My First 11 Games OR How To Create a BoardGameGeek
Nick
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Today is exactly one month since I've joined BGG. So, inspired by other GeekLists of the like, I thought it would be fun to list the first 11 games that I have come to own since discovering the wonderous and obsessive joy of the board gaming hobby a mere 1 month ago. Of course, these aren't really the first 11 games that I have ever owned, but should be considered so; these are the first 11 after I was enlightened to board games beyond Monopoly.

Why 11 you may ask? Because I've purchased 11 games in the last month. If that answer doesn't satisfy you, [insert Spinal Tap reference here].

So, without further ado here are my first 11 games with accompanying stories.
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1. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
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Early last fall while wandering around Barnes and Noble with my wife on a typical Saturday afternoon, I stumbled upon the small board game section and picked up this interesting looking box. After reading the back, I was intrigued.

"This looks cool. I don't think we've played a game like this before," I said to my wife and put the game back. I forgot about it when we left the store and went about my way.

Flash forward to Christmas 2008 and what did I find upon opening my first present? Carcassonne, of course. Go wife!

Later that afternoon we busted out the game with her family and started the precipitous descent into the wallet-emptying, obsessive world of board game geekness. I had never played a game like this before and I knew that gaming would never be the same again. The wife saw the sparkle in my eye and knew as well. "Oh, crap," she said. "What have I done?"

This wasn't the only Christmas surprise though.

Notes
Sister-in-law: "I was so bored halfway through that game, I thought I was going to pass out. I'm getting more wine."

She may not be joining me in my geekward spiral.
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2. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:519]
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I opened up the next present and found game #2.

We played this one only a couple of weeks before with another couple. This is definitely my wife's type of game and before our first play, I knew that she would enjoy this game. She won on only our second play with the other couple.

We broke this one out later that Christmas day as well. This received a warmer reception from the family than Carcassonne. This is a great game all around and her parents may even buy it for themselves.

This didn't have the same awe-inspiring effect on me that Carcassonne did, but still simply a great game.

Two games for Christmas? Awesome! Would there be more?

Notes
Mother-in-law: "Uno!"
Wife: "You don't have to say that in this game mom. Just play the damn last piece."

My wife doesn't like to lose at this game. She is a top-notch NES Tetris player so is pretty good with Blokus as well. I'm trying to get her to submit a score to Twin Galaxies but she won't. "Too geeky."
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3. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:412]
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I wasn't done finding Christmas surprises yet!

I opened up present #3 to find this game. What was this? I had never heard of it, seen it in a store, read about it online or ever played it with anybody else. I had no idea what to expect. I now realized that there was a whole world of board games out there about which I had absolutely no idea. I couldn't wait to find out more.

While the rest of the family was snoring loudly while asleep on various chairs and couches, the wife and I opened this game. We played through it once but to be honest it was not our cup of tea. I'm afraid I really can't explain why either. It isn't getting traded and I expect we will give it another shot, but I don't see this one becoming a favorite.

Shortly after, I hear her say, "Let's play Carcassonne until my parents wake up and then we can try Blokus again."

Alas, this wasn't our favored game but it opened my eyes to the fact that there was much more out there than I was aware.

Notes
Wife: "I'll move the hick over next to the hooker."
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4. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
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"Where did you find our about Mr. Jack? I have never heard of that before."

This was the sentence that took me beyond the point of no return. She showed me some site that she had stumbled upon in her search for good 2-player games. My first view of the game rankings on BGG confirmed my suspicion that there were, in fact, many a great board game that I have never heard of.

Where to start? Well, I had been saving various gift cards for awhile thinking that I would perhaps buy a big ticket item like a Wii, PS3, iPod Touch or something along those lines. Not any more. As soon as I found BGG, I knew where that money was going.

So, immediately after returning home from our brief Christmas vacation, I scoured BGG for 2 straight days to find which game I would purchase first. I left the computer only for bathroom breaks and to take my wife to dinner once because I had my head buried in the computer for 48 straight hours.

