A tribute to my baby sister (turning 31 today!) - my original gaming partner
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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My sister is partly reponsible for my turning into a full-fledged gamer. You see, back when we were but little children, Fanie was my original boardgaming partner.

For many years, she was the only opponent I had. And she kept gaming with me, no matter what. For that (and many other things!), I thank her deeply.

Later on, when I got gaming friends, sis kept playing with us. And she was so used to it by then that most of the time her being five years younger than us guys didn't show at all at the gaming table.
We all loved to game with her. We still do!

So here's a list of the games we played all the time as kids.
(Yeah, we played all the "classics" like Monopoly and Pay Day, but not for long. What follows are the games we concentrated on.)
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1. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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This is the one we played to death. To DEATH.

Fanie was born in 1977 and the game came out in 1982 (when she was five) and I remember playing this with her from the get-go. No reading was necessary on her part, which made her job all the more easier (those little shark drawings were easy to recognize).

We had a ton of fun with this game, eventually (after many years) coming up with very simple "combat rules" that allowed boat passengers to throw each other overboard. We played those for a while and then reverted to the original game.

I still own my original copy.
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2. Board Game: Talisman [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1755]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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Talisman is right on the heels of Survive for most games played.

We started with the basic game and played and played and played, eventually buying all the expansions one by one as they came out. And we would always play with all of them! The kitchen table was completely covered with boards and cards, and our mom would sometimes go a little crazy when dinner was ready and we still hadn't packed the game away.

We had a houserule that let us start over when our character was killed. This resulted in epic games that lasted hours and that could only be won by someone (remember there were only two of us!) reaching the Crown of Command. Man, those were long, sweaty games.

Also, at some point one of my childhood friends started playing with us on a regular basis. And he got into the habit of telling my sister, whenever she hesitated before making her move: "Go see the Enchantress! She's a woman!"
This became a long-standing running gag. Your can sometimes still hear it in our house during family gatherings.

I still have the game.
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3. Board Game: DungeonQuest [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1281]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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Another one we played until our fingers bled.

Again, we started with the basic game and soon bought the Catacombs and Heroes expansions. And again, we would always play with everything.

Dungeonquest games are by definition rather short. So we made up for that fact by playing veritable marathons, one game after another, until our mother made us pack it up and go to bed.

We eventually decided that for the rest of our lives, we would play ONE game of Dungeonquest and keep a running tally or our lifetime scores. So each time we broke the game out, it was just one more chapter in our looooong game of Dungeonquest.

We haven't played for many (many) years, but I still have the game, and I still have our scores. I'm at 36 and she's at 105. After all this time, that faded piece of paper is proof that she's still kicking my Dungeonquest ass.
(Hey, at least I'm out of negative points! 'Cause yeah, we tracked those as well...)
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4. Board Game: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:6239]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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Another one of our classics.

We didn't play this one as much as the first three, but it was pretty close. We had a ton of fun with the Cheese that we kept passing back and forth.

I remember, years after getting the game, taking the time to paint the little figure-pawns. (That was my first minis paint job!) I remember Fanie was quite impressed when she saw the result of my efforts.
Ironically, we didn't play the game that often after that.

(And no, I didn't keep this one.)
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5. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:7641]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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This is one that for many years I played with just my dad (even though it requires a minimum of three players) because my sister was too young to work out the deductions needed here.

But Fanie would always stay with us and be the assistant: she would move the correct weapons the relevant rooms, and move the pawns around when they became suspects.
She would also pick the location, weapon and murderer cards out of the shuffled stacks, take a good look at them, smile, and place them in the opaque envelope in the middle of the board.

I remember one afternoon when my dad and I played two games. Even though it was something like 25 years ago, I still remember that the murderer in the first game was Mr. Green (you'll understand why I remember in a moment).
When Fanie would place the cards in the envelope, she understood the need for secrecy and would never say a word that could give us any clue. But during setup for that second game, 25 years ago, she took one look at the murderer card, looked at us innocently, and went: "Is it all right if it's the same man?"

We got a good laugh out of that one (and no, I don't remember who the muderer was in that second game after we reshuffled the cards--but it was NOT Mr. Green).

I still have that copy of the game.
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6. Board Game: Stratego [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:2282]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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Fanie wasn't thrilled with this one, but she almost never turned me down for a game. (Thanks, sis!)

I don't have any specific memories of our games of Stratego, except that if my sister hadn't been there (and willing!), I probably never would have played this. By the time I got a little older and made boardgaming friends at school, we had moved on to stuff like Car Wars and Illuminati.

Yep, I still have the game, although it's the one in this entire list that I haven't touched for the longest time.
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7. Board Game: Scotland Yard [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1063]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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Scotland Yard is one of the games we played on a semi-regular basis, but again, it was more a matter of Fanie wanting to please me than anything else.

And again, thank you Fanie! I ended up playing this to death with a childhood friend (the same from the Talisman story, actually), but it was my sister who allowed me to hone my Scotland Yard skills during those early years.

And I still have the game.
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8. Board Game: Mastermind [Average Rating:5.49 Overall Rank:14309]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
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This is the last one of our family clasics.

Fanie and I would play this for hours upon hours. The only thing we didn't like about it was that the one making up the code spent the entire game doing pretty much nothing. It never occurred to us to get a second game so that each of us could play both sides at the same time.

I had that idea years later, when we'd both moved out of our parents' home and didn't play Mastermind anymore.

But... another bunch of years down the road, it turned out that Béatrice, my oldest daughter, LOVES Mastermind. So I quickly went to the store to get a second copy, and it worked great. Except that it's a "modern" version with spinning wheels instead of pegs to make up the code, and it's a pain to use. Even Béatrice says she much prefers the "old stuff." I should try to trade for one of those here on the Geek.


So Fanie, thank you so much for being my gaming partner from pretty much since you were born. You'll never know all the good you did me.
I love you sis!
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