Turning an unsuspecting gamer onto 18XX
Matt Campbell
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As is probably obvious I enjoy 18XX. Even though I was an Avalon Hill gamer back in the 70's and 80's I had never tried 1830 until 2002. This geeklist is a short history of the steps it took to turn me into an 18XX player, collector, and now designer.
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1. Board Game: Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:473]
Matt Campbell
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This was the first Avalon Hill title I purchased. My brother and I played this all through junior high and high school. Although we usually struggled to get all the rules right we did have all the expansion maps and gamettes including Cross of Iron, Crescendo of Doom, and GI: Anvil of Victory.

We didn't know it but this made us Grognards and we purchased many more AH wargames through this period.
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2. Board Game: Blood Bowl (Second Edition) [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1620]
Matt Campbell
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After I graduated from high school I lost my main opponent for wargames. One day my brother called me up and said he had read about this new game that we would like called Blood Bowl. We drove around town trying to find this game and stumbled upon what is still my FLGS. The people I met that fateful day in 1988 running the store where I bought my first miniatures are friends that I game with to this day.
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3. Board Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Battlesystem (second edition) [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:10699]
Matt Campbell
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The next type of gaming I took up was role-playing. Oddly enough I hadn't tried role-playing until I was a junior in college and I only went to the first session to meet a girl that I knew would be playing. Unfortunately the girl didn't pan out but my fondness for role-playing games was kindled and I have now played dozens of systems.
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4. Board Game: Army Quest [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Matt Campbell
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After four years of college (and no degree) I joined the Army. This was a great period in my life as I got stationed in Germany where I met my best friend and fellow BGG'er g3lutz. Most of what we played in the Army was role-playing but I was able to get some AH games like Civilization and Diplomacy tabled. The only downside to being in Europe was that I didn't know how lucky I was to be near all these game shops so I missed the opportunity to get involved in Euro games.
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5. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Matt Campbell
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When I left the Army I returned to Lincoln and began gaming with some of the members of the old Blood Bowl crowd. They introduced me to a new crop of games called Euros. Amazingly I still have never played Settlers as they had already played it to death. We did table lots of auction games and some meatier Euros like Age of Steam, AGOT, and Die Macher.
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6. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:164]
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Then at one session they suggested we play 1830. I liked the rail theme of the game and they explained the rules. It wasn't long until someone bought a 5 train and I was bankrupt. Even though this would not be considered a great start it really piqued my interest in trying it again. The rest of the group had actually been playing it for some years and weren't all that interested in another go.
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7. Board Game: 1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856 [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:865]
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I decided to get 1830 for myself but swiftly learned how expensive it was. I found 1856 to be a cheaper alternative and since it was based on the same system ordered a copy. Since I had no one to teach it to me I decided to read the rules and then bring it to a gaming session with people who had never played 1830. This was not the smartest thing I have ever done. The result was surprising even though the session was long and painful.
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8. Board Game Publisher: Deep Thought Games, LLC
Matt Campbell
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Of the four people who learned 1856 that day the following is the result for the 18XX genre:

g3lutz - avid 18XX player, owns more than 5 titles
fbcjr - willing 18XX player, owns 4 titles
lizbeth - willing 18XX player, owns 1 title
kirkusmaximus - 18XX freak, owns more than 30 titles, designed 1 title, actively collecting new titles as money permits
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9. Board Game Designer: David G. D. Hecht
Matt Campbell
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From that 1856 session I grew a touch obsessed with learning more 18XX. This led to me getting some games in with David who regaled us with stories of how he got started designing. This prompted me to believe I could take a run at a title as he kindly granted me permission to use him as a resource.

Hopefully soon it will be published, it is currently sitting in the publisher's inbox awaiting his time to get it vetted.
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