When I finally unglued myself from the computer chair, I had ordered Race for the Galaxy. Cards + space = something I thought I would like and it did not disappoint. A big plus that the wife likes this one as well. This is in her top 3 along with Blokus and a game yet to be mentioned.

I have 4 games now. Am I done? Not even close.

Notes
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/374167
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5. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
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"Oooh, Dominion. That sounds cool."

We've played card games for such a long time and had such great luck with our first geeky card game that I thought I might as well try it again. Dominion was the second game that I purchased.

Dominion got an extra nod of approval because it introduced me to online play and BSW. No program has been open more on my computer in the last month than the BSW client.

As for play at the table, this has only come out a couple of times. I've got the vast majority of my plays from BSW. Not to say that the wife hates it, she would just rather play RftG if we are bringing out a card game. She did suggest playing Dominion the other night though so it will see some more play I'm sure.

Notes
Wife: "If you play that witch on me again, you are sleeping on the couch tonight."

I'm glad we have a comfortable couch.
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6. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
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I decided it was about time to take a trip down to the local gaming store and peruse and handle the actual games instead of just viewing them online. And, of course, I knew I wouldn't be able to contain myself; I was going to buy a game when we were there.

I thought it was time for something totally different. Arkham Horror was clearly different, we definitely hadn't played anything like this before and the theme appealed to me.

I asked the clerk his opinion and though he hadn't played the game, his friend apparently had been up until the wee hours of the morning the three previous nights deep into battle with the evils of Arkham. Still, I had some trouble deciding but we picked up the game at my wife's insistence that it seemed like me as I'm a horror novel fan. I spent that evening punching the million pieces and reading the novel of a rulebook.

The next night we played a game - well, half of a game. Halfway through my wife said, "I don't get it. Let's play something else." I have to admit that I wasn't feeling it as well. Maybe too much for beginning gamers like us.

Perhaps we didn't give it much of a chance but at our current stage, this wasn't the game for us. The theme really appealed to me but I don't think we could get past all of the rules.

Are we going to like every game? Of course not. I'm glad we gave something different a try though. Perhaps we'll come back to this one in the future.

Undeterred, I plan my next purchase.

Notes
Wife: "Motherscratcher! That is a lot of pieces."

Yes, she said motherscratcher. Extra points if you know where she got that from.
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7. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:502]
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My next planned purchase, however, would have to temporarily wait.

The next night we were having another couple over for some dinner and maybe a game afterward. I thought that we would probably play a game of Blokus and if I was feeling adventurous, maybe attempt to introduce Carcassonne.

Shortly before the evening my wife received a call. "That was them. She wants to invite some more people from work. Her sister may come too. The more the merrier!" I'm always up for an impromptu party, but what are we going to play!?

Since I now knew there are better board games out there, there must be better party games too. I'm not breaking out that piece of crap Cranium if I can find something better. BGG to the rescue! I quickly found Wits & Wagers and marked that one as the game I should buy. I hit the local game store, picked up the game and was back to take a shower before the guests arrive.

We sandwiched this one in between our other party games: Trivial Pursuit and Scene It. Somebody brought Partini too; they also bought that just that afternoon.

Wits & Wagers was far and away the favorite game of the evening. We changed the rules of all 3 other games so we could finish them quicker but we played Wits & Wagers 4 times. I've already had several people ask me about the trivia-gambling game. A winner all around.

Okay, now back to my next purchase.

Notes
Question: In what year did an aircraft first officially break the sound barrier?
Answer (me after several libations): 1969
Wife: "1969? We were on the moon by then. Good answer Wonderwoman."
Me: "Maybe we broke it on our way up."
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8. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
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I figured it was about time that I let my wife choose a game for our growing collection. She had been accommodating enough trying all these other games, so why not let her choose one herself?

She hopped on BGG, looked over only a few games and saw this one. She immediately wanted to but it. "A cooperative game? I've never heard of that. Let's try this one."

