The Power of the Geek or Creating my own Geekdom...
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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So, here I am in my Forties, married with 2 kids (4 Yr Boy, 8 Yr Girl) and a sudden yearning for my game-playing days of yore strikes likes a sledgehammer. (Wait a minute, isn't a mid-life crisis supposed to involve cool cars & younger women?) Well, this is gonna be a tough road back. You see, my wife never played board games as a kid, does not enjoy card games, and resents the fact that I 'keep winning'(her words, pretty succinct). Hey, can I help it if my (albeit long past) years of Chess, AD&D, Axis & Allies & a little Car Wars has ingrained a couple strategic skills that I thought were long gone?

I don't really know which came first, the chicken or the egg... no wait, strike that...which came first, the boardgamegeek.com or the yearning, but one must have led to the other in some fashion. It may have been a random stumbleupon link that some geek snuck in ( i'm not sure a link like that is allowed).

No matter how it happened, this nagging seed germinated in my geek brain that given my current lifestyle, the only way to get to play games is going to be to 'turn' my immediate & extended family.
Now I have been lurking on the Geek, reading geeklists on gateway games & games that wives will play and generally just obsessing about games for several weeks.
I have also had my gaming allowance cut to 'nothing over $20' by my wife.cry I told you it would be tough. Of course, this is partly my own fault as 3 separate shipments of games showed up plus some local purchases that together came to over $200 within about a 1 month time-span. Ya - Ya I know, stupid stupid stupid - gotta learn to hide those things better than that!

So, without further (boring) ado, I give you my first geeklist about my ongoing attempt at creating a Geekdom of my own design out of totally unwitting, sometimes unwilling, victims!ninja

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1. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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I had a couple starter sets buried in my gaming supplies boxes that I had kept thru several moves (Wife: can't we just throw this whole box out? Me: ??what? well, er no, um, this is all GREAT STUFF! Wife rolls eyes again and box goes in yet another moving van & into storage). Are all Geeks packrats like me?
Actually the MtG cards were a rather new addition to THE BOX, only in there for 8 years or so after 2 plays between my wife & I in an early (failed) attempt at turning her before the kids came along.

1st step: Turn my 8 yr old daughter. Setup easy decks with just basic cards (no artifacts or other complicating items). Also, downloaded the teaching demo from Wizards and learned the correct way to play. She loves the game but only 1 live game so far.

Daughter very receptive & started down that path, 4 yr old son wants to know everything about the cool cards...good, he's coming along too.
 
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2. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:612]
 
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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1st new game on the block. Incan Gold version.
The kids love it: "Papa lets play that cave game again."
Somehow the 4-yr-old gets out right before the 2nd hazard shows up & I always stay too long. 4 yr-old wins 1st 3 games & I come in last with ZERO treasure all 3 times! (I don't think I like this game, too tough on an optimist like me) Not really - great game. We use fancy rocks in hand/empty hand to determine who stays & who leaves.
verdict: everybody likes it, an easy lure to draw them in.
This gets played several times a month with immediate family victims.
4 yr old continues to win more than his fair share.
 
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3. Board Game: Diceland: Deep White Sea [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:4153]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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Got this 'cause it looked cool, turns out it a great lure for the 4 yr-old. We made up a game using the large paper dice that he asks for every once in a while. The 8 yr-old gets involved too.

Not sure when I will actually play by the intended rules, but i'm patient. As long as someone is advancing down my slippery slope i'm happy.
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4. Board Game: Loot [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1628]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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1st attempt at infecting innocents outside the immediate family...
What better day than Christmas Day? Who would suspect nefarious activities on such a day? Certainly not the Family-In-Law present that day: Parents, Aunts/Uncles, Cousins, 10 of us all told.

XMAS 1: A single quick game of loot between 4 players. Who doesn't like being a Pirate? While the rest of them finish eating & catching-up with family gossip. Thats right, soften them up with food & drink... much more pliable & open to subtle suggestion & manipulation.

Additional games follow:
 
