Member of The Bearded
and one of the voices on I, Geek Podcast
Visit our site at www.igeekpodcast.com
.Gaming Enthusiast & Board Game Geek
I'm a life long gaming enthusiast who credits a misplaced Monopoly, the August 2003 issue of Games Magazine and my participation with BGG for revealing my inner board game geek. Here's a brief synopsis of my journey describing my progression from gamer to geek.Formative Gaming: Cardboard, Video & RPG
I grew up playing traditional American board games; classic Hasbro/Mattel/Milton Bradley/Parker Brothers titles such as Uno, Life, Battleship, Pictionary, Mille Bornes, Stratego, Mastermind, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly (played incorrectly with money on Free Parking and ignoring auctions). While my true affinity was for word games like Scrabble and Boggle, I fondly remember enjoying Raiders of the Lost Ark at a young age and also being captivated by Panzer Blitz which a friend's father allowed us to play once we'd advanced past Risk.
Video games have had a similar cultural influence on my life, having grown up alongside the advent of personal computing - I cut my teeth on a Timex Sinclair that played games off memory stored on cassette tapes. From the first Pong home console and Zork on a 5 1/4" floppy to online gaming and WiiWare, I've played most every video game system/format in between including countless quarters spent in arcades on the likes of Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, Tempest and Defender. Some of the more memorable titles I've enjoyed: Bard's Tale, Thief, Final Fantasy VII, Baldur's Gate, StarCraft, Age of Empires, Resident Evil and Planescape: Torment.
More a collector of D&D/AD&D source material than a player (only because I lacked regular gaming friends with whom to play), I did run my Neutral Good Ranger through several scenarios back in the day during a time when parents debated the influence of this game on the mental growth and maturation of our generation. Greyhawk was my favorite setting and the original Ravenloft adventure was by far the best module in my collection.Game Modding: "Board it up!"
Serendipitously finding a misplaced Monopoly under the couch was my first step toward board game geekhood. Friends and I learned to play the game correctly and then modded it by replacing cash with graphing calculators, enforcing quick gameplay and implementing a mutually beneficial trading round once an agreed upon majority of properties were collected. These mods allowed us to play in under an hour including 10-15 minutes of tense trade negotations which occasionally upstaged actual game play. We routinely played 3-4 games nightly at least three times a week. "Board it up!" became our rallying cry to hit the gaming table much to the vexation of our non-gaming friends and spouses who tired of our excessive board gaming.Gamer's Game: German-Style Boardgaming
My appreciation for Euro/Designer games began with an intriguing article by Skip Maloney
in Games Magazine Issue 192 about the newly released Puerto Rico. What struck me about this "gamer's game" was the description of its varied strategies along with an unusual game play dynamic, the role selection mechanic. I immediately bought a copy at my FLGS, the former Lone Star Comics & Games, along with copies of Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne to round out my foray into German-Style board gaming. All three were equally impressive and proved a perfect gateway gaming trifecta to lure me into this board gaming hobby. Naturally, I began hosting game nights to introduce these games to my friends who purchased and then introduced them to their friends... and so on and so on.The Geek: Destination & Designation
That same Games Magazine article introduced me to The Geek. It took several years but I slowly moved from visitor (2003) to member (2006) to supporter (2007-15) and BGG.CON attendee (2009-11, 13-15). When family and friends learn you're spending several days to attend a board gaming convention, "geek" is one of many designations earned for your choice of spent spare time, but it's one I'll gladly own up to.
Fellow BGGers understand my appreciation of an ever-expanding library of games (over the objection of my lovely wife) which beckons a gathering of friends around the table for camaraderie, friendly competition and mental stimulation. So go ahead and press the pages of my gaming passport with a meeple stamp for I've arrived at board game geekdom and I intend to enjoy my stay.My Gaming Table: Gamer Profile
I play with friends as time permits and with family as their reluctance allows. I often game during lunch and board it up with my regular gaming group (known as The Bearded
) every other week or so. What usually hits my gaming table is a Euro, casual, abstract or 2-player game along with the occasional session of D&D. Check out the lists below for more of my gaming preferences.
Concerning my avatar: I feel a suitable avatar should be reflective of your personality and memorable to others. Mine is inspired by my love of word play. (My overtext contains another example.) The picture comes from Cirque du Soleil's Quidam and features the title character, a man without a head carrying an umbrella. Quidam is described as a nameless passerby, and that also just seemed somehow appropriate.
Concerning a few of the microbadges I've purchased: I'm credited as being good at explaining rules, I enjoy the challenge a game provides moreso than just winning, I proudly wear a kilt (whether at my wedding or to the bowling alley), I consider it a privilege and a joy to be raising along with my wife two beautiful daughters, my main interest outside of board gaming is disc golf, and as the pictures below indicate I juggle... clubs and torches... while skiing... backwards - it's a talent.My Ratings: Opinions on Games
I rate games as follows: I think of BGG's 10-point scale more as a 5 star scale based around the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 & 9 and using the even numbers 2, 4, 6 & 8 as half stars between the odd numbers which leaves 10 as my "goes to 11" rating. While ratings are useful, I find comments even more so which is why I strive to include my thoughts along with my ratings.
