Fleet Battles earlier, Strat-O-Matic became a “way of life” game for me, by turning me into a NBA-junkie during the 90s and a NBA historian forever, and became the game that I played solidly for the next 10 years. It is a testament to the power of games: I had no interest in the NBA until I started playing it, in the same way that games like Batle Cry, Paths of Glory, and Commands & Colors: Ancients got me interested in wars that I previously had no interest in studying.

After grad school, I moved to Wichita, Kansas to become an HVAC (Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning) design engineer. I collected Spider-Man comics, so I frequented the comic book stores, where I saw guys playing Magic & Warhammer. Neither appealed to me, and I figured video games killed board games.

Around 2008, I decided to find a missing gem that I loved from the 80s called City States of Arklyrell. I tried a Google search and ran across a website called Boardgame Geek. I was surprised they had it along with about every game I could think of. I had re-connected with my closest wargaming buddy a few years before, so I wrote him and said he should check out the site. He wrote me back and knew all about it. He had an avatar, wrote session reports, reviews, had geek badges and all the things that gives a Geek his street cred. His username is Barteus. In the universe of BGG, he became Qui-Gon Jinn to my Obi-Wan Kenobi.

That same year, my wife bought me the book American Creation by Joseph Ellis and immediately I got interested in the 18th century. I tried to limit the interest to politics but invariably got sucked into the American Revolution. After reading numerous books on the war and becoming totally enamored by it, I decided to try gaming to further my knowledge and experience, I stumbled on an American Revolution Geeklist and learned about We the People and Saratoga, and were instantly hooked on them. This 8-year period in U.S. history became my specialized gaming genre.

Around that time, I decided I didn’t like what Marvel Comics was doing to Spider-Man (“Brand New Day” for any fans out there), so I went to the comic store one last time to end a 33-year relationship and to cancel my pull list. While there, I saw a game called Federation Commander: Klingon Border, which contained the same “Star Fleet Universe” logo as Star Fleet Battles. I asked the clerk about it and he told me all about the game. I was sold. Then, more importantly, he told me there was a group called the Wichita Boardgamers who met there twice monthly.

I showed up hoping to play We the People and Battlestar Galactica. I attended regularly and learned all kinds of new games, such as Power Grid, Ticket to Ride, and Automobile. While I did get to play We the People and BSG, most of the games played were Euros. After 6 fun months of gaming, I was hoping to play some of my older games, even though they were anachronisms in the world of Euros. Then I met Aaron (MisterMarino) at the group, and in small talk, I learned he played many of the games I did in the past: wargames, sci-fi, and mini-games. We started playing a lot of those old classics, such as Operation Pegasus, Hot Spot, and Viking Gods. One time, I asked him what this “Ameri-Trash” was I kept reading about. After warning me about the dangers of asking this question on BGG (heh -- very funny in retrospect), he broke it down, and introduced me to a new and wonderful world in the form of Claustrophobia, Nexus Ops, Earth Reborn, Dreamblade and Arkham Horror.

On BGG, I found myself gravitating to the wargame forum and learning from the sages, and also because I thought they were a bunch of neat folks. I started getting interested in wars I knew nothing about or had never cared about before. I loved to look through the collections of fellow wargamers and read their comments and rankings, so I could learn about new games that I should try out. Now the only problem I had was that many wargames were too long for a single 5 hour session, while some games, such as card driven games, are far better with two players than solitaire.

I kept hearing about VASSAL but figured it was too hard, not worth the effort, how can you be sure you aren’t being cheated, blah, blah, blah, and then Capt_S nudged me in the right direction and we started playing Washington's War (my very favorite game) by e-mail. I loved it so much, that I started playing it all the time, and tried to “pay it forward” and strengthening our community by teaching others VASSAL or Washington’s War to new players through VASSAL. It became a great way to play games, teach games, learn games, and meet fellow wargamers. That’s how I met Lars, the previous GotW: he’s been teaching me Paths of Glory through VASSAL (and his patience is eternal, I might add).


Poll
Two (Mimbari) Truths and a Lie:
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
1) I beat Mark Herman in Washington's War at WBC last year.
38.7% 29
2) I got the equivalent of solitary confinement in high school after I tapped into the intercom system and sent a message across the school.
24.0% 18
3) My all-time favorite basketball player is Wilt Chamberlain, who attended the University of Kansas: my arch-rival.
37.3% 28
Voters 75
This poll is now closed.   75 answers
Poll created by greatredwarrior
Closes: Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:00 am


Allow me to start of the questions!

caravan Have you ever been outside of North America for more than 2 weeks?
lemoncamel What is the best multi-player game you've played?
orangecamel What game have you had the most knee-slapping/stupid fun playing?
goldencamel Are you ever going to play and review 1777: The Year of the Hangman

Don't forget to post the answer to your lies on Thursday or so, so that you people can get the answers!
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James Fehr
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Congrats airjudden! I hope this is a fun week for you.

