How I became the Gamer I Am Today
Ian Klinck
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This is the story of my life in games...
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1. Board Game: Wide World [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:13389]
Ian Klinck
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Toronto
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Earliest Gaming Memories (1970-1975)

My earliest memory of boardgames is at my grandparents' place. They babysat me a lot while my parents were working, and had a cupboard full of games. I have specific memories of playing "Wide World" - the metal airplanes, and the "weather system" overlay that moved around the board, sometimes taking your plane across the map just before you got to where you were going! My grandmother always talked about how I'd be winning games against her and her friends when I was still pre-school age.

Other games I remember from the grandparents' cupboard were Careers, Masterpiece, and Probe.
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2. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.19 Overall Rank:15446]
Ian Klinck
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Growing Up (1976-1981)

Board games were a common family activity with my parents and sisters. These were mostly mass-market games like Payday, Full House, and Risk. I remember seeing my parents playing "The Game of Life" at a friend's place, and thinking it looked really neat (spinner, 3-D board, neat playing pieces) and asking for it for Christmas. I was young, I didn't know any better.
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3. Board Game: Dungeon! [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:3493]
Ian Klinck
Canada
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Discovery of RPGs & Hobby Games (1981-1984)

In grade 6, I was introduced to the world of role-playing and hobby games. The computers in the school had a text-based "Dungeons and Dragons" game that we liked to play, and one of my classmates asked me if I'd like to try "real D&D". I also remember playing "Dungeon" at a grade 6 or 7 Christmas or end-of-year party. Pretty soon, I had a group of school friends and the neighbourhood guys all playing D&D and other RPGs.
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4. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1677]
Ian Klinck
Canada
Toronto
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High School Games Club (1984-1989)

In grade 9, my friend (the same one who introduced me to D&D) and I tried to get a "Dungeons & Dragons" club started at the school. Due to the social climate of the time, we couldn't get staff support for that, but we did manage to get a "games club" going - at which we played a lot of D&D, but also other games, including some board games. One of the guys was a big Star Trek fan, and had all of the Star Fleet Battles stuff, so we'd spend a lot of time moving stacks of counters and marking up Energy Allocation forms and SSDs.

I lived in a little town that didn't even have a movie theatre or a real bookstore, never mind a games store, but I would frequently make the hour-long (each way) bike ride into the local city of Kitchener, Ontario to visit "Imperiums to Order", a model which all FLGS's should aspire to! (I miss that place!) I remember buying Dungeonquest, Dragonlance, Civilization, and Titan there, as I built up a bit of a game collection.
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5. Board Game: Bridge [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:493]
Ian Klinck
Canada
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University (1989-1993)

So, it was off to University. Hanging around in the lounge between classes, we played a lot of Bridge. There were other card games that would have brief periods of popularity, but Bridge was the one constant. That is, until 1993...

(I did still have a group that got together for RPGs and the occasional board game, but I played a lot of Bridge.)
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6. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:155] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Ian Klinck
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Magic (1993-1996)

1993, late in my University life, was when Magic: The Gathering was released, and took over the lounge at the University. There was usually still a game or two of Bridge to be found, but "2 Clubs" and "3 No Trump" was replaced by "Tap", "Mox", and "Lord of the Pit". I really took to the game, although I missed the Alpha and Beta printings. I was one of those guys with a briefcase full of cards, and a friend of mine actually got a retailers license so he could buy cards wholesale (and sell them around campus)!

After graduation, I kept a hand in for a while, and even ran a "sealed league", where we'd all get one booster from each expansion to add to our "league" collections, but, eventually, that died out.
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7. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2545]
Ian Klinck
Canada
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Gaming Wasteland (1996-2004)

My first job was in the suburbs of Toronto, so I was living outside of the core of the city, and most of my friends weren't nearby. This meant it was hard to get gaming groups going. We made a couple of attempts to get RPG campaigns going, but I ended up getting more into online gaming (Diablo 2, Ultima Onlline, City of Heroes). I still bought the occasional boardgame, but I didn't have much chance to play.
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8. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:3380] [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Ian Klinck
Canada
Toronto
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Back to Civilization (2005-2006)

One of the games that I discovered late in my "gaming exile" was Munchkin. Being a former RPGer, I took to it pretty readily, and I did get the occasional chance to play it with friends.

Shortly after that, I got a new job, and moved to downtown Toronto. I quickly seized the opportunity to organize a regular weekly games night with my friends in the city, every Thursday night, and it's been going strong since! I knew people wouldn't be able to commit to regular enough attendance to have a steady RPG campaign, so we made it a boardgame night.

Munchkin (with its variants) was one of our main "go-to" games at the start, but it was soon overshadowed by newer games.
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9. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:396]
Ian Klinck
Canada
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First Euro (2006)

One evening, my friend Erik brought his copy of Alhambra. This was the first time I'd played a "Eurogame", and I loved it! Shortly afterwards, Erik got a new job, and couldn't make Thursdays very reliably any more. It didn't take me long to get out and buy a copy of Alhambra, and it's been a favourite ever since.