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5. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1165]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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XMAS 2: Werewolves...What? You think this inappropriate for Christmas Day?...
Everyone was a little apprehensive as nobody had heard of this ( me too, I had never played before either). To start the days gaming, I explained it quickly & passed out my home-made cards & proceeded to moderate 3 games where the same person ended up the werewolf each time. 3 more games to end the day. Everyone had fun, even those who never join in reindeer games.
My 8 yr-old can't get enough of this game. She is almost too easy a mark!
Gotta figure out how to use the PC based werewolf soundboard effectively while playing this game, that would really add some atmosphere to the game I think.
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6. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:381]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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XMAS 3: No-one had played this before, so we went thru the first round without building up a repertoire of pantomimes for the 2nd & 3rd rounds. We jumped right in without thoroughly understanding the process. Needless to say, the 2nd & 3rd rounds went fairly long, but they were absolutely hilarious!!! We made the anti-gamers play against their better judgement, and they ended up having as much fun as the rest of us.
A late-comer joined my team (myself & my 8 yr-old daughter) late in the 2nd round and we played with 3 for the rest of the game and finished in 2nd place out of 4 teams. We were a little handicapped as the 8 yr-old does not know enough of the names involved to either guess or provide clues very well, and my new team-mate missed the first round entirely which is a real handicap, but we were having so much fun, neither aspect came close to ruining the game for me. In fact, it forced me to be verrry creative thruout the whole game, which made it even more fun and helped to loosen up other players as well.

XMAS Day ended with some Werewolves games as noted above. All in all, this day was a hit with everybody, I got good feedback from all my targets of turning. My own private gaming creation is well on its way to becoming a Geek Group!

[as I am writing this, my 4 yr-old just pointed to the screen and says "Hey, we have that game 'GuloGulo' and that game too" (pointing at the icon for 'Times Up')]
Ahhh...My work here is nearly complete! I am so proud of my Littlest Geek!
 
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7. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:948]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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Part of the 3rd package, and a great choice for the kids. Like everyone says challenging for all ages & no horrible aftertaste of candyland.
The kids have now passed the point of no return and are firmly ensconsed in gaming.
 
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8. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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This had to await the right time for spousal introductions. After Incan Gold, Time's Up and GuloGulo all went over well with everyone, it was finally time for some one-on-one. Well, she insists that she likes it, but even when she wins I am still referred to as 'Cheating Bxxtard'. She says I shouldn't take it personally, she is just a bad loser. I will have to take her at her word, but I never turn my back on her during a game or for the 15 minutes after, win or lose!
I think it is a good sign that she suggests we bring this out for a game or 2.
This game can really aggravate me, because many times you are forced to make less than optimal plays and just after you do the card you needed shows up. Happens every time.
But I still like it.
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9. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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My Wife, daughter & I played this with starter rules (no river or farms) soon after it arrived. Final scores within 10 points of one another, home run here too. Daughter has some of my genes, definitely a gamer. I found a download for the PC version that used to be for sale at that German site(boy was that hard to find), which she likes to play too.
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10. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:948]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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2nd. Turning Party, er Game Day. 9 participants total, ages 4 - 60+. Jan 26.
All willing participants with fond memories of XMAS day event. Ahh, the subliminal messages have worked their magic!

Kids couldn't wait, so they broke out our kids version of Dicelands before anyone arrived.

GameDay2 Game 1:
As soon as Grand-Parents arrived, they got roped into a couple games of GuloGulo with the kids. So, I now have the kids firmly within the Power of the Geek.
More GameDay2 games follow:
 
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11. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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GameDay2 Game 2:
My 2nd time playing, a 3-person game with 2 new players. This went over well as a learning game without the River or the Farmers. We were all discussing strategies at the end. They will definitely be back for more.
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12. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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GameDay2 game 3:
OK brace yourselves: My wife took it upon herself to teach this to her Aunt while I was teaching Carcassonne!!! Sweet! She's comin' along!
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13. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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GameDay2 game 4:
5 adults still here, so we bring out the train game. Kids want to play too, so they each find someone to help. We are up & running is 5 minutes, but moving kind of slow trying to figure out strategies. Probably lasted 1 1/2 hours, with most of the game play with all player cards showing so we can help each other. That was a good idea, as the folks with less gaming experience appreciated it and were less threatened since they didn't have to go it completely alone. The winner made a mad rush with huge points near the end after trailing most of the game. I dropped from 2nd to 3rd place (by 1 point) because of a 4 point route I didn't complete.
My daughter really wanted to play, maybe next time.
Again, the geeklists came thru with a solid game to bring non-gamers into the fold.
 
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14. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:883]
Chris Biddick
United States
Moxee
Washington
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GameDay2 game 5:
As we were wrapping up the evening, I brought out my home-made set of cards, Life money, and poker chips for a quick game of limited-budget Ca$h-N-Gun$, just as a little nitecap. I made a stupid tactical blunder & forgot to lay down & so was the only one out of the game with 3 wounds. However, this game too was a big hit as my wife's Aunt offered to laminate my cards for me, and her husband said he would bring some plastic guns to play with next time.
We even set a date for next month's game night before they left... Feb 16.

I about fell over the next morning when my Wife quips "Thanks for setting up the game day, that was fun & I think everyone enjoyed it. That was a good idea." What planet am I on? Who is this woman and what has she done with my wife? No, wait... maybe i'll keep this one, whoever she is!
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