Gaming With My Dad: A Memorial
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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I've been meaning to create this list for a while, but with today being Father's Day it is especially fitting. This is my first Father's Day (my daughter is not quite one year old) and it's also the first Father's Day without my father.

My father’s battle with cancer ended on February 23rd, 2010. While I miss Dad very much, I’m grateful for the time I did get to spend with him. I’m especially thankful that he lived long enough to meet his first grandchild.

Some of my clearest memories of my dad come from the different board games we played together while I was growing up. My parents both believed that board games are a great way for people to spend time together and interact. Growing up around this attitude shaped my own interest in board gaming.

In this Geeklist I will chronicle some of the games I played with my dad.
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1. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14778]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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One of my earliest board game memories is watching my parents and relatives playing Risk. Dad taught me how to play once I was old enough and I remember being surprised that the rules were so simple. I was also really bummed that the game did not include a big metal cannon like the picture on the box showed.
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2. Board Game: Paydirt [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:2998]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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Dad and I played a partial season of this one winter before my brother was old enough to play strategic games. I remember that I was young enough to not really understand football while watching it on TV, but after playing a few games of this I understood not only the rules but also some of the strategy involved in football.
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3. Board Game: Dealer's Choice [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:8968]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
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Dad told my brother and me that this game was "kind of like Monopoly, only better." By the young age of nine or ten I already understood there had to be games better than Monopoly. Nevertheless, I was excited to try this game. I remember losing badly. I still remember how bummed I was when I stole one of my dad’s insurance policies only to find that it protected against "rancid popcorn."
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4. Board Game: Outdoor Survival [Average Rating:4.66 Overall Rank:15527]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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My mom always talked about how boring this game was, but my dad loved about it. Their discussions about the game made me really want to try it. Dad and I played several of the scenarios and I think I died of thirst every time.
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5. Board Game: Scrabble Junior [Average Rating:4.71 Overall Rank:15462]
Matt Nuttleman
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Lincoln
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Once all three of my siblings were also old enough to play games, Dad started a new tradition on Christmas Eve. We would open a single present (which was always a new game) and learn it together, usually staying up late playing it. Scrabble Junior was one of the first games he chose. Since my youngest sister was only four or five, we had to play a game that was appropriate for her as well. I remember wanting to claw my eyes out after a couple of turns.
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6. Board Game: Sequence [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:3066]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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We also played games every New Years’ Eve. Sequence got a lot of play because all six of us could play it. I don’t know how many dozens of times we played this one.
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7. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:7782]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
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Dad was extremely good at Clue - if my memory serves me well, he won about 80% of the time. He had a detailed system of symbols that he wrote on his pad to help him remember different clues. I remember some games were I hardly ever rolled higher than a two and wondered if maybe my detective (usually Professor Plum) kept spraining his ankle.
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8. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1197]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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My dad got this for me for Christmas when I was fairly young - maybe ten or eleven. I was already heavily interested in WWII history by that point and remember almost wetting my pants when I unwrapped my large package to find a board game on the subject. That afternoon, I punched out and organized the pieces while Dad read the rules. I was so excited to play that I had trouble paying attention while he explained the rules, which lead to me losing very badly as the Axis. We played numerous games of this, and by the time I was in high school I had developed a strong enough strategic aptitude to give Dad a good game.
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9. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2565]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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Dad excelled at many sports, including basketball, golf, racquetball, tennis, pool, and ping pong, and I’m thankful for the time I got to spend sharing these activities with him.
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10. Board Game: Cribbage [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:560]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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On Christmas Eve 2002 (during my senior year of high school) Dad selected Cribbage as the game we would learn and play together. I think he had forgotten that I played cribbage every day during lunch and breaks with my co-workers. My youngest sister and I were a team and we completely dominated.
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11. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:3234] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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My wife and I received this game as a wedding gift and brought it over to my parents’ house one night. Dad disliked it, probably because it was so subjective (causing it to have little appeal to his engineer brain.)
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12. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:50]
 
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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After my wife surprised me with my own copy of this game for our first Christmas together, I was excited to teach my dad and brother how to play. Dad liked it, but I think he would have enjoyed it more if he could have read the rules himself beforehand rather than learning it on the fly. Dad was an exceptional assimilator and explainer of game rules, so it was very uncommon for him to learn the rules from someone else. However, Twilight Imperium marks the beginning my personal "gaming renaissance," when I began discovering new games on my own and introducing them to my family.
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13. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:283] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
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Settlers was the first Euro I purchased, and my wife and I were eager to introduce it to the rest of my family. For their learning game, we teamed up to speed up the play - my wife and I each teamed with one of my sisters and my parents were together. Dad and Mom were very entertaining because they kept getting each other confused on the trading rules, leading to some disastrous robber rolls before we got them straightened out.
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14. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:138] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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My second Euro, I played a game of this with my parents and sisters. Everyone had a good time and Dad won - not an uncommon occurrence when he learned a new game.
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15. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:593]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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I was excited to show Dad this game and learning from my experience with Twilight Imperium I provided him an electronic copy of the rules several weeks before we planned to play it. After we had planned our game, but before the date arrived, Dad was diagnosed with cancer. We still had a good time playing despite his already significant discomfort and even got my brother involved in playing the three-player scenario from the Designer Series book.
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16. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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I introduced my parents and sisters to this in a five-player game. Dad picked it up very quickly and announced after a couple of rounds that this was "his type of game." We had several more chances to enjoy games of this together, and I surprised him with his very own copy for Christmas.
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17. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
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Dad was excited to give this game a try after my brother’s enthusiastic reviews. He enjoyed it and recognized that it was a completely different sort of game.
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18. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:623]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
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We pulled this out with my family. Dad won, commenting that the game was "all about playing the odds."
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19. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:372]
Matt Nuttleman
United States
Lincoln
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This game holds the dubious honor of being the last game I ever played with my dad. We played a full seven player game on my sister’s birthday (January second.) Dad won.

The Bible makes clear that because I (like my dad) have placed my faith in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins, I will see my dad again when my journey in this life is over. It’s a bummer that I’ll never get to play any more games with my dad - I have so many that I know he would have enjoyed but that we just didn’t have time to play (Caylus, El Grande, 1870, Power Grid, and Squad Leader among others.) However, the next time we see each other we’ll both be in heaven, and I'm sure we won't be concerned about missing out on a few games together.
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