How Did I Become a Game Fanatic?
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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This is a (short and incomplete) history of my experiences with a wide variety of games, from the most basic to the current Euro-types, from childhood to now. My first table game was Crazy Eights, played with a standard deck of cards, at about age 5, which I played with my parents. Card games of all types have always been big favorites of mine, but this is mostly about board games . . .

Anything here bring back memories for anyone else?
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1. Board Game: Uncle Wiggily [Average Rating:4.00 Overall Rank:15262]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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This was the first board game I remember seeing, at age 7. My cousin owned it, but she was about 15 and no longer had any interest in playing it, of course. I could read the cards, so I played it with another cousin who was 5. From that point, I was fascinated by board games.
 
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2. Board Game: Checkers [Average Rating:4.86 Overall Rank:15307]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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My grandmother introduced me to checkers at (approximately) age 8. I think she let me win most of the time. She expanded my horizons with a variation called Six Corner Kings and with a give-away variation.
 
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3. Board Game: Dominoes [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:14955]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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She also taught me dominoes at that time, and, again, I think she let me win most of the time. She was a really wonderful grandmother! I’m sure that winning kept me interested in playing games.
 
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4. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:15329]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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When I was about 7, I recall seeing Monopoly for the first time. Three or four older cousins (I had no siblings) were playing the game, and a younger cousin and I wanted to play. They said we were too young and didn’t allow us to participate. I believe I made up my mind at that time that I would play that game as soon as I could. At age 8, my parents and I moved from the farm to town, and within a year I found a neighbor about my age who had a Monopoly game. That’s when I learned to play this old classic.
 
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5. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:415] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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My parents were not interested in board games, so I did not own any, until I bought my own travel-version, tiny plastic pegboard chess set at age 14, shortly after learning to play the game. A friend and I were interested in learning chess, but we knew no one who played it, so I hand-copied the rules from an encyclopedia in our high school library, including drawing the shapes of the pieces (no copy machines in those days). He had acquired a small set (without instructions), and we taught ourselves how to play. I never became a really good player, but it was a great pastime at college (where I could hold my own with most opponents) and for the rest of my life.
 
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6. Board Game: Tripoley [Average Rating:5.52 Overall Rank:13100]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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Another high school friend had a Tripoley set, and I learned to play that game with him and his parents. This was my first experience of playing a board game with adults (except checkers and dominoes with my grandmother), although I had played a variety of card games with adults. This was when I learned the rules for poker.
 
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7. Board Game: Battle-Cry [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:11481]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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At about age 15, I found a copy of this game for sale cheap in a close-out variety store. Although I had no one to play it with, I was fascinated by the board and pieces, and I played many solitaire games. This was my first true, commercial board game to own.
 
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8. Board Game: Tactics II [Average Rating:5.33 Overall Rank:14983]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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In college (early 1960’s), a dorm friend showed me his copy of this war game, and I became hooked on that category of board games forever. We only played a couple of times, but I could never forget the amazing possibilities of it. I craved more – but had to wait a while to expand my knowledge and experience in this area.
 
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9. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:7576]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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I had never seen this game until I got married (age 20). My wife had a copy that she had played at home for years. She brought it to our home and we played occasionally with friends.
 
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10. Board Game: Big Business [Average Rating:4.42 Unranked]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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My wife also owned this game, as well as an old Monopoly set. Clue, Big Business, Monopoly, chess, American Heritage – Civil War, dominoes, cards, and checkers were the games in our closet when we got married. Mostly, we played cards at that time, Pitch and Canasta being our favorite games.
 
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11. Board Game: Phalanx [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:10930]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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Early in our marriage, on a whim (and because it was really cheap), I bought this game. I think my wife beat me every time we played it. I’m not sure whether I quit playing because I kept losing, or whether she quit because she was bored with always winning, but we put this one away virtually forever after a few months. {She also always beat me at strip poker, but I put that down to a lack of concentration on my part (in addition to her uncanny luck) and besides, it wasn’t too important who won or lost . . .} Phalanx was the last “war game” my wife consented to play – she has no interest in games that involve the depiction of war, violence, mayhem, or similar themes and no interest in role-playing games.
 
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12. Board Game: Afrika Korps [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3680]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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After graduation from college, I became an avid reader of military history books (as well as science fiction and fantasy). Years later, at age 32, and after our two children had been born, we moved to Fairfax, Virginia, and I saw my first Toys R Us store. What a treat! The most amazing thing to me was the neat collection of Avalon Hill games the store stocked. I had never seen these war games, which greatly surpassed their early Tactics II, and I was fascinated! After reading all the boxes thoroughly, I purchased Afrika Korps (World War II was a favorite period of military history for me), knowing of course that my wife would never care to play the game. Two interesting things happened as a result of this purchase – I learned about and subscribed to the AH magazine The General, and I found that it was possible to play this game by mail. From the magazine, I found a person in Virginia who wanted to play, and we completed one PBM game (which I won). I still think it’s a great game, but have no one to play it with.
 
