The Gaming Evolution of My Wife
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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My wife was not a gamer when I married her. My proudest achievement in my near-29 short years is converting her to such a level of uber-geekdom that she now goes to GenCon with me, recruits people for our weekly games night at her job, and wants to volunteer for Out of the Box Games because she thinks the owner's son is cool. How did I do it? One man's plan...
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1. Board Game: Balderdash [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1500]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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On our very first date, long before she even knew I had eyes for her, we played Balderdash. It was at the point where she jabbed her finger at me in glee when she beat me that I knew I had a potential gamer on my hands.
 
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2. Board Game: Clue: Dungeons & Dragons [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:8736]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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Of course, back then, I thought being a gamer just meant playing D&D. Boy, was I to find out otherwise. (Sorry for D&D Clue, but D&D isn't on BoardGameGeek, obviously.)
 
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3. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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We were married in 1997. In 1998, when I went to GenCon, I decided to hunt for a game or two my wife would like. I noticed a ton of people playing this funny looking game that had a modular board, which I thought was neat from playing Twilight Imperium. I figured, well, if it's like Twilight Imperium, maybe I'd like it, and if it's "family oriented," maybe she'd like it. Our copy of Settlers is now falling completely apart, we've played it so much.
 
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4. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:468]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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By the next year at GenCon, we were still playing Settlers, but I wanted something new. I had, by this point, introduced Settlers to enough people that people would call us and ask to come over to play. If we were busy, they'd ask to borrow it. So I went hunting for another game that my wife would enjoy. I came home with Union Pacific, I believe (though I might have bought it right after GenCon) and it was a big hit. This was a huge breakthrough, because Union Pacific doesn't have dice. Thus my wife was introduced to at least the idea of a deeper strategy game.
 
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5. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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By 2000, I had learned that if a game had won the Spiele, that it was likely to appeal to my wife. I was still doing all the game shopping and buying at this time, and I kept trying to find games that we both would enjoy. So I came home with Tikal. Although it wasn't to become one of our all-time favorites, it still got its fair share of playing time, and in my opinion was the deepest strategy game we'd played yet. Now we were starting to amass a sizable collection of games, and we had many choices when inviting people over to play games.
 
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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2001: The breakthrough year. I finally talked Sarah into coming with me to GenCon. She arrived on Friday night, with her sister along for protection. On Saturday morning, she visited the exhibit hall for the first time, and by Saturday at noon, she was dragging me from booth to booth to meet all the nice game designers. (I had never even spoken to them!) She loved meeting "Rio Grande Jay" as she called him (to distinguish him from me -- for those of you who don't know, he owns Rio Grande). So we came home with a bunch of Rio Grande games, including Carcassonne, which is still one of our absolute favorites. By the end of GenCon, Sarah told me that she was going for four days in 2002.
 
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7. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
 
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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And she did. While I role-played, she met up with a bunch of people from Chicago that called her on the cell phone at all hours of the day to come play her latest board game obsession -- Puerto Rico. When she got me to play this game, I knew it was all over. Puerto Rico isn't a light, easy game -- it's strategy all the way, and it's hard, especially compared to Balderdash. The biggest deal of this game was that she found it, she demoed it, and she talked me into getting it (not that it was a hard sell). I had never even heard of it. Wow, a gaming wife... I'm living the dream.
 
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8. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1076]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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At the 2003 GenCon, Sarah was in full force. She visited all her friends at Out of the Box, Looney Labs, Rio Grande, Days of Wonder, and so forth. We came home with a shopping list of games to pick up at our local store. For the first year ever, she spent more money than me. Our favorite purchase this year was probably Mystery of the Abbey, which she thought some of MY FRIENDS would enjoy. Now who's the master and who's the apprentice, eh? (Secretly, I think she just enjoys it when I forget to ring the bell so she can send me to penance.)
 
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9. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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After GenCon, something happened that I never thought I'd witness. Now, during all these six years of my converting her to official Board Game Geek, I still continued to play strategy games like Axis and Allies and Twilight Imperium. But she wouldn't touch those, except very rarely, because they were too long, or just too much like war. So when she told me she wanted to try my favorite purchase of the convention, I was stunned. After playing once, she's ready to try it again. I think you'll all agree that we've come a long way from Settlers, let alone Balderdash.
 
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10. Board Game: John Prados' Third Reich [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:4773] [Average Rating:6.39 Unranked]
Jay Moore
United States
Webster Groves
Missouri
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And next year? Who knows? Will I be the one shirking from a game because of its ridiculously excessive length? Will she roll her eyes at me when I ask for the third time what the combat value of my Panzer is? Will she have to be out of the house one night a week for "gaming with her friends from the game store?" Will she drag me to that Avalon Hill convention up in New England? Who knows what the future holds?
 
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