So here are my questions for you:
- What do you like best about the game Washington's War that sets it apart from other wargames?
- What are the top 3 games you've never played that you'd like to play if given the chance?
- What is your favorite geeklist of all time (or a few of them)?
- What is your favorite Euro-game at the moment?

Have a super week, and try not to let the paparazzi get to you!
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Bill Lawson
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Congrats!!
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Ken Coble
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kiraly wrote:
Good choice, Lars!!

One question: Who's the master?


Some follow-ups to this question:

a) are you the meanest?

b) are you the prettiest?

c) most importantly, are you the baddest mo-fo low down round this town?

And congrats!
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Zarathustra
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Great choice!

Do you cry every time you realize that K-State is in the same state as KU and thus must always play second fiddle to the awesomeness of the Jayhawks?

This is a rhetorical question because of course you cry -- big slobbery tears. I don't blame you.
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Judy Krauss
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Congratulations, Airjudden! As you know, I appreciate your monthly geeklist. thumbsup
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Wendell
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Nice pick Lars, congrats.... um, Jud?

Your profile is really informative! Tell me more about that computer program you wrote that helps you select a menu & make a grocery list.

Do you do a lot of cooking and grocery shopping?

What's your favorite food?

What's the strangest thing (food) you ever ate?

What has less nutritional value - a marshmallow, a meeple, or a Squad Leader counter?
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skippen
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Congrats!
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Bob
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CONGRATULATIONS

Enjoy your week in the spotlight Judd!!! thumbsup

Question:

What is your most & least favorite game mechanic and why?

meeple
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ALREADY Amazing! Lissa
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Pete Belli
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Another fine GotW selection.

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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Pyuredeadbrilliant

This applies to the chooser and the choice.

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Est. 1949

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Congrats! Anyone that's a Dream Theater fan is alright by me.

What did you think of Portnoy leaving, DT's refusal of his offer to return after Avenged Sevenfold hired a full-time drummer and who do you think/know will, or can replace him?
and his replacement?

Edit: Just checked the net and apparently Mike Mangini is his replacement.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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A fine selection! Congratulations!
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Sean McQ
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Another grats
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Runcible Spoon
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Congrats!

I have thought about picking up Nexus Ops via trade here on BGG. What would be three good reasons for owning/playing it?

Also, I like your 4:1 New Years Resolution, if you stick to it it sounds like it might be good motivation to plow through more of your collection.

Edit: I need to use that 'preview' button more often
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Lucius Cornelius
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Congratulations, Airjudden!
Aren't there many twisters where you live?
Have you seen or caught by one before?
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Raimond
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Judd!

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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
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greatredwarrior wrote:


Allow me to start of the questions!

caravan Have you ever been outside of North America for more than 2 weeks?
lemoncamel What is the best multi-player game you've played?
orangecamel What game have you had the most knee-slapping/stupid fun playing?
goldencamel Are you ever going to play and review 1777: The Year of the Hangman



caravan My wife and I made a lifetime goal of seeing all U.S. National Parks, so our family travel has been devoted to meeting that goal (we just added Theodore Roosevelt National Park this last week). Our travels have taken us twice to Canada, but sadly, I have never been outside of the U.S. beyond that. But we do have more aggressive travel plans for our retirement years in the far-off future

lemoncamel Hard question. There are a lot of good ones, but I'll give the nod to Battlestar Galactica. The show was great and the game captures the spirit of the first few seasons. I also play with a neat group of guys in town so the table talk is exceptional.

orangecamel Another hard one, but I'll go with Nuclear Escalation. It's a dark humor card game for those who grew up in the cold war. If you get a big group with good table talk, the game is exceptional and the last time I played, I was playing with a bunch of comedians.

goldencamel You taunt me. When I read the reviews, I saw a common theme of the rules being unclear. When I tried it, I discovered the same. Without a VASSAL module or anyone around who plays it, I got gun shy, but I'll tell ya what: there's a short scenario, so I'll give another go in August. It is too beautiful of a game to sit on my shelf.
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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
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kiraly wrote:
Good choice, Lars!!

One question: Who's the master?


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Congratulations!!

Great choice Lars!
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ian morris
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Congratulations Judd, your continuation of the monthly "Wargames on your table" Geeklist is a "must visit" for me.

