A Gaming Odyssey (In Celebration of 5 Years on BGG)
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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I reached my BGG 5-year anniversary on May 18th, and I thought I’d take some time to reflect on how games have helped shape my life.
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1. Board Game: Blackjack [Average Rating:4.57 Overall Rank:15308]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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I lived in a 3-family house with my grandparents until age 5, and still visited them often after we moved to the suburbs. My grandfather taught me to play blackjack at a very young age, and it was my favorite card game for many years. We even played with real money - 1 cent and 5 cent bets (he supplied the money). If I managed to win a whole dollar, he’d give me a dollar bill to keep. We also played a lot of Checkers, Chinese Checkers, and Parcheesi. We developed a very close relationship playing games together. When he passed away, I inherited his Checkers board and a deck of cards.
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2. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:15339]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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Like many kids, I owned a copy of Monopoly, and I thought this was what board games were all about. I played often, mostly against my younger sister. When she didn’t want to play, I’d play by myself. This was the first game I can recall playing solo. I have no desire to play Monopoly these days, but I still respect it for being one of the catalysts for my love of games.
 
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3. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1185]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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After 8th grade, I switched from public school to private school. I didn’t know a single person in my freshman class. I walked into geography class one day, and in the back of the room was an A&A board set up with all the pieces. The teacher explained it to me, and I was immediately hooked. I went out and bought my own copy and played with my teacher and some students during free periods and after school. This was not only a great game, but also a great way to make friends. One of the players ended up being my best friend throughout high school.
 
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4. Board Game: Boggle [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:1959]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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I met my wife during my sophomore year in college. I spent a lot of time just hanging out in her dorm room while she studied. She thought I was lazy and didn’t take college very seriously. Really, I just found the coursework to be not very challenging. She later admitted that she considered breaking up with me due to my "questionable work ethic and maturity". And then one day, we played Boggle, one of her favorite games. I put up some big scores, which surprised her. We played some other games, and she realized I was actually a pretty smart guy. She was impressed enough to stick with me. So, I guess I owe my marriage to Boggle.
 
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5. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14523]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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While in college, I often played Risk with my wife and some friends. Six-player games were the norm, 3 guys and 3 girls. The girls had a reputation for entering into an "understanding" where they wouldn’t attack each other unless necessary. All of the Risk players still stay in touch, and 3 of them were even in my wedding party.
 
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6. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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Sometime around 2003, my wife and I stumbled upon a game store in a local mall. We bought Settlers based solely on what was printed on the box. I distinctly remember one of us saying, "Hey, it was the game of the year in 1995!" We brought it to her mom’s house and played with her mom and sister. All of us were immediately in love with it. We played several times a week, every week, for a couple of years, teaching the game to many friends and relatives, who in turn started playing more board games with their friends and family.

Settlers was the game that turned our free time into game time. It made me realize that face to face interaction (and not texts, tweets, and status updates) is what builds and strengthens relationships. Before Settlers, I was a TV junkie. After Settlers, I gave up cable TV.

Settlers opened my eyes to a whole industry I didn’t even know existed. I just stumbled across this game sitting on a shelf in a store. What other great games was I missing out on? We visited the local game stores many times in the following years. Eventually, I found BGG. And in 5 years on BGG, my game collection exploded from about 30 games to over a hundred games.
 
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7. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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My dad is a history enthusiast, especially for WWII. I knew he’d buy me M’44 if I mentioned it to him. Sure enough, he gave it to me for my birthday. I instantly fell in love with it. I view M’44 as more than just a game; it’s a lesson on a very important part of history. Both of my grandfathers were part of this world changing event, as was one of my wife’s grandfathers. Playing M’44 compelled me to learn more about our grandfathers, all of whom passed away years ago. By researching their military records and talking to relatives, I developed a deep respect and a sense of pride for the role our grandfathers played in history. In our home office, I have a picture of my grandfather dressed in his military uniform.
 
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8. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.17 Overall Rank:15345]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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My wife and I had our first child in 2010. Everyone joked we were simply breeding game players. My son received Candy Land on his first Christmas, and we started playing right around his second birthday. About 6 months later, he was playing on his own and following the rules. I appreciate Candy Land for the purpose it served. It introduced my son to board games at a young age, and he learned how to take turns and follow rules. Most importantly, he learned that board games are a fun activity and a way to spend time with your family.
 
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9. Board Game: Star Wars: Epic Duels [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:891]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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So, I’m a Star Wars fan. I bought Epic Duels way back when it was actually still in print. About a year ago, my son wanted to "play on my team", basically rolling the dice for me. Little by little, his responsibilities increased - holding cards, moving the figures, selecting characters - until one day, he asked to play by himself. And that’s when he first started playing strategy games on his own. He understands that there is some degree of critical thinking involved, and he tries his best to make the right moves. Epic Duels was the gateway game for my son. Now, he enjoys other "thinking" games like Dominion and Chess.

Also, Epic Duels helped turn my son into a big Star Wars fan. Well, this plus some persuasion from his dad and godfather. He’s already been Yoda, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul in Halloweens past. He loves reading Star Wars books and talking about Star Wars characters. So, there’s another great outcome from Epic Duels - a shared passion for a galaxy far, far away.
 
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10. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:61] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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X-Wing is one of those games that I just couldn't get my wife to like. I turned to BGG to be a part of the X-Wing community and maybe find a few local players. And sure enough, I found Ron.

Ron Olivier
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
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Ron was nice enough to come over for a game of Dominion and X-Wing and invited me to game nights at his place and his parent's house. I had met a few other people through BGG in the past through local trades, but Ron was the first BGG user I actually played games with. Ron has also kept me in the loop with the local X-Wing scene and has encouraged me to attend a couple of X-Wing nights, where I've met some other nice people. I plan on meeting up with Ron again at the Imdaar Alpha tournament in a couple weeks!

When you have a wife and kids, a full-time job, and never-ending house projects, it's really hard to get out and meet new people. BGG has allowed me to find some great people, like Ron and his family, who like games as much as my family does.
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11. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4165]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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I look forward to more gaming milestones in the coming years as I stumble upon other great games. I also look forward to my kids becoming my new gaming group as they grow up and enjoy my favorite hobby. I owe a lot to board games and BGG. I’ve tried to contribute what I can to a community that loves and supports my favorite pastime and has helped me discover these gems that I can share with my friends and family.

Here’s my BGG time capsule. Let’s see where I am in another 5 years.
108 standalone games owned (+ 68 expansions)
241 games/expansions rated
My top 5: M’44, Dominion, Settlers, Stone Age, 7 Wonders
2,060 GG spent
3 GeekBuddies (on 10 GeekBuddy lists)
956 GeekQuestions answered
38 reviews
62 session reports
11,333 thumbs received
25,135 thumbs given
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