I again visited Amazon and ordered the game. It arrived fairly quickly and we were both excited to give this one a go. I setup the game that night after dinner and we were ready to save the world.

She is really enjoying the cooperative aspect. She is not as competitive as I am so would rather work together than against one another. I love the overall look of the game and the fact that she will actually suggest that we play again! She likes this game a lot more than I do, but my rating for it skyrocketed because she likes it so much.

This is also the other game that fills our her top 3. She loves the working together and curing things idea. I don't think I would be too far off in saying that I believe a lot of women would like this game.

Frankly, I don't care too much what game it is if my wife asks to play it again. I'd rather be at the table playing a game with her than doing anything else.

Notes
Me: "I read on BGG that if we win our first play, we're doing something wrong."
We win the first play.
Wife: "Go read one of those NerdThings and find out what we're doing wrong."
Me: "GeekList."
Wife: "Whatever."
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9. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
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My next purchase suggestion came from a Recommendation forum thread. It seems I missed one of the typical beginner/gateway games. Back to Amazon for another purchase!

This one arrived in the mail only days after I ordered it. It seems that the vendor that I purchased from was located in Colorado. So, a matter of hours after ordering, this game was on our table and ready for a first game!

We still have only got this one the table the one time, but I really enjoyed it and my wife did too. She is a Rummy fan so I think the set collecting was a lot of fun for her. It will be coming to the table more often that is for sure.

I'm really excited to get another couple over here as well. After only playing this game once, I see why this is #1 on many "Best Gateway Game" GeekLists. I wouldn't be hesitant at all to try to introduce this game to some non-gamer friends.

Notes
I've got nothing. Sorry.
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10. Board Game: Sorry! Sliders [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1488]
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Okay, it's certainly not a gamer's game but I couldn't resist. It just looked like too much fun - and it is!

I was hoping to use a Target gift card for this one but at first I had such a problem finding this dang game. I checked online constantly, all my area store's stock and even walked into several stores to see if perhaps they had one.

I lucked out last week walking into a Target by work. I headed back to the games section not expecting to find anything that I would want to buy but located one Sorry! Sliders hiding behind all of the regular Sorry! games. I walked to the front carrying my game like it was made of gold. $15 for this game is a steal.

My wife and I played several times that night and had fun with it even though she is not that good with dexterity games. Frankly, she's a klutz (don't tell her I said that). I imagine the game would be better with 4 players. I'm looking forward to playing this with our - eventual - kids too.

Notes
Wife (mockingly): "Oh look at me! I'm little Winny McWinnerton! Beating my poor little wife in all dexterity games. Yippee do for me! Somebody give me a biscuit."
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11. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Here we are rounding out my 11th purchase in exactly 1 month since joining BGG.

Digging through my pile of gift cards, I found a Barnes and Noble card with money left on it from quite some time ago. Why not another game and why not from the place where I first saw game #1 on my list!?

I had already thoroughly read about the game and the 2-player variants. It looked like a lot of fun and how could I pass up on a game with such a reputation? Again, like Dominion, there was the option of being able to play the game online if it flopped in the house.

Heading back to Barnes and Noble, I looked over the games in their selection. I was pretty sure that I was going to get Catan, but decided to at least look over their other offerings. I didn't see anything else that caught my eye, so headed to the cashier with my new Settlers of Catan.

I set the game up that night, read the directions and introduced my wife to our newest member of the collection. We played a game using this variant: http://www.baumfamily.org/dave/settlers.html. I very much enjoyed it but my wife said it was "okay."

This was my first introduction to a resource management/placement type game. I am very, very excited to try more in this genre. The rules were simple enough but the strategy seemed endless. I'm hoping to turn my wife onto games of this ilk because I'd really like to try some heavier games in this category.

Notes
Wife: "Why is 'Wood for Sheep' the popular saying? Why not 'Brick for Wheat' or something else?"
Me: "I have no idea. Somebody on BGG will tell us."
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