I also started picking up some other Euro standards, like Carcassonne.
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10. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Ian Klinck
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More Variety (2007)

One of my "amusing gamer stories" is about getting the new job mentioned above. Part of the interview process was a phone interview with a manager of one of our remote offices. During the interview, we ended up talking a lot about boardgames, as he's also a gamer.

Once I had my game night going, Steve would join us whenever he was in town. He would always bring a new game (or two) to teach us, and I've picked up a number of those games for my own collection since. (While I've since moved on to a different job, he still comes out for games when he's in town.)

Besides Ra, Steve also introduced us to Vegas Showdown, Amun Re, San Juan, and Kingsburg (among others).
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11. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:322]
Ian Klinck
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Discovery of BGG (2007)

One of my friends, who regularly attends Thursday nights, invited an acquaintance of his, Sonja, to join us. Before coming out, she sent out a link to her list of games on BGG. I thought this was a really neat tool, so I registered, and entered my game collection.

Sonja introduced us to Shadows over Camelot and Quo Vadis.

I soon discovered that BGG was a great source for finding out more about games, especially doing research before buying (instead of just buying based on the box), and this lead to...
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12. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
Ian Klinck
Canada
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Shopping Spree (2008)

After reading about all kinds of different games on BGG, I wanted to fill out my collection with "new" games. I checked out the local stores, and found some Canadian online retailers, like Fun Games Cafe, and bought games like Ticket to Ride, Bohnanza, Blokus, and Pandemic.
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13. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:50]
Ian Klinck
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Got Married (2008)

Before I was married, my girlfriend occasionally came out to Thursday games night. After we were married, she played with us more frequently (since we hosted at our place). After a few months of marriage, we discovered that playing games (just the two of us) was a good way to spend time together. You can tell by my "Games Played by Month" count when that started happening. This has led to a streak of months where I've averaged more than one game played per day!

Race for the Galaxy is our most-frequently played game, but Dominion is catching up quickly. We also like Bohnanza, Ingenious, and have picked up some 2-player only games like Hive and Lost Cities.

It's also worth noting that we received Settlers of Catan and Cities & Knights of Catan as a wedding gift - from one of HER friends!
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14. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:261]
Ian Klinck
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Trading (2009)

Earlier this year, I discovered trading. Someone was interested in my old copy of Dungeon (which wasn't being played anymore), so I picked up Hive and Attribute in exchange. I was happy to discover a way to find good homes for the games I wasn't playing, and get new stuff in exchange (even if I give up a bit in straight cash value). I was also able to pick up Amun Re, RoboRally, Alhambra: The Vizier's Favor, and Acquire in trades.
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15. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Ian Klinck
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Math Trades & TABS (2009)

Shortly after discovering trading, I made the next logical step: Math Trades! I picked up Caylus in my first one, then discovered TABS and the local Math Trades they run at conventions. I picked up Vegas Showdown in my first TABSCon Math Trade.
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16. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Ian Klinck
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I Knew it Before it was Famous! (2009)

Once I started researching games, looking into reviews, etc., I found that the Spiel de Jahres criteria seemed to match well with my tastes. I own a significant number of past winners, and seeing that a game has been recognized by the Spiel de Jahres will get me to at least take a second look.

I had heard about Dominion on BGG when it first came out. When my friend, Erik, brought it out for a games night, it was an instant hit. I borrowed it from him for a few weeks, and it went over well with my wife as a 2-player game, so I've since bought it, as well as the promo cards and Intrigue.

When Dominion won the Spiel de Jahres, it marked the first time I had played a game before it won the award.
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17. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Ian Klinck
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Most Recent Acquisitions (2009)

I've been on a bit of a game acquisition spree over the past month:
- I got Through the Desert in the most recent TABSCon Math Trade
- While at the convention to make the trade, I found a great deal on Quo Vadis, and also picked up Saboteur from a vendor.
- I got two lots of two games in the Canada Day Math Trade, picking up Lost Cities, For Sale, Industria, and Paris Paris
- I picked up two new expansions: Dominion: Intrigue and Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs. Imperium

For now, I think my collection is big enough. We need a chance to play the games I have before I go too far out of my way to pick up more. However, when I am ready to pick up something new, Notre Dame (another one that Steve introduced us to) is right at the top of my list...
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18. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Ian Klinck
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Coming back to this list after a little over a year...

I still feel my collection is "big enough", but I have had a few acquisitions since my last post. I did pick up Notre Dame (used), and I've made a few trades.

Stone Age is one game I purchased new. After hearing that it's a good "couples game", and trying it out on yucata.de (where I'm playing lots of games these days), I decided that my wife would probably like it - and she does! It's one of our favourite games these days.

My biggest "acquisition" in the past year, though, was my new daughter! I'm looking forward to when she's older, and we can play games together.

I'm still getting a decent amount of gaming in - reasonably frequent games with my wife (Dominion, Stone Age, Race for the Galaxy, Notre Dame, Hey! That's My Fish, etc.), and the games group is getting back to a weekly schedule again, too.
 
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