STORYTIME: My Gaming Biography
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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This is a rather self-indulgent list. Please pardon the navel-gazing.

I played my first hobby game as a teenager. I've been absorbed by games my entire adult life. I've enjoyed Avalon Hill games, role playing games, miniatures, Magic: The Gathering, and Euro Games.

This geeklist is a retrospective view of the games that have occupied my attention over the past 30 or so years.
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1. Board Game: Tactics II [Average Rating:5.33 Overall Rank:14983]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Naturally I played all sorts of kids games. But the first hobby games I played were from Avalon Hill. I cannot recall which came first. But it may have been Tactics II. A neighbor kid got this as a Christmas gift and the 2 of us played it several times. I also played one of the early Gettysburg games (probably the '64 edition) back in those days.
 
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2. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2541]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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When I entered college in 1978, it didn't take me too long to find the gamers. I was introduced to Dungeons and Dragons. From there it was a short hop over to Runequest, and multiple other rpg systems. Roleplaying became a lifestyle. I will still roleplay ocassionally, although I have slowed way down on this hobby over the years.
 
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3. Board Game: Swashbuckler [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3681]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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My gaming in the late 70's/early 80's was dominated by role-playing games. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Runequest, and other fantasy games. But every once in a while we would play a boardgame. One of the more popular games back then was Swashbuckler. We'd always do the bar room fight, and we had a rollicking good time.

 
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4. Board Game: Melee [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2465] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Melee & its sibling, Wizard were games released by Steve Jackson/Metagaming. One of the RPG group was really into this system. He used all of the Advanced rules and the "Into the Labyrinth" rules. This was the first RPG where everything seemed coherent to me.

I continue to love this system. The battles are fun, brief, and coherent. I like the way the magic and combat systems are entirely integrated. I didn't realize it for years, but what I gradually learned from this system is that I am more of a fan of boardgames than role-playing games. Melee/Wizard are ripe for role-playing, but at their heart they are a board game.

Personally, I am a fan of the original microgame rules, and would rather keep things at that level of complication. Upgrading components really enhances this game.
 
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5. Board Game: Oregon Trail [Average Rating:5.52 Overall Rank:12668]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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In the early 80's I decided to move from Illinois to Colorado to take a job as a horseback trail guide. I owned Oregon Trail, and during my Colorado days, it was a game that provided many hours of solitaire entertainment. I was really into "old west" themes back then. I also owned The TSR RPG, Boothill and the FGU rpg, Wild West.

In addition, I also collected a number of microgames during this period...
 
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6. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:982]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Ogre occupied my game table a fair bit in the 80's. I collected the pocket game versions of Ogre and G.E.V., but found the small format inhibited their play. Nonetheless I kept up with the system, and collected all of the add-ons as they came out. I even played Battlesuit, the man to man combat game set in the same game universe. I also had a fun Ogre computer game for my old Apple IIc computer. I think I may still have the blueprint of the Ogre that came with that game...

Later, when the boxed deluxe edition of Ogre was released, I happily added it to my collection. I never went back to the smaller Steve Jackson pocket box editions. My only complaint is that a deluxe edition of G.E.V. was never done.

Compared to many games I played in this time period, Ogre played in a short amount of time. The Ogre Book added fun innovative variants to try out. In the 80's I had the highest regard for Steve Jackson games. Things would change later, but (for me) Steve Jackson was at the top of his form in those days.
 
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7. Board Game: Illuminati [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2450]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I owned and played the original pocket-box edition of Illuminati. I collected all of the expansions and really enjoyed the cleverness and biting satire found in this game. But, again - later on, a friend of mine bought the large-box deluxe edition, and thereafter we played that edition exclusively. Upgrading the paper money to chits and the larger cards made the deluxe edition a huge improvement.

While still fun, Illuminati didn't seem quite as fine as the earlier Steve Jackson designs. As it turned out, this was the last Steve Jackson design that I played very much of.
 
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8. Board Game: Talisman [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1753]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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All of the games listed prior to this entry were hobby boardgames that caught my attention as a single man. In 1987 Peggy and I married, and shortly afterwards relocated to our new home in Albuquerque. (We were in Iowa.) With this move, gaming became a way for us, as a couple, to socialize and meet new friends in our new hometown.

My focus on games shifted - towards games that couples would play. Oh sure we boys would get together for a game of Axis and Allies or such too. But when we were unprepared to roleplay, we would sometimes have a boardgame evening.

Talisman was one game that we played way too much of. We bought expansion after expansion for it. And, you guessed it, we totally burned out on it. A cute game for the first hour, but the game will not end! I've since sold off this game set.
 
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9. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Another wedding present. As a game system, Arkham Horror is weak. But for a game to play with your Call of Cthulhu RPG group, this is a great event. Nostalgia makes this a great game. Were I to play it much, I'd know better.
 
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10. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1328]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Shortly after arriving in Albuquerque, Peggy and I met Mark & Flo. Mark and Flo became our best friends, and we played in Mark's roleplaying game every week. But Mark also introduced me to the Gamemaster line of Milton Bradley games. We played Conquest of the Empire and Axis and Allies, but our early favorite was Fortress America. Later on Shogun came out, and that was a lot of fun too.
 
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11. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:337]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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About a year after moving to Albuquerque I was fortunate enough to be invited to game with a UNM professor by the name of Richard Berthold. Rick, and his friend Bob, authored Republic of Rome. Oddly, Rick never wanted to play this game with us!

But going to Rick's house for hobby boardgaming became a regular event in my life. I've been gaming with him and other friends every week for two decades now.

Most of the games that follow are tied to this venue.
 
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12. Board Game: Circus Maximus [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1587]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Circus Maximus got a little less table-time than some of the other games on this list. But I greatly admired this game, and frequently asked folks to play it. The mayhem of the fighting, coupled with the race itself, made Circus Maximus nearly the perfectly themed game for me.