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13. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:501]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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This led, quite naturally, to my purchase of Diplomacy and the playing of several PBM games of it. Once (and one time only), I even managed to get six other guys together at our house to play a full game. After introducing several co-workers to this game (after moving to Colorado), we copied small maps and played during lunch hours, continuing games from one day to the next.
 
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14. Board Game: Wooden Ships & Iron Men [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1043]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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This was a game I acquired for the office group, and we set up a regular once-a-month game night, usually just for this game. During this time, I acquired at least a half-dozen AH titles and continued to find them at garage sales, sometimes in shrink-wrapped condition for a few dollars.
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15. Board Game: Rise and Decline of the Third Reich [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1425]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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This was one of my acquisitions during this time, and I always wanted to play it, but could never find anyone willing to take the time required (not surprisingly).
 
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16. Board Game: Yahtzee [Average Rating:5.29 Overall Rank:15230]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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As our children grew, we introduced them to many, many games, suitable to their ages, including both card and board games – Wacky Wizards, Superstition, Battleship, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Rack-O, Waterworks, Mille Bornes, Chinese Checkers, Uno, Chess, Outdoor Survival, a wide variety of card games, etc., etc., etc. They, like their mother, never became interested at all in war games, so I had a great collection of high-quality games that only saw daylight if I played a game solitaire or rarely managed to find someone from work willing to spend some hours trying one out. What caught the family’s gaming interest at this time was our new Atari video game machine and game cartridges, which occupied us for many hours on weekends. Soon after, home computers became available, with such unbelievable games as Zork (played on our Commodore 64). Board games took a back seat for a while in our house.
 
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17. Board Game: Trumpet [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:4165]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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When our son and daughter had graduated from college and our daughter got married (with our son as their best man), and with us all living within about 30 minutes of each other, we began playing board and card games each weekend. I was subscribing to Games Magazine at the time and began selecting family games from the December issues each year (Games 100 Best). That’s how we found this game, and it still is a favorite of ours (with two house rule changes, which greatly improved the play). We’ve worn out a couple of decks of the cards and have three back-up copies of this out-of-print game in our games closet.
 
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18. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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This soon became another favorite. Sometimes, we clear the dining table and set up both Carcassonne and Hunters and Gatherers and walk around the table, playing both at the same time. Are we hooked, or what?
 
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19. Board Game: Oasis [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1243]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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We’ve just begun playing this one, and it is already a favorite of mine (although our son has won both times we played), along with Bohnanza, Coloretto, Santa Fe Rails, and Royal Turf. The rest of the family prefers Bohnanza, Carcassonne, and Coloretto, but I keep bringing out the others in hopes their interest in them will increase. There are five adults in our family game group, so we only purchase games that can be played by that many players. Unfortunately, that eliminates a lot of great four-player games from our agenda (I would love to try Settlers of Catan).
 
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20. Board Game: Circus Flohcati [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1362]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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Now, our grandchildren (turning 7 and 9 in December 2004) join us in several games, including Zirkuz Flohcati, Frank’s Zoo, Vampire, David & Goliath, and Trumpet. Our (currently) 6-year-old grandson is already a math whiz (doing double-digit addition and subtraction in his head, before math had even been introduced in his first-grade class) and has beat us all at Trumpet and some of the other games, and our (currently) 8-year-old granddaughter is an excellent reader, writer, and illustrator (and beat us all at Trumpet last weekend). We believe their exposure to many board games and card games is a major contributor to their developing skills. Our grandson has just begun playing Magic: The Gathering with his dad and me. That is spurring him to learn to read above his school grade level, too, since he wants to be able to read the cards himself. ** Games will always be an important part of our lives. **
 
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21. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:698]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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My son-in-law and I (both of us fans of Tolkien’s Hobbit books) have enjoyed this game several times, but our wives are not interested in it. Occasionally (while the female members of the family go shopping), my son, son-in-law, and I play a game of Risk, and my grandson has just learned how to play it. I have some faint hope that he might become interested someday in playing my old AH games, but it’s probably too much to wish for – they require more time to set up and play than we are likely to have available together. Still, I’ll keep it in mind as he grows up . . .

Well, that’s how I got here!!! Now that I’ve discovered the most excellent BGG, I’m spending even more time reading (and writing) about games. (See my BGG profile for a list of all the 155 games we currently own, a few of which are becoming new additions to the BGG database.)

Any comments??
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