10 Games from my Past -- plus a Five-Game Give-Away!
Matt
United States
Norwich
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This weekend, Penny Press -- the game my friend Robert D.D. and I designed -- ships out to Kickstarter backers, and it should be available in stores soon after. It's a big deal for us as budding game designers, and I figured I'd mark the occasion (how else?) with a Geeklist and five-game give-away!

First, the Geeklist: I'm going to highlight 10 games from my past that helped shape me as a gamer. For me, it's a fun trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the old games I used to play and remembering the things that made those games stand out.

Second, the game give-away: to celebrate the release of Penny Press, I'm going to give away one copy of Penny Press to a random thumb on one of the items below. Plus, I’ll give away four other unnamed mystery games -- two regular-size box games, one medium-small box game, and one small card game, all of them new.

Here’s the rules: Thumb the entries below. I’ll use random.org to pick five BGG users who thumbed to win one of the prizes. I’ll pay for shipping, but to U.S. shipping addresses only, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, May 16, and then contacted/announced on this Geeklist.

Thanks, and good luck to all!

--Matt

p.s. One more thing! I’ve got a book in a writing/publishing contest that I could really use your help with (athough note that whether or not you're able to help will NOT affect your odds of winning one of the five games!).

The contest is on Inkshares, which is sort of like Kickstarter for books, and the top five backed sci-fi/fantasy book projects will win some professional feedback and a shot at wider publication.

Here’s the link to my book's project page: https://www.inkshares.com/projects/grimm-diagnosis

If you’ve got a minute, check out the video. If you’ve got five minutes, read the first chapter. And if you like what you see? Well, I’d be delighted if you’d back my project and share with other folks who you think might be interested. In a contest like this, with so few backers needed to break into the top five, every person counts.

Thanks for taking a look!

------------------------

UPDATE 2.1: Everyone has confirmed, so I've gone ahead and assigned prizes (again, using random.org). They should be sent out in the next few days.

That said, congratulations to our mystery game winners:

Dave Bouvier
United States
Santa Rosa
CA
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Rich Lallatin
United States
John Day
Oregon
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Anna H
United States
Beverly Hills
California
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The Adventures of a Solo Astronaut
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Chris Dr
United States
Bellevue
Washington
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And special congratulations to the 'grand' prize winner, who will receive a copy of Penny Press:

Sean James
United States
Richmond
Kentucky
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Thanks again for letting me share some of the games from my past and celebrate the release of Penny Press!

--Matt



UPDATE 1: Winners have been selected and contacted! I'll post names as soon as I confirm U.S. addresses. Thanks to everyone who checked out this list. It was terrific to see everyone's thumbs and comments.

Best,

Matt [/b]
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1. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2211]
Matt
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Like most of us, I played plenty of mass market games as a kid. And like most of us again, it was Dungeons & Dragons that opened my eyes to what a game could be.

For my first D&D games, we played with paper, pencil, and a six-sided die. No books. No rules that we didn't make up on our own. Not even much of a story -- we just went room to room, fighting monsters and avoiding traps. But that freedom of play -- what does your character want to do? -- was truly great, and I'm still chasing that feeling of discovery that helped sweep me into this hobby.
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2. Board Game: Rail Baron [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1957]
Matt
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This is probably the first Avalon Hill game I played as a kid. Rail Baron really forced me to plan ahead and anticipate what moves my opponent was likely to make, a good lesson at that early age.

Interestingly, I found a thrift copy of this a few years back and was shocked at how plain the board looked and how thin the cards were. In my memory, this was a bright, high-quality game. I've been spoiled by modern productions.
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3. Board Game: Car Wars [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2058]
Matt
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Such a small box, but such a big game. We ran streets and highways from room to room, with dozens of wrecked car tokens dotting the landscape. It's an early example of a thematic game that I've come to really enjoy.

I remember this game taking a long time to play due to somewhat cumbersome rules, but it was (at the time) such a cool blend of mechanics and atmosphere that I gladly endured. Pulling a bootlegger reverse and nailing my opponent with heavy rocket fire made it time well spent.
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4. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:227] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Matt
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I didn't play this too often, and I don't know how well I played, but Civ was my first introduction to a big, complex game with so much I wanted to do but so few resources with which to do them.

It was also a fine introduction to player trading and negotiation without quite as many hurt feelings as you might get from Diplomacy. I still see this (or the advanced version) being played today at conventions, which just cements the game's reputation for me as a true classic.
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5. Board Game: Nuclear War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2331] [Average Rating:6.21 Unranked]
Matt
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Long before I could buy beer, this was my first beer and pretzels game. There wasn't much strategy, but we played this game to death because it was plain fun. I'm not sure I'd enjoy it nearly as much now, but just seeing the box cover brings back good memories.

Also, this was the first (and only?) game my parents didn't want me playing due to the theme. So we played it at other people's houses and I don't believe any harm was done.

At the time, we thought our parents were being over-protective. But speaking today as a parent, I can see myself wondering whether my son should play a modern equivalent of Nuclear War. How perspectives can change.
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6. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1678]
Matt
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Space is big. Like, really big. Big enough for the map to take up my friend's entire living room floor.

But there was more than just the map: phasers and photon torpedoes, tons of counters, 8.5x11-sized sheets for everyone's ships, and all those boxes for shields and hull being checked off one by one, until your ship's internals took enough damage to explode.

Star Trek in a box. Games were long, and there was too much bookkeeping, but what a fun, exciting system for the day.
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7. Board Game: Swashbuckler [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3776]
Matt
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Man, I loved this game. It had incredibly evocative cover art, two boards featuring a tavern or pirate ship to fight on, a choice between cutlasses and rapiers, furniture to throw and chandeliers to swing from.

Unfortunately, I never did figure out the system of programmed movement well enough to teach anyone else, and sadly I didn't play this much beyond moving the pieces around. I probably got the game a few years before I was ready for it, and by the time I was older, video games and poker had taken hold as popular entertainment.

I lost this game in a tragic garage sale incident, but just looking at that cover art is enough to make me nostalgic for the first game I couldn't figure out how to play.
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8. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1197]
Matt
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This game took my group of friends by storm. All that plastic, the huge box, a handful of dice and a map of the world to fight over -- it was no surprise that we couldn't stop playing this monster of a game.

It was also the first game that I completely burned out on. I ended up abandoning my copy at the friend's house because I was so sick of it. Even today, I don't think I'm over that feeling, but I can't say I didn't get my money's worth with all those plays.
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9. Board Game: They've Invaded Pleasantville [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:8703]
Matt
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Man, I loved these little games from TSR. The components weren't much to speak of -- a paper map, thin counters, and a couple of d6s -- but I remember there being a lot of game here.

The cool thing about the game was the hidden information -- the human player never knew which townspeople had been taken over by aliens, while the aliens were busy trying to take over humans and grow their forces (there were two tokens for each townsperson, one with a red star on the back that meant they were aliens).

Not the deepest game, but loads of fun. Oh, and another super cover.
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10. Board Game: Penny Press [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2407]
Matt
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Okay, I'm breaking the rules with this entry, but I do want to reiterate my thanks to all the games I played during my 'formative' years. You never remember something quite as deeply as you do when you're young, and the memories of playing the games here are baked into my gaming bones. Penny Press wouldn't have been the same without those early gaming experiences.

Thanks for taking time to read this Geeklist. Robert D.D. and I are working on a few new designs, and with any luck (and a lot of play-testing) I'll be posting another game give-away sometime down the road.
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