Back in those days Peggy and I would travel up to Denver to attend Ghengis Con or Tacticon. We also voyaged back to Wisconsin for GenCon once. Peggy would exclusively role play, but I would split my time between roleplaying games and boardgames. Circus Maximus was a popular Convention game. Up in Denver, I recall playing on a 3-D giant sized arena with oversized pewter chariots. Great fun!

 
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13. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:541]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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When I married in 1987, I had a small collection of wargames. These were games that seemed irrelevant. Certainly my wife wasn't interested in playing them. So I handed off the collection to my friends at Pegasus Games to sell on consignment. As I played ocassional wargames with my new friends in Albuquerque, I started to want to collect an ocassional wargame again.

Britannia stared at me from the shelves of Wargames West for a few years before I finally bought a copy for myself. I never did play Britannia as much as I wanted to. In the 80's and early 90's my fellow gamers were more into Axis & Allies, Shogun, and Fortress America. But something about this design appealed to me. Later on I would play a bit of Maharaja, based on this same system. Britannia has been in my collection in the past; has been traded away due to lack of use; and has been reacquired because of my esteem for the game. Just since 2007 have I been able to play this a bit more often.
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14. Board Game: HeroQuest [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:546]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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My love for fantasy themes and cute plastic playing pieces was realized in 1989, when Heroquest was released. In short order I collected four expansions for it. I kept this game for years, but eventually it passed from my collection. Over the years my love for RPG's has faded, and games like this that occupy a middle ground no longer interest me.
 
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15. Board Game: Rail Baron [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1911]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Rail Baron is a long game. I always enjoyed playing Rail Baron, but by the end of the session I would grow sick of it. The most annoying part of Rail Baron is looking up the payoffs on the table. Avalon Hill built the table wrong, making it work only one way, I wish they would have built it like the Rand McNally mileage charts found on road maps.

We played a ton of this game, and basically wore my copy out. It still sits on my game shelf. A few years ago I tried Dan Bosley's Rail Baron variant. (Still a long game.) I wonder if we will ever play it again. It was a fine game in its day, but doesn't compare well to the tightly designed games of the modern day.
 
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16. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:945]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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A House Divided scratched my itch for a grand conflict-simulation boardgame, which also excused me from tiny chits and hex grids. To this day I regard this as an extremely good game. I was late to this party though. It wasn't until the second edition was released in 1989 that I discovered this fine game. I still love this game, and I have since upgraded to the lovely 3rd edition published by Phalanx games.
 
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17. Board Game: Daytona 500 [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1333]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I didn't realize it for years, but with this game, I collected one that would later be identified a "Euro" or "German" game. Wolfgang Kramer designed this fine racing game. I continue to play it. I really need to replace my copy, it has been played so much it is worn out. Daytona 500 was released in 1990.
 
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18. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1016]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Napoleon was released by Avalon Hill in 1977. It took me quite a while to discover it. I gave Napoleonic games a wide berth for a long time. Images of the endless game with lots of counters and hex grids sprang to mind. What a surprise this game proved! The elegance of blocks, a reasonable amount of units to handle, and relatively quick-playing! While the rules for road movement are a bit unexpected, this game feels clean and innovative. The blocks are substantial, and in this edition, they are nicely painted (no stickers). I've tried other block games from Columbia, but I continue to return to this design.
 
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19. Board Game: Advanced Civilization [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Civilization & Advanced Civilization both got played a fair bit back in these days. Oddly, the Advanced version, felt "easier" to me, more forgiving. We would play this at a weekly session, taking 2-3 weeks to finish a game. Advanced Civilization was released in 1991, which spurred us to play a lot more of both versions.
 
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20. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:597]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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It was the early Avalon Hill edition that occupied our game table for many an hour back in the early 90's. This game is especially good for 3 players. It gets progressively longer as you add more players.
 
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21. Board Game: Outpost [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1540]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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In 1991 this game felt like breath of fresh air. We played a lot of this. It is a good game, but these days newer versions (Phoenicia, Zavandor) are available, and the newer games have either nicer components or shorter playing time. But the theme for Outpost was great!
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22. Board Game: Fast Food Franchise [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:3966]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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We happily got FFF after our enthusiasm for Outpost. Once again the TimJim/Prism game was innovative, reasonably fast-playing and fun. Eventually my strategy gamer friends turned their noses up at it, but happily, my family and casual game-playing friends loved it. I've had my copy since 1992, and have sought out additional copies as gifts through the years.
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23. Board Game: Time Agent [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:3890]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Another TimJim/Prism game from 1992. We didn't play this game as often - just because it took a lot of time. I greatly admire this game, and given enough time, I'd love to play again.
 
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24. Board Game: Tyranno Ex [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:3447]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Just when we thought we were leaving Avalon Hill games behind, they released Tyranno Ex in 1993, 1994? I'm unsure. We didn't realize the game designer was a well respected leader of the German gaming scene - we just liked the game. My friend bought the AH edition, and so did I. But a while back I swapped out the AH edition for the original Moskito Spiele edition.
 
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25. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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In 1993 I discovered Magic: The Gathering. Maybe it was 1994 - I don't clearly recall. I do remember it was the "Unlimited" edition that I first bought. These were the white-bordered cards that still had Black Lotuses and Moxes in the mix. Most of my game time and game money went into Magic for the next couple years. Only one of my gaming friends' burnout on Magic, kept boardgames consistently appearing on a game table near me.

I still have a substantial collection of Magic cards. In theory, I still like the game. But practically it hasn't seen any significant play for years. I spent way too much mone on this game. Consequently, to this day, I am not inclined to try collectible games.
 
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