My gaming group - Geeklist nazis bugger off
Daniel Edwards
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I've been reading the geek for some time now. I've always seen the creation of a geek-list as somewhat imposing. I wanted to do one that was insightful and clever. Unfortunately, through a combination of laziness and other people stealing my insightful and clever ideas (ok its more the lazy thing) I have not done so until now.

My current girl friend is not a gamer. She tolerates my geekiness but I don't think she really understands why I like games. This has led me to think about why I do and how I became involved in boardgames.

Part of the answer of course is that some of my good friends are game players. I'm lucky to still be in contact (sometimes semi-regular contact) with the people that I started playing boardgames with way back when.

I played lots of games with my family as a child and rpg's with my friends as a teenager. When I started university at the University of Queensland in ... oooh 1993 I joined the University games society which met once a month. I remember going along to my first meeting and watching a game of Britannia. It looked pretty cool. I've liked games and attended the club meetings since then. We've gone through a lot of phases old style games, Avalon Hill games, ccg's and then euro games.

Through all that though the people I've played most of my games with have stayed fairly constant. So then rather than a list about games I've played this is a list about the people who I've played them with. I've set out their strengths and weaknesses as gamers and what games i fear playing with them.

I will also say that I regret that each and every one of the people on this list will be more gracious in both victory and defeat than I will ever be.

Thanks guys.
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1. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14509]
Daniel Edwards
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David

David was one of the first persons I met at the club when he ran an rpg. Interestingly in all his years of service he has never actually been a student. During the early days he had the distinction of owning many of the games that we played which among other things generally made him the core of the group.

David has good general strategy and very strong analytical and mathematical skills. He can generally be counted on to consider with furrowed brow each of the available options until the optimal one becomes apparent.

Ironically, his gifts have to compensate for his other key trait: a complete inability to roll dice worth a damn. My years of playing games with David have seen witness to some of the worst sequences of dice throwing that are statistically possible. Sadly this effects his tactical play as he overcompensates for the expected bad luck.

There are two kinds of people in this word. People who respond to geek list comments about certain players being talismans of crappy luck and scoff and people who don't. Over the years David has made me into the later. Was he cursed by gypsies as a child? I fear we will never know.

I have been a sad and sorry witness to the deaths of whole legions of brave young men to 3 random units in brazil in risk. I have seen David build up to 3:1 advantages because 2:1 just wasn't enough and still lose... Oh who am I kidding I have laughed until tears have fallen free down my cheeks during all of these things.

Interesting his poor luck only applies to dice. Cards and other random objects appear fine.

Unsurpisingly, David is most feared in analytical games without dice. His specialties are Medici, Modern Art and Carcasonne.

Oh and David still remains extremely dirty about the game of colonial diplomacy where I stabbed him 7 years ago. Dude I'm sorry. Please. Let it go.
 
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2. Board Game: Attack! [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:4456]
Daniel Edwards
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Darryl

Darryl was one of the players in that same rpg. Similarly, now I think about it he never actually attended Qld uni despite spending 12 or so years at the club.

Darryl has strong tactical skills from his background in rpg's and ccg's.

However his greatest strength (and indeed ironically also his greatest weakness) can be summed up in three words - "sheer bloody mindedness". Darryl is like a pit bull that locks on with his teeth and never lets go until the poor baby is shaken to a bloody rag. In games involving direct conflict commencing a fight with Darryl generally involves a protracted battle until one of you is utterly destroyed or the game ends, whichever is the later.

While Darryl does not seem to win as many games as some other players on this list he is however probably directly responsible for more non-wins by others than anyone else. He can also strike out at random when he feels he no longer has a chance to win.

I find that Darryl is good at Carcasone and its derivatives. My most feared games against Darryl is any game where I start next to him. My sole strategy in such an unfortunate happenstance is a desperate and often pathetic attempt to try and divert him elsewhere.

 
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3. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Daniel Edwards
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Travis

I believe Travis was one of the players of that first game of Britannia (purple if I recall correctly).

Travis displays a formidable mix of strategy, tactics and analytical skills. This formidability is lessened only by two things. Firstly, Travis displays more than a little of Darryl's bloody mindedness. More than a few N player games have turned into N-2 player games within minutes of game start with Travis and Darryl engaging in their customary mutual orgy of mindless destruction.

Secondly, Travis often spurns attempts at political massaging for bluntness. Given any sign of weakness, a vacant supply centre, an ungarrisoned area and Travis will strike like a shark on a wounded tuna. Rather than attempt to conceal the move in a web of lies involving the meta-game, how so in so is winning or how it was completely necessary in the circumstances, he will state simply along the lines that weakness should be punished. Fortunately for the rest of us it is often only his proclivity to disregard the political consequences of his actions that keeps him in check.

His good general strategy and tactics serve him well in gather resources and expand games such as Civilisation, Age of Mythology or Settlers of Cataan. He's also very good at Robo Rally.

Travis also exhibited amazing emotional stability in managing to restrain himself from upsetting the board during a game of Andromeda once where I managed a 1 in 9 roll of the cosmic ashtray while he missed an 8 in 9 handing me the game. In his position I would not have been so gracious.
 
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4. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:540]
Daniel Edwards
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Gary

Gary is the "older statesmen" of our gaming group despite the fact that hes not actually any older. This stems from the fact that he started at the club longer than any of us and has been the custodian and hardest worker at the club for the last decade.

