My Gaming Life... In GeekList Form
Ian Taylor
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On the unabridged community of joy that is the BGG forum, we regularly discuss questions like:

- What was the first board game you played?
- What games did you play as a kid?
- What is the game you have played most?
- What game got you into the hobby?
- What is your favourite game ever?

So I decided to make a GeekList, detailing the entire gaming history of my life. Now, rather than answering any of the above questions, I can just post a link to this list, which is easier on everyone.
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1. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.38 Overall Rank:17024]
Ian Taylor
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So many people's board gaming story starts with this sad, depressing, runt of a game. So many other stories that could have been ended when a poor unsuspecting schmuck played a six hour game of this with their cousins on a rainy November Saturday and afterwards vowed never to play another board game as long as they live.

I'm not sure if Monopoly was the first board game I played. In fact, I very much doubt it was. But it is the one that sticks out in my mind as one that my parents would pull out when I asked if we could play a game. It was a major relief when I was considered old enough to play Trivial Pursuit.
 
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2. Board Game: HeroQuest [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:563]
Ian Taylor
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By the time I started secondary school (Americans: read - High School) I had quite a collection of board games. None of them were amazing, but they were something I could play with my brother, or whoever else happened to be around.

Then along came HeroQuest. When I finally convinced my mum to let me buy it (she is religious and naturally suspicious of anything with fantasy elements in it) I was amazed at how cool it was. Actually I never played it that much really, but it opened my eyes to a lot of things that, until then, I didn't know existed. I made my first visit to a Games Workshop, which at the time seemed like the coolest shop in existence anywhere. And I realised I really liked geeky things with a fantasy element, and that it wasn't going to deliver me into the arms of Satan. Paraphernalia from Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, Fighting Fantasy and other such things started creeping into my bedroom when my mum wasn't looking. On the down side I became well and truly entrenched as a geek which, at that age, isn't a great social choice.
 
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3. Board Game: Blood Bowl (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:293]
Ian Taylor
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I had a friend called Lee growing up. He lived across the street and one day he told me he had bought this game called Blood Bowl. I had heard of it from my visits to Games Workshop, but I had never seen it played before and didn't know much about it. I assumed it was just another war game like Warhammer or 40k.

So Lee convinced me to play this game with him and we were both blown away. We spent hours and hours on evenings and weekends creating teams and smashing them against each other. There was no internet back then, if there were I am sure we would have been hunting for leagues and stuff we could play in, but in those days we didn't know anyone at school who played, so we just played with each other.

I would like to think that this contributed to my eventual decision to play American Football at college (and start a life-long interest in the game in general) a couple of years later, although whether it actually did or not is debatable. I certainly don't remember running around the pitch imagining myself 'rolling knockdowns' and 'passing armour rolls'.
 
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4. Board Game: Star Trek: Customizable Card Game (first edition) [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4649]
Ian Taylor
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At aged 18 I went to university, as people do. I played hardly any board games at uni at all but I did discover the wonder of CCGs. I had first encountered them through a friend at school and, being a casual Star Trek fan at the time, I bought some Star Trek TNG: CCG cards. At the time I never found anyone to play it with, but at uni I finally had a chance to play the game at the Star Trek society there. Such started a five year period of my life where I pretty much lived and breathed the game.

I played in dozens of tournament, travelling around the country and beyond to play them. I qualified for the World Championships three times, my best finish being 6th in 2000. I was ranked World #1 for a time. I made many lifelong friends playing the game, at university and afterwards too. Much of my social life revolved around the people that played in the London tournament scene and our drunken revelry at being young, dumb and full of cum.

A little sad? Pfft, maybe by accepted societal norms. But it was an incredible time of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
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5. Board Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:726]
Ian Taylor
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I'm still not sure whether this belongs in this list or not, it wasn't a game that really led me into anything else really. In fact it was the last Games Workshop game that I really played extensively. My friend Lee (see Bloodbowl entry) and I played for a couple of years after I graduated uni. The reason I am including it is that, looking back, there is so much about the game I liked and haven't really found a replacement for since. It was the first co-op I played and it also had the great advantage that it could be played solo (I was sort of 'between groups of friends' at the time). And I loved the randomness and brutality of it. I think my love of truly unpredictable randomness in games stems back to my days playing WQ.

