Games From Christmas Past
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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My parents threw every holiday gathering at our house but none rivaled Christmas. My grandparents would always show up early, a car full of presents and nothing but smiles for everyone. Then the aunts, uncles, cousins and their girl/boy friends, friends of the family, and people that touched our lives in some way that year would all come next, filling the house with laughter and food and presents. Every year my mother said "Never again!" and every year the house filled to bursting again.

Those people made me the gamer I am today. My first Dungeons & Dragons, a shiny red box with a picture on the cover that set my imagination into overdrive, was a Christmas gift from a very cool grandmother who didn't realize just how many doorways she opened for me that day. My first video game came in brightly wrapped box with a bow. Christmas not only meant great food and family, it was a launchpad for my imagination and new board games were always some of my favorite gifts.

This is a list celebrating all of those games that we got for the greatest holiday of the year; the games that brought our friends and family to the table as soon as the turkey was forgotten and the rules could be deciphered.
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1. Board Game: Electronic Battleship [Average Rating:4.70 Overall Rank:15244]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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This was a big one for me when I was young and almost cost me my entire Christmas as my curious nature overcame my common sense and I went snooping at the encouragement of my cousin. (That cousin that always got me into trouble.) Classic battleship with programming, Electronic Battleship was much more fun to look at in the Wishbook than it was to actually play, but it still tops the list as one of my favorite Christmas board game gifts.
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2. Board Game: Dark Tower [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2128]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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Dark Tower is a turning point for me because it changed what I knew as a board game, small plastic pieces scurrying from point A to point B for no particular reason other than to beat the other player reaching point B before you, into a fantasy romp that caused mine and my friends' imaginations to soar. I highly suggest not only playing a copy of this on your Android or iPhone for a blast of nostalgia.
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3. Board Game: Starship Troopers [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2314]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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I saw this game in a catalog and recognized the title as one of my dad's books that I had read when I was very young (and missed the point of entirely, I might add!). I asked for and received this Avalon Hill game at the tender age of 9 and once I had gotten the box unwrapped finally got to take a look at the contents promptly put it aside for 4 years.

When I finally did decipher all of the rules, I found what is still one of my favorite strategy games. A friend and I wound up playing this game until we rubbed the ink off the counters and I finally had to discard it when I reached my twenties.
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4. Board Game: Outreach: The Conquest of the Galaxy, 3000AD [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:5778]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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Outreach came to me as the result of many hours of watching one of my uncles play Barborossa with his friends. I loved the counters, the multitudes of rules, and watching them deconstruct a full scale battle into a series of turns. Being a fan of SSI games, he had a catalog and I asked for this game for Christmas when I was just 8 years old.

Unfortunately I had to wait another 4 years to understand the rules completely but it because one of my favorite and most loved games. Last year, I found nearly a mint copy of this game and have been able to play it again. It still holds up well, even if it does show a little age.
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5. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:215]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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Dune came from my looking through a catalog (I don't remember which one, but my uncle D always had the best catalogs) that my aunt and uncle had in their magazine rack. I saw the game and, having read and loved the book, I knew I had to have it. Aside from D&D, this is probably one of the most influential games from my youth.
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6. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.19 Overall Rank:15341]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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Ah, Life. What can I say? Its 100% random, has paper money, and the people NEVER stay in the car. But as a child, it was textural with its 3D board and the cars and people, fun, and it brought my mom and dad to the table. I still own a copy today and my son loves every bit as much as I did at his age so, The Game of Life endures in a sea of much better games!
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7. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:15339]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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I'm cheating a bit here as I am rolling in numerous copies of this game into one listing. I received so many copies of so many versions of this game over years and years of Christmases that I can hardly recount them all.

As a side note, my cousin, who was both 5 years older than me and somewhat of a masochistic kind of game player, consistently talked me into playing this game so he could not just beat me, but do so so completely that by the end of the game I would be promising him real life items just to get through another roll of the dice. Regardless, I played him every chance I got just to spend time with my "cool" older cousin.
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8. Board Game: Mouse Trap [Average Rating:4.09 Overall Rank:15337]
Shane Peery
United States
North Richland Hills
Texas
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Ah, Mouse Trap, the classic Milton Bradley game of lost parts and warped plastic. I'm still not sure if I ever really played this game as it was intended or just spent many frustrating hours trying to get all of the parts actually working together. Regardless, I received this game for Christmas at an early age and spent many hours with it open on my floor in front of me and I think back on it now with a little love and a little frustration.
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9. Board Game: Bowl Bound [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:4311]
Mitch Willis
United States
Kathleen
Georgia
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My favorite Christmas gift wasn't from Santa nor was it from my parents. I was 13 years old, fixin' to be 14, when I received this from my brother...it was 1975 and Davy (my next oldest brother) gave me a package deal: Sports Illustrated College Football (later known as Bowl Bound) along with a paperback copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. The game kept me entertained for more than a dozen years and was one of the reasons it took me 6 years to get my degree. The book introduced me to fantasy fiction and has entertained me (directly & indirectly) for more than 30 years. This was my "Red Ryder B-B Gun" moment...
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10. Board Game: Blue Max [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:1644]
Alfred Wallace
United States
Champaign
IL
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I got a lot of games for gifts growing up; for a while, before I had much money of my own (i.e., could push a lawn mower), it was my only source of games. (I shudder to think of such times.) Anyway, I also got a lot of games about planes because my parents worked at McDonnell Douglas. One year, I got Blue Max. It hit the table...probably the next night, but it was one where my dad and I fought dogfight after dogfight. I still have it, a treasured item.

I remember opening it up, and seeing the name of the company: Game Designers' Workshop. I asked if that meant I had to design the game myself. "No, no no!" I was assured. I was kind of disappointed.

I got Blue Max one year, Patton's Best (underrated game)--and Strat-o-Matic Baseball twice, once as a wee lad and again a couple of years ago, when the Negro Leagues players came out. My dad and I used to play a game most nights of the baseball season years and years before; we decided to play again, now that I was in my thirties. We had to refresh ourselves on the rules...and we made it about three innings before it got too hard to continue. Too much dust in the air.
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