Lady X: A Brief History Of A Growing Gamer
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With all these geeklist about children and families, I got the urge to write one about my middle daughter, the almost 8 year old Lady X.

All of my daughters are gamers, but Lady X is the most hardcore. On a nightly basis, she asks to play games. It can be any kind of a game and Lady X will play it. She's so easy going and such a good sport, I really don't mind when she does her "I Beat Dad" dance.

So, without further ado, here is a brief history of a growing gamer, Lady X.
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1. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.17 Overall Rank:15339]
A Maracle
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In 2001, my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our second child, Lady X. She came on schedule and weighed in at a nice 8 pounds 11 oucnes. She was a very sleepy baby and was easy to entertain.

I hadn't discovered the geek or eurogames at this point. My eldest daughter was 4 and our games were limited to Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. Looking back now, I couldn't believe how naive I was to think that Candy Land was the pinnacle of children's boardgames.

Lucky for me and Lady X, fate would step in and change our gaming lives forever.
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2. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:615]
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In 2002, my boss (oddball_54) and I figured out we both liked to play games. oddball_54 is a light war gamer and we'd talk about all those Avalon Hill games we use to play in our youth. He showed me this game is liked to play called Battle Cry. It was different from other games I had seen and it was something I really liked.

I forget who discovered BoardGameGeek first, but we began to explore this fascinating website as lurkers. Slowly, I began to realize there was much more to the world of boardgames than Monopoly.

As for Lady X, she was a bit young for boardgames, but she loved to sit on my lap and watch me play with her older sister. I was surprised that she would stay for a good twenty minutes and watch as we played a game. Sometimes, I'd let her toss a dice for me. That really got her excited and I should have realized then that she was destined to be a board game geek.
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3. Board Game: Rat-a-Tat Cat [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2452]
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2004 was a very big year for my family from a gaming point of view.

In two small purchases, I went from ignorant Ameritrash player to enlightened gamer geek with a taste for European flavor.

For a while, The Settlers of Canaan was being heralded as the "gateway" game that could solve world hunger, bring peace to world and introduce typical Amerigamers to a while new world of fun. For some reason, The Settlers of Canaan really didn't appeal to me. but I wanted a buy a "different" game that my extended family could enjoy. I settled on Ticket to Ride and on a whim, I also picked up Rat-a-Tat Cat as well.

What a beautiful whim that was.

At 3 1/2, Lady X had shown that she had mastered quite a few games in the house. I lost count of how many times we played Candy Land, Go Fish and many others. Now, I knew X loved to play games, but I didn't realize how much until I introduced her to Rat-a-Tat Cat.

The first time we played Rat-a-Tat Cat, we played for close to an hour. I was surprised that Lady X did not need much help from me. We played with the younger rules where Lady X played with her cards face up, but very quickly she realized that "low numbers were good". The only thing I had to help her with was encouraging her to knock. I always played my best and never let her win, but Lady X didn't need me to. I figured her winning percentage was at least 70% and while you can argue that most of it was due to luck, I think Lady X knew at what point she had to knock.

After playing Rat-A-Tat Cat every night for three weeks straight, I knew I needed to find something else to play before I completely lost my mind.
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4. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:948]
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In mid-2006, Lady X turned 5.

It was also at that point I realized she was going to take her dad to school no matter what game I dropped on the table.

After the Great Rat-A-Tat Cat Throttling of 2004, I turned to the geek to seek out children's games that would be fun and offer something a little different from the norm. While I will admit that I did pick up UNO: Disney Princess and UNO Junior, I also picked up a game that I thought would create a level playing field between me and my darling 5 year old.

That game was Gulo Gulo and all it has done was prove that Lady X can take almost anyone to school.

Between 2004 and late 2006, I must have introduced about 20 different games to Lady X. She played them all without fuss, but she also indicated which ones were her favorite (Gulo Gulo and UNO: Disney Princess). I realized that Lady X had a real love for boardgames, so I began to pick up random games during out Thrift Shop outings for us to play.

I also wrote my first of many geeklist involving Lady X, Geek Ego Smashed by 5 Year Old: Story At 11.. While I may joke about being shamed about getting throttled by my daughter at Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, but secretly I am proud that my offspring is an even better gamer than I am.
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5. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:606] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
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In 2007, Lady X continued her trend of loving games and beating her father.

I always knew she was independent, but I guess I underestimated how much she could do by herself at six years old and what she would do to play a game. I can vividly recall an evening when I was busy with a chore and Lady X wanted to play. I explained that I couldn't and she wandered off. I could hear her ask her younger sister (the sweet and cute Princess S, 3 3/4 at the time) if she wanted to play a game. Princess S agreed and I had assumed they were going to play house.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Lady X dragging a chair down the hallway toward the closet. I hear the door open, some footsteps on the chair and some rummaging. I was curious so I poked my head into the kitchen. Lady X appeared dragging the chair back to the table with Princess S behind her carrying an armful of card games. Apparently, Lady X had used the chair to fetch Rat-a-Tat Cat and a few other card games from the closet. If that wasn't surprising enough, what she did next totally blew me away.

Lady X taught Princess S how to play all of the games they had brought to the table.

I couldn't describe the feeling I had as I watched my 6 1/2 year old teach her 3 3/4 year old sister all of her favorite games. Lady X was patient with Princess S and politely corrected her if she made a mistake. I smiled and went back to my chore.

A little while later, Princess S comes run to me and tells me very excitedly she won two games of Rat-a-Tat Cat against Lady X. She wanders off to find her mom and Lady X finds me. I casually mentioned that Princess S won two games of Rat-a-Tat Cat and Lady X blows me away again.

"Yep. I let her win so she would feel happy." my 6 1/2 year old told me. "I threw away a good card and told her when to knock. I'll beat her when she is older and knows the game better."

Lady X, 6 1/2 years old... Boardgame geek and understands sportsmanship.
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6. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:253]
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Now, its 2008. You'd think I would stop underestimating my 7 3/4 year old daughter and learn that she can play anything she puts her mind to it.

After getting beaten once again at Weapons and Warriors: Castle Combat Set and Zooloretto, I joking mentioned to Lady X that we should play BattleLore. I had received it in a trade with oddball_54 and played it a few times solitaire. Part of me decided that this was going to be a "make or break" moment for Lady X. Either she would take to the game like a fish to water or be totally bored by it.

"Okay," she said. "Let's play it."

I was kind of surprised at her reaction, but a little excited that she wanted to try BattleLore. I didn't have any high expectations for Lady X's success with BattleLore. Some of the cards have quite a bit of reading involved and I assumed the need for strategy might frustate Lady X. Still, even having Lady X try to play would be a huge accomplishment.

Without a fuss, I set up the game for the Agincourt scenario and taught Lady X to play. I kept waiting for her to get bored and to go watch television, but she never did. Instead, she kept true to history and wound up owning me once again (Refer to my session report, Lady X Graduates From Gulo Gulo To Gutting Her Father).

It is amazing to see what Lady X presently plays. A short list of her favorite games consists of NHL Ice Breaker: The Card Hockey Board Game, Through the Desert, Tsuro along with some old favorites such as Sorry! The Disney Edition, Gulo Gulo, Survive: Escape from Atlantis! and Chutes and Ladders. I look back at all the games she plays occasionally (Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers, Pente, Shadows over Camelot and The Lost World Jurassic Park Game to name a few) and the list is staggering. I would imagine if I made a geeklist of games she played and have her ranked them, it would go at least three or four pages.

So, that is the brief history of the growing geek gamer known as Lady X. It should only be a matter of time before we are playing World at War: Eisenbach Gap and Europe Engulfed together.

Peace!
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