Remembrance of Things Past
Gil Hova
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Jersey City
New Jersey
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I've been playing games as far back as I can remember. The more I look through BGG, the more I come across games from my childhood. Some are obvious (Candyland, Payday, Chutes and Ladders), but I fell into more obscure games as I grew older. The sight of some of these games, even just a stupid GIF file, has sent me on a Proust-like bend to look for as many of these games as I can.

An important note to understand: my mom is a great person, but she loves yard sales. And she hates clutter; she can't bear to see anything lying around, not being used. As a result, most of the games listed below have long been sold to families with more of a "pack rat" mentality.

With my wife's authorization, perhaps it might be time to start haunting eBay and the Board Game Geek Marketplace...
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1. Board Game: Oh What a Mountain! [Average Rating:4.95 Overall Rank:13485]
Gil Hova
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Jersey City
New Jersey
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CHAPTER ONE - CHILDHOOD GAMES

This was one of the first games I remember playing. Also, my introduction to a lifelong dillemma: finding people to play against. I threw a temper tantrum when my dad didn't want to play me one night. I think I was seven at the time.

Obviously, it's a children's game, with gimmicky plastic boulders and other hazards trying to knock your climbers off the eponymous mountain. Nevertheless, there's little I wouldn't do to play this again. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.
 
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2. Board Game: Stop Thief [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:3114]
Gil Hova
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Jersey City
New Jersey
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One of the first games I remember playing solitaire. I can't recall if it was designed for solitaire play (one player vs. the thief), or if I played as more than one player. The audio-only clues were excellent for a hungry child's imagination; I logged a lot of hours with that funny-looking device. A game I'm seriously thinking of picking up from the BGGM... if I could justify it to my wife.
 
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3. Board Game: Monopoly Playmaster [Average Rating:5.13 Overall Rank:13449]
Gil Hova
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Monopoly was as revered twenty years ago as it is now by the general public as a gaming classic. I can probably point to this as a reason I can't find very many gaming opponents. So I figure that Parker Bros. probably released this to speed up gameplay. Didn't really work; I don't ever remember finishing a game of Monopoly as a kid, even with this gizmo. Probably quit thirty minutes in, tops.
 
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4. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:621]
Gil Hova
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Ironic, huh? I'm now entering a second gaming career, this time as an adult. One of the first things I heard was, "play a Sid Sackson game." Little did I know at the time that I already have. This was another one I played alone, but I pictured it as a game show. I was the host, and I would politely tease contestants who tried to push their luck too far.

With the help of eBay, this is one of the few games on this list in my possession. It's nice to have a common link to something I did twenty years ago.
 
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5. Board Game: Bounty Hunter: Shootout at the Saloon [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:13334]
Gil Hova
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New Jersey
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CHAPTER TWO - ADOLESCENT GAMES

Our neighbor had this game, and it blew my little mind at the time. I remember thumbing through the books, exploring the western town and trying to off bounty hunters. Never played Ace of Aces, and this makes me wish I had. I'd be happy to snag either game through eBay or BGGM; something tells me my wife would enjoy it.
 
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6. Board Game: Last Starfighter: Duel In Space [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Gil Hova
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Jersey City
New Jersey
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I went to a science-fiction convention when I was ten, and I must have had eyes the size of dinner plates. So much cool stuff! This is one of the things I came home with: a two-player space combat game based on the movie "The Last Starfighter" heavily influenced by the above-mentioned Ace of Aces. Alas, I don't recall the movie as fondly as well as I recall the games it spawned (though it was ahead of its time; all its space scenes were computer-generated, well before computer graphic inserts were a staple in special effects).

Both players had paper discs that tracked their opponent's profile relative to their sights. Each player would announce his move, and the other would track that move in his disc. Damage was marked off with cardboard counters on a scoring track, one for each player. I'd gaze longingly at this while slogging through homework, and sometimes I'd take a break to do a bit of battling. As low as the game rating is, I wouldn't mind owning it again, so I could gaze longingly at it while doing the dishes...
 