My friend has just acquired a copy of Descent, so I hope this helps me recapture some of the fun I had playing this game 13 years ago.
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6. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:368]
Ian Taylor
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In 2001 I moved out of my parents' house and into a house with three friends. It was basically six months of crazy drunkenness, but one of my housemates had a nice collection of board games. Chez Geek, Settlers of Catan, Fluxx, Talisman, Gother Than Thou, Illuminati, Lunch Money... every night after we got back from the pub it seemed we had a different one to try.

Looking back on it now most of the games were not particularly great, but it showed me that your choice in board games wasn't limited to 'Games Workshop or Monopoly'. One game that was great was Roborally. We played with big boards and small boards and made up our own rules and everything. Our crazy 'studentesque' house broke up six months later, but we still pulled Roborally out at every opportunity for several years afterwards.
 
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7. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:152] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
Ian Taylor
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In 2001 the tournament scene for Star Trek CCG collapsed. This left a bunch of us floundering around in denial looking for something to scratch our CCG itch. We tried a few others, but eventually most of us realised how much money we were saving by not being hooked on the cardboard crack. I was one of the sad ones who relapsed a couple of years later.

With the advent of Magic Online I was able to get my CCG fix without leaving my bedroom. For the next few years I was massively into Magic. I drafted online, I wrote articles for Magic websites and eventually I started playing in 'real life' events too. Then suddenly I got hooked on poker and stopped playing Magic almost overnight. I missed Magic and often relapsed, but I poured my heart and soul into poker and it was nice to have a hobby that not only didn't cost anything but actually made me money for once.
 
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8. Board Game: The Great Dalmuti [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1225]
Ian Taylor
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Years later, I still struggle to really classify Dalmuti. On the face of it, it's a rather bland card game with a vaguely interesting hierarchy mechanic tagged on. Sort of fun, but mostly forgettable.

Unless of course you play it with alcohol.

Alcohol turns this from being just another dull card game to being possibly the most awesome drinking game ever invented. This is the first item on my list that I actually still play. Over the last fifteen years, my friends and I have turned into mostly respectable adults. But although the big nights out have got rarer and rarer, when they do occur there is a good chance they will end with a game of Dalmuti.

Once you start a game of Dalmuti you never know where the night will end up. Will you be wearing women's clothing? Will you have a waste bin on your head? Will you have clothes pegs attached to your nipples? Okay, so these days the more extreme of these don't happen so much, but it's still a great game to play if you're already drunk and want to get drunker.
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9. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:76] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Ian Taylor
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There's a bit of a time jump now. I played my first game of Dalmuti in 2001, but my first game of Dominion wasn't until 2011. So did I stop playing board games completely in that time? No, not at all. I had a settled group of friends and we pulled out games such as Catan, Puerto Rico, the aforementioned Roborally and, of course, Dalmuti fairly often. But we were no longer really part of the 'geek scene'. We didn't attend CCG tournaments any more and lost touch with any means to be introduced to new things. You could say we became insular.

Then one day a friend who lived in a different city, who had kept in touch with the geek scene, started talking about a game called Dominion. It sounded so great I just had to get a copy. I bought it, played it a few times with my wife and loved it. I invited a few friends over to try it and they all loved it too, most of them bought their own copy. Over the next 18 months, we played it at every opportunity buying several expansions. By now we had grown up and settled down, some of us were married, but we were still geeks at heart.
 
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10. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Ian Taylor
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Despite our new-found interest in board games, and Dominion in particular, we still never reconnected with the wider board game community immediately. Then the same friend that introduced me to Dominion invited me to come to a board game convention. I looked at their website and noticed they had a tournament that spanned several games. Most of them I had heard of, but two of them were new names to me - 7 Wonders and Agricola.

I wasn't interested in playing the tournament, but I was interested in knowing more about these two other games (that were obviously popular). I looked up 7W and it looked, to me, like a Dominion ripoff. Meh. Then I looked up Agricola and it got me far more excited. It looked like Puerto Rico except without all the aspects I hated about Puerto Rico.

About the same time I rediscovered BGG. I had registered several years previously but hadn't really stuck around (to be honest, I still find this website really user unfriendly). I randomly stumbled upon the English regional forum and happened upon a post from someone who lived just a few miles from me looking for people to play with. He mentioned Agricola, which immediately caught my attention. I fired off a quick response on a whim and started talking to my new friend. I arranged to join him and his wife and son for a gaming session, and as it turned out the first game we played was Agricola.

That was about six months ago now. I enjoyed playing Agricola, and still play it sometimes, but I wouldn't say it had a particularly special spot in my heart. It was just the game that proved the catalyst for submersing me head-first into modern board gaming.

What will the next item be on this list? Who knows!
 
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