Celebration of a gamer's life: soundinvestor, Ryan Walter, from Regina, SK, Canada
Greg Williams
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On the evening of January 4th, a very good friend of mine passed away. His username on BGG is soundinvestor, to me he was Ryan Walter. This geeklist is a tribute to him, his life, his beautiful family, and the great impact he had on countless lives, and my life.

I've only heard details of his passing from my parents and other friends in Regina, so I'll try to be sensitive about not posting things I don't know for sure, and I'll edit if I get any details wrong. I understand that he was admitted to hospital earlier in the week with respiratory trouble that was finally diagnosed as the H1N1 flu. By that point his condition was critical, and he was put into an induced coma in ICU, and he passed on Saturday night.

We weren't born to the same parents, but Ryan was truly a brother to me. We had so much in common. We both like to play badminton, we both married relatively young and have large families, we are both from Saskatchewan, we're both Mormon, i.e. belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we're both avid board game fans and collectors. We're both the same age, 35 years old in 2013.

These are some of my memories with Ryan. If you knew him, feel free to share your memories or experiences with him.
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1. Board Game: Go West! [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:5627]
Greg Williams
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Ryan and I didn't grow up together, and I'm not positive when we first met. I only really remember getting to know him first in 2005 or 2006, playing boardgames. He and some friends organized a New Years Day game day in Regina, at the local church, and I was in Regina visiting my parents for the holidays and decided to join them for the day. I was living in Montreal at the time and had just discovered German games. I think Go West was the first game we played together. He thought it was underrated.
 
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2. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
Greg Williams
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Over the next couple of years I attended a few of those annual New Years Day game days if we were in town, and I had a great time. He introduced me to El Grande and Mr. Kramer.
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3. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Greg Williams
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He introduced me to Tigris and Euphrates and Dr. Knizia.
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4. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:342]
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He introduced me to Wallenstein and Mr. Henn. These remain some of my favourite games.
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5. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:487]
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In 2008 I moved back to Regina for work, and Ryan was living in Albert Park there close to the neighbourhood where I grew up. My wife and I got to be friends with Ryan and Alicia a bit more and played some games together. I recall one particular night when Ryan absolutely crushed us in Reef Encounter. My wife still doesn't like the game, but I do.
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6. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Greg Williams
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I bought Railways of the World on Ryan's advice. He gave good advice.
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7. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:231]
Greg Williams
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Fast forward a few years, my contract ended and I was unemployed for a few months. Ryan was a big support for me, a real friend. We both volunteered actively at church, I was helping to organize a youth group and Ryan was serving as Bishop in our local congregation - a big responsibility for a young guy with a growing family. Its an unpaid volunteer position, conducting the Sunday services and being responsible for all the local church programs and taking care of all the members of the congregation. He spent a lot of his evenings counselling, comforting, and meeting with people. I saw Ryan a lot during those job-hunting months, and he was a pillar for me. He was a reference for me to get the job I did working for SaskTel, the local internet/phone company.
 
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8. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
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Ryan loved this game. Before he got married, he was a missionary for the church in Japan for 2 years.
 
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9. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1018]
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While I was working at SaskTel, I applied for my current job, forensic scientist in firearm and toolmark identification, with the RCMP. Before my interview for the job, I didn't have much firearms experience, but Ryan helped me fix that. He taught me a lot about guns and shooting. Ryan liked firearms a lot, and he was very generous with his time and expertise, teaching me and building up my confidence. By this time Ryan and his family had moved from Regina to a small farm out of town, and he a had a great place out back where we could do some target shooting together.
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10. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
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Ryan and Alicia have 6 beautiful children, aged from a year and a half to around 13 years old. Four daughters and two sons, growing so fast. No surprise he loved Agricola... Ryan's family meant the world to him. Their loss is what hits me the hardest. I pray for God to be with them.
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11. Board Game: Cashflow 101 [Average Rating:5.11 Overall Rank:15179]
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Ryan worked to support his family with a variety of jobs and business ventures. I don't know his exact history, but he was a real entrepreneur, starting up several successful companies that did basement restoration work, real estate investments, and such. He sold those companies and paid his way through an MBA degree and worked doing management consultant work. In recent years he also had his farm and kept bees. In everything he did for work, he was smart, and he worked hard. And he knew a thing or two about investments... look at his username, soundinvestor. In his game comments he recommends this game for the investment principles.
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12. Board Game: CATAN 3D Collector's Edition [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.88 Unranked]
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In 2011 Ryan invited me to attend FRAGCon, the local boardgaming community convention. Ryan had been attending the FRAG game days and cons for years – I know that he won a big Settlers of Catan tournament a few years earlier and the prize was the huge 3D Catan collectors set. I played some games with Ryan and had a good time at the convention.
 
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13. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:48]
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I was lucky enough to play his copy of this a few times with him. And lose badly.
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14. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:119]
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In 2012 Ryan asked if I'd be interested in helping organize the 2013 FRAGCon. He was taking on a new project and didn't have time to help out with the convention anymore. I joined the FRAGCon team to help organize the convention in Regina. I got to meet some very nice gamers there, and enjoyed attending as many events at the con as I could. I entered the Tichu tournament and had a blast. Ryan was my partner for a game in the tournament, and my win with him got me enough points to make the final table, where I ended up winning. I think that game of Tichu at the con was my last game ever with Ryan. And Ryan was the person who taught me how to play Tichu. He could sure play.
 
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15. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:508]
Greg Williams
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Besides Agricola, Web of Power was the only other game he rated 10/10 on BGG. Last August I was transferred with my job and family away from Regina to Ottawa. We didn't travel back to Saskatchewan for Christmas. But on New Years Day here in Ottawa I played boardgames with my family and I remembered good times. I'll never forget Ryan Walter. Nor will the hundreds of families he touched and cared for throughout his life.
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16. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1069]
Dale Thomson
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Saskatoon
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Ryan was not a close friend of mine, but I certainly looked to him as a leader and mentor. His kind and caring attitude towards all those around him was inspiring. I looked to him as an example of a loving husband and dedicated father.

I had the opportunity to volunteer with him as a bishop's secretary, and I was constantly inspired by this man's love for others, as well as his faith in God.

Ryan definitely influenced my love of boardgames. I was able to attend quite a few game nights with him, and he always had some new game to introduce. I distinctly remember playing the fun little filler pickomino, which he told me he enjoyed with his family. I also have memories of playing a few games of agricola, and he sure could play!

I played a few games with my wife last night, in memory of a great man.
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17. Board Game: Behind Every Good Man [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Drew Thomson
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This is the end; hold your breath and count to ten; feel the earth move and then; hear my heart burst again
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"We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson
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My parents told me about this yesterday. Very sad to hear and my heart goes out to his family...

I never had the opportunity to game with Ryan, and did not know him very well, but I knew him well enough to be able to tell that he was a great man.

Thanks for writing this tribute, Greg.

Drew
 
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