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7. Board Game: Globbo! [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:10674]
Gil Hova
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New Jersey
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Another of the few games in this list I still own. Cover is slightly torn, all pieces are present and accounted for, and no, I am not selling it, even though I have just as much difficulty finding opponents for it today as I did back then. Perhaps I can convince my wife to give it a shot... though she hated Ogre, I'd imagine it wouldn't be easy...
 
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8. Board Game: Doctor Who: The Game of Time & Space [Average Rating:5.41 Overall Rank:13691]
Gil Hova
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CHAPTER THREE - SPLIT PERSONALITY

Two sides of the growing geek: the first was a mad obsession with the great, noble, and cheesy English sci-fi series. I can't explain the psychological damage I incurred in school because I liked this show.

Lousy game though, which I can confirm; this sits on my game shelf today, with Tom Baker's ugly glare boring holes in my gaming bookshelf. How could they misspell Leela's name? Phillistines.
 
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9. Board Game: Statis Pro Baseball [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:2766]
Gil Hova
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The other side of the growing geek: the side that was in denial of my overwhelming geekdom, and that forced me into trying athletics. I failed miserably at almost all sports, with the exception of street hockey, because I was a half-decent goalie (the requirement for half-decent being "not jumping out of the way of the puck when it's shot in your direction". Anyhoo, I followed sports religiously, especially the New York Mets in the mid-'80s (a habit I got out of when I went to college in Boston ten years later, and that I've since relapsed into... for better or, considering their performance the last three seasons, for worse).

The image selected here is the version I had. Of course, having Dwight Gooden (remember when he was a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame?) featured on the cover not once but TWICE probably explains why I played this before I played the more accepted (and just as good) Strat-O-Matic baseball.

Still, I remember thinking to myself at the time... "Geez, whoever painted the cover must be pretty dumb... he forgot to include the team names and logos on the players' uniforms."
 
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10. Board Game: Car Wars [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2065]
Gil Hova
United States
Jersey City
New Jersey
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CHAPTER FOUR - SO MUCH FOR MINIATURES AND WARGAMES, AND GAMES IN GENERAL

The first game I encountered with a strong underground following... or so I heard. Finding opponents was difficult, because once you got past the theme, it didn't have much to appeal to the average 11-year old, with all that dice-rolling and recordkeeping and DON'T HIT THE TABLE! So, I played it solo. I remember setting up a race at an arena (through the DuelTrack expansion), and psyching myself up for a good three-to-five lap race. The cars all blew each other to pieces before they finished the first turn. I understand Steve Jackson has improved the mechanics in subsequent editions... I'd certainly hope so.
 
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11. Board Game: Druid: Boudicca's Rebellion, 61 A.D. [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:6240]
Gil Hova
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Jersey City
New Jersey
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I can't remember exactly how I got this game: I think I made a big order at West End games (I loved Paranoia, though I only got my friends to play once or twice). They sent a copy of this wargame as a bonus; perhaps they were overstocked. I played solitaire once or twice, but it never really got me. Wargames, at least those based on a specific historical event, have never been my cup of tea. Still, this one brings back some memories; especially that the above-mentioned big order of West End games was stolen from me by some kids a couple of grades higher.

That killed it for me; I didn't touch games for years. I threw myself into athletics, which I was awful at; once I figured that out, I threw myself even harder into music, which I was much better at... though the fact I haven't touched a guitar in five years is probably a good thing for humanity. Then I finished college (sorta), moved back home (sorta), and fell right back into sports, and most recently, games.

And happily, I do have people to play against, though it's tricky. My wife plays quite a few games against me, and for larger multiplayer games, we drive two hours to Pennsylvania to get our monthly fix. If anyone living in northern New Jersey is reading this, drop me a line; you may just have found an eager opponent!
 
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