Will we be seeing you back in your B-17 in the Play-by-Forum any time soon ?



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Andy Beaton
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Congratulations! Yes another good choice!

I have some questions:
1) What's the most interesting historic site you've visited?
2) Have you tried ASL?
3) Who's your race of choice in SFB, and why?

Enjoy your week!
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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
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fehrmeister wrote:
Congrats airjudden! I hope this is a fun week for you.

So here are my questions for you:



Quote:
- What do you like best about the game Washington's War that sets it apart from other wargames?


Thanks so much!
The American Revolution is hard to simulate because how do you make a game where you lose most of the battles, yet still win the war? How can you motivate the underdog to fight winnable battles with little strategic importance, such as Trenton (a.k.a. "Washington crosses the Delaware.") Before Washington's War, the idea was to create a lot of victory point cities -- so many that the British could not cover them all, or if they spread the forces too thin, then the Americans could win. However, the cities had little to no strategic importance. The Brits conquered New York and held it for the duration. It did them no good. They conquered the American capitol and it had no importance.

We the People turned it upside down by creating a political game. It was better than its peers by far, but had a few problems: namely a smart American player could eventually build up a superior fighting force over time (as well as a few warts that came with pioneering the card driven game mechanic), and it couldn't make the Americans want to fight winnable/unimportant battles. Washington's War removed the CDG warts through a more intricate system for discarding and buying events. But more importantly, it made it impossible for the Americans to ever build up a huge fighting force by modeling the unreliability of the militia. Then it added a "French Track" where the French did not enter until the track reached the end. Certain events would move the track, but American victories also moved the track. That made the Americans WANT to go fight those non-strategic battles and makes the British player more hesitant to break up his forces.

Then to top it off, you can play the entire war in about 2 hours and really feel the frustrations and advantages of both sides. And outside of Twilight Struggle, it's probably the easiest and most accessible card driven game for those who do not play war games. Every time I play it, I marvel at the genius of Mark Herman for pulling off what seemed to be impossible, and doing it in a slick, polished, fast, and simple format.

(Sorry for the length, I tend to pontificate on this game)


Quote:
- What are the top 3 games you've never played that you'd like to play if given the chance?


I will leave For the People and Empire of the Sun off the list, since I own them and will play them within the year.

1) Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage - I hear it often listed as one of the three best card driven games out there. My buddy Barteus is a Roman history buff (he's been teaching me) and we'd love to play it. But I hear it doesn't work in PBEM VASSAL due to combat, but I still dream about giving this one a test drive.

2) Combat Commander: Europe or any of its variants. I hear its good and know nothing about it. Is it as simple as Memoir and Tide of Iron? Is it a step up? Is it too random? I've heard good things and I've heard about a couple of flaws in it, and it's too pricey for me to roll the dice on sight unseen.

3) Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83 - I've been hesitant to buy it because I think it would be hard to find opponents face-to-face and I didn't know if you could play a block game solitaire. At the same time, I can't turn down an American Revolution game.


Quote:
- What is your favorite geeklist of all time (or a few of them)?


1) Give me liberty or give me death! Gaming the American Revolution - When I was new to BGG, I stumbled on this. It was the most influential of all Geeklists and helped steer me toward many of the American Revolution games in my collection.

2) A Tribute to Ameritrash - Probably everyone has seen this. I have re-read it countless times. It is just priceless.

3) Boardgaming Religions - Another funny read

4) The Definitive Panzer Grenadier List - all those expansions explained! - Avalanche Press should pay Shad for all the work he does to promote their games. This was extremely useful for the P-G beginner.

5) Announcing the Cordwainer Bird Awards: GeekGold for OOP science fiction, fantasy and horror game reviews - My friend Aaron created this. When a guy puts up his GG to improve the BGG data base, that speaks volumes.



Quote:
- What is your favorite Euro-game at the moment?


That's a hard question. There are about 5 that I really like a lot: Power Grid, Automobile, Glory to Rome, and Battle Line, but if you are going to hold me to one, it would be Evo. I love dinosaurs, and this game has a surprisingly strong theme that I don't see in a lot of Euros, along with a random element, but my favorite part is artwork on the cards: goofy, fun, and cartoon-y.
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Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
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flintlocklaser wrote:
kiraly wrote:
Good choice, Lars!!

One question: Who's the master?


Some follow-ups to this question:

a) are you the meanest?

b) are you the prettiest?

c) most importantly, are you the baddest mo-fo low down round this town?

And congrats!


a) Sho Nuff!
b) Sho Nuff!
c) Sho Nuff!

Yeaaaaah!

Thanks -- hey, have I ever told you how cool your avatar is?
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