Gary has good strategy skills combined with excellent tactical skills. He will seldom lose to anyone in our group 1:1 in a tactical contest.

Gary generally far prefers older area control games to the newer euro games. I've had few chances to observe his analytical skills as he does not often play such games. He also often deigns to descend into the political arena in games and sometimes suffers as a result.

For mine, Gary's greatest ability is that he makes the perfect ally. He never lies, he always does what he says he will do. As a result he is very trusted. I assume that an alliance would be discarded if it meant winning the game but as his strategic aims never appear to involve attacking an ally he is seldom in a position to ever do so. Unfortunately for Gary his good nature is often taken advantage of by others who do not share his sense of honour and justice - okay me.

Gary is most feared in the aforementioned older expand and control games. He is a skilled diplomacy player despite his handicap of a truthful nature. His specialty however is Britannia and he can often be found trying to lure innocent new gamers into his addiction. However, to his lament, few of us regulars will play with him after his wife let slip the fact that he would play solitaire for hours in end playing all 4 players when noone else was around.
 
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5. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Daniel Edwards
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Tim #1

Tim has been an occasional attendee at the club for the last couple of years. He was sucked in though his primary love of ccg's which all of us except Gary have played to some extent over the years.

Tim was a science student and it shows with his excellent analytical and mathematical skills. His experience with ccg's has also bred good tactical skills.

As far as I can see Tim has only two real weaknesses. Firstly, as he always calculates precisely the correct move analytically from any range of possible alternatives his actions can sometimes be predicted.

Secondly, Tim likes a good backstabbing. Other backs of course. He is seldom able to resist the tantalising opportunity to hurt someone badly whether its in his overall strategic interest to do so or not. Sometimes I think its because he is just an evil person. Sometimes I think its because his experience with multi player ccg's leads to that kind of behaviour. Come to think of it I think my theories are compatible.

Tim is the only member of our group that plays ccg's weekly who has his own rule set on what cards he can and can't play. His renowned ability to build and play decks that allow him to kill every other player simultaneously 5 minutes into the game cause him much grief.

He has also earnt a lot of kudos by being the only person to ever play hera and zeus with me.
 
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6. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Daniel Edwards
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Tim #2

Tim has been part of our unofficial group for the last two years or so. He is from New Zealand which makes it difficult for him from the start. We try and be nice.

Despite his unfortunate background, Tim is a skilled player at virtually any game with a good mix of strategic, tactical and analytical skills. He has the under appreciated talent of keeping pace of what everyone else is doing while managing his own play. He also has many of the same traits that I do: that is to say he is sly, sneaky and cannot be trusted further than he can be shot put. I am forced to watch him constantly.

Not that he cheats - far from it. Tim however is a proponent of the "gathering sufficient resources to take the game with one swift blow while laughing maniacally" style of play. That encourages a careful eye believe me.

I've noted that he is quite good at the more complex strategy games such as El Grande, Puerto Rico and Game of Thrones. Given his lack of obvious weaknesses my general strategy of dealing with him is to lie, threaten, cajole and generally attempt to manipulate the other players into dealing with him for me
 
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7. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:499]
Daniel Edwards
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Dale

Lastly, there is Dale. It has been a couple of years since I have played games with Dale.

While Dale was not a poor player by any means his key distinguishing feature was his complete contentment to come 3rd or 4th in any game. As long as he didn't come last he was perfectly happy. This of course meant that Dale made a quite simply superb sock puppet for whoever was fortunate enough to engage him as an ally in any game. I will confess. More often than not it was me.

I don't think that I have ever thanked Dale for several of my tournament wins in Diplomacy and I would like to use this forum as an opportunity to do so.
 
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8. Board Game: Colonial Diplomacy [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:3550]
Travis Hall
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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It has come to my attention that Daniel has forgotten to include one very notable member of his gaming circle in his list: himself. And so I present...

Daniel

I wish I could have chosen Diplomacy for Daniel. It would have been the perfect game to represent the mix of deceit, conniving and basic BS that Daniel uses to win so many games. Diplomacy is such a downright nasty game, and so is how Danial plays. However, Daniel has assigned that game to Dale, for whom the name is probably a good match but perhaps not so much the spirit, and so I am torn between assigning to Daniel a Diplomacy variant, or Age of Renaissance (the game he has never lost, despite not owning the game). Since Daniel has mentioned that early game of Colonial Diplomacy, I have gone for that.

Of course, it should not be overlooked that Daniel has other strengths as a gamer. His analytical skills are up there with the best of the group, and he certainly does not suffer from the poor runs of luck that some of us display at times.

If Daniel does have a weakness, I would say that it is his tendency to rely overmuch on the BS. Every now and then, his opponents at the gaming table will decide he's too full of it, and just ignore his cries of "I'm not winning, look at him!" This might result in his position being shredded by concerted attack, or it might just result in a player far behind getting pissed off with Daniel enough to pull him down, giving the game to another player.

Daniel is perhaps at his best in area-control games with a strong dash of diplomacy, especially those in which a victory can spring from nowhere. Diplomacy and variants are, of course, strongly represented here, and, as I said, he has never lost Age of Renaissance. A Game of Thrones, Advanced Civilization... But frankly, I prefer to keep a close eye on Daniel in pretty much any game. The question is not, will I have to put Daniel down at some time, but will I be in a position to do it when the moment comes?
 
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