10 > OUTSTANDING/Superior - exceptional, personal favorite
9 > EXCELLENT
/Remarkable - wonderful to play, impressive
8 > VERY GOOD/Great - relish playing
7 > GOOD
/Acceptable - enjoy playing
6 > OK/Satisfactory - somewhat fun or challenging to play
5 > AVERAGE
/Mediocre - take it or leave it, meh
4 > NOT SO GOOD/Undesirable - prefer not to play
3 > BAD
/Unacceptable - avoid playing
2 > ANNOYING/Intolerable - detest playing
1 > HORRIBLE
/Worthless - not worth playing, forget about it
0 > UNRATED/No Comment - unplayed
My top ranked and best loved games.
Current favorites I've played recently.
The last few games I've boarded up!RPGGeek Honor: Roleplaying XP RPG GotW #245 - 3 Oct 2014My RPGGeek Site-wide Adventure, PbF & Virtuacon Games: Huzzah! GeekBot-3000
[20 April 2011] Dungeon of Doom
[31 July 2011] Played as The Bard; my favorite response
[29 Sept - 20 Oct 2011/1 Mar 2013] My first PbF game which fizzled out at its climax when a player bowed out after a month (even despite an attempt to revive it over a year later); played as Jack
. Mountains of Madness
[4 Jan 2012] Played as Dwarven Rogue Griffin along with Makis' Rawthbone McFinnigin.*The Beacon at Enon Tor
/OOC [26 Jan 2012 - ongoing]
This mutli-part adventure is still ongoing despite a quiet spell
and temporary hiatus; playing as Human Magic-User Kendrik
.*Tomb of Horrors
/OOC [5 Jan 2013 - ongoing]
This tournament level adventure is limping along after losing half our party to a lava slide of death; playing as Human Ranger Tholan Wyderhul
.*Escape from Barrister Keep
[10 Jan - 16 Apr 2013] Completed introduction to Pathfinder; played as Halfing Bard Bart
.*(Escape From) The Brass Prison of Death!
[11 Jan - 7 Aug 2013] Completed introduction to Tunnels and Trolls and then continued adventure a while longer through summer; played as Troll Warrior Orum
.*Brent Johnson's First Steps Part 2
[13 May - 14 July 2013] Completed "first" adventure in the series (starting with 2nd part to finish before being decomissioned) with Human Ranger Rothul Wyderhul
, older brother of Tholan.Brent Johnson's First Steps Part 3
[18 July - 27 Sept 2013] Completed "second" adventure in the series with Rothul Wyderhul
.*The Mystery of Daggervale
/OOC [22 Sept 22, 2013 - ongoing]
This adventure is ongoing despite several gruesome deaths and near-deaths of our party members; playing as Elf Fighter/Magic-User Ferro
[Sep 26, 2013 - 6 Jan 2016] This adventure finally finished
first thanks to catching its second wind with the addition of new players and next thanks to the DM's return after a couple lengthy breaks in play; playing as Cleric Bruce
.*Brent Johnson's First Steps Part 1
[3 Oct 2013 - 31 Jan 2014] Completed "third" adventure in the series with Rothul Wyderhul
.The Temple of Poseidon
[19 Oct 2013] A new experience playing via webcams which was only hampered by Sly's bad connection and Sten being bothered by his family throughout; played as Dwarven Fighter/Thief.*Eddie's D&D 5th Edition Starter box game
[5 July - 24 Aug 2014] Introduction to new D&D 5E which was abruptly canceled
unfortunately; played as Kerim Youngblood
.*D&D 5e DDEX1-1 Defiance in Phlan Part 1 (Levels 1-2)
[30 Aug - 3 Sept 2014] Exploration of new D&D 5E which ended
as soon as it began due to public play/copyright issues; played as Aiferbunden “Narls” Gnarlywood
.*[D&D Grit] [Group 2A IC] - CHAPTER 1 - Neverwinter Outskirts
[16 May 2015 - 15 Oct 2015] Played D&D 5e with segregated groups of adventurers using tougher wound and healing rules and tackling a customized version of Lost Mines of Phandelver with each group's adventure starting separately from one another. My character Jabo
was paired with a Goliath to start. Our adventure unfortunately ended
prematurely after some memorable fights.*2nd Party: The Lost City (B4), Part 1: Storm and Shelter
[5 July 2015 - 18 Jan 2016] Old school D&D adaption using Labyrinth Lord rules with plenty of traps to test Kem
. Our adventure ended
after exploring only a few rooms.