1 Year on the Geek My Journey
Guido Van Horn
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Logging onto BGG has become a daily habit for me. It drives my wife crazy, and to be perfectly honest it drives me a little crazy.

However, I noticed that the BGG Hall of Fame nomination thread was up, and I thought to myself, "have I really been getting on here for a whole year?" so I checked my registration date, and sure enough it's been a whole year since I first registered my account.

I've made numerous comments and added items to a few geeklists,

In general, I spend most of my time on here perusing the numerous geeklists, but I've never had the audacity to start one of my own.

I'm sure no one here really cares about me on a personal level, but I thought this would be a good journaling exercise.
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1. Board Game: Yahtzee [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:15914]
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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Starting back when I was a young child, my family used to pile into our Bounder Motorhome and take long trips on a fairly regular basis. One of the time wasters that we frequently partook in was Yahtzee. It was especially fun when someone rolled in the middle of a wild turn my dad made or jumping the median in order to not miss an exit, dice everywhere "I don't care, I'm using that 6 that landed in the sink"
We also liked playing a game we called "Mormon Bridge" which I later found out is much like Wizard
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2. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:16019]
Guido Van Horn
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Like most people, Monopoly was one of the first board on a table game I ever played. I had a brother-in-law that liked it very much, and while him and my sister lived with us for a while we played it quite a bit. I used to think he was a financial genius because he won every single game it seemed like.

My best friend Nick and his family also liked to play it, and took it way too seriously, and rampant cheating was the norm. They eventually resorted to putting up a video camera to deter cheating (like that helped) It was fun yelling back and forth and gloating in someones face when they landed on the hotel you just built. All in all good times, however like most people here I've come to loathe monopoly and when i am forced to play with my kids (my 8 year old really likes it) I do everything in my power to make it go faster.

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3. Board Game: Strat-O-Matic Baseball [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1150]
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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My family owns a small popcorn company that my parents started when I was about 8 or so, early on my dad's business plan was to go to every fair and event in Washington to sell popcorn. In 1989 Washington State celebrated its centennial and had a huge olympics style sports event as part of the festivities, it was generally well attended and people got into it quite a bit. My older brother managed to win a silver medal in the backstroke that year, one of his many accomplishments.

Anyway the next year they had another event and my dad felt it was important to be there, so they dragged me and two little brothers along to sell popcorn in the park near the main stuff. It was a horrible location and I think my dad didn't even sell $100 of popcorn in 2 or 3 days he was there. But it was right next to a mall in the Seattle area, I really don't remember which one, and they had a K-B Toystore inside. My brothers and I would look around the store, and every hour run back to the booth and ask mom or dad for money to buy some toy we just had to have. Of course the answer was "No, no, no"

Finally the last day my mom said you 3 boys can pick one thing to share.

I was huge into baseball at that time I had a huge baseball card collection that me and friend Nick would constantly pore over, trade, and whatnot, we even developed a baseball simulation game that we could play with our cards, however it mostly involved luck, and wasn't that fun.

I saw Strat-o-matic and I just had to have it. so being older than my two younger siblings I badgered and intimidated them into saying they wanted it, so that's what we got. first thing I did was rip it open and started seperating cards and assembling teams. When I was working on the Orioles my parents parked the motor home at a Fred Meyer or some store like that, and we all went in, when I came back I couldn't find my orioles, what had happened, I accused my brothers of hiding them, or losing them (which is ridiculous because they couldn't care less and didn't even touch them) Thinking back, my best guess is I took them into the store with me and absent mindedly put them down and forgot about them.

I played the heck out of Strat-o-matic, mostly by myslelf because no one would play with me. I played entire fantasy seasons (all without Cal Ripkin Jr....sigh) Then one year I convinced my mom to get me the MS DOS version, which greatly helped in keeping statistics and printing out all the obscure stats that I couldn't be bothered to figure out for myself.

My mom is still convinced that I should be a professional statistician
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4. Board Game: Empire Builder [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:984]
Guido Van Horn
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Sometime in High School my older sister Shanna brought Empire Builder to a family gathering of some sort. It was an instant hit with 5 or 6 of us. My older brother Gordon was getting into woodworking with a guy at church, and built a sweet box and wood board to play with pegs instead of crayons. It is a great game, and only wish I had more time and opponents to play it more frequently, but as most games things cycle out of favor and people want to play new things.

In about 2005 I really wanted to play this, but couldnt' afford a new copy so I DIY'd a copy using a neat program I found online. I played that quite a bit til the map got wet and my lamination wasn't quite watertight.
Alan Johnson
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Tigard
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was so generous to send me a copy as part of
Kent Fletcher
United States
Saratoga Springs
Utah
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thrifting for you project. I've only been able to get players once since I got it, but many thanks to him.
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5. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:416] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Guido Van Horn
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In 1999 I served a two year mission to Brasil for my church.

When I was in Belo Horizonte my companion and one of the other missionaries that was nearby and who we had lunch with daily liked to play chess. I had learned it when I was younger, but I got sucked into playing with these guys, both of which were much better than me. I never did beat my companion, though we played to a draw once, but I should have won, I misplayed a pawn at a crucial turn, that ensured the draw.

That companion was transferred and I got a new one, he didn't like chess, but he did teach me a card game that he called Truco, I don't remember all the rules, but it was played with a customized poker deck with certain cards pulled out. According to him it's Italian in origins, and is a popular betting game in some circles. We never played for money, but had a good time screaming TRUCO! at each other. It's sort of a 3 card hand trick taking game, you are trying to win 2 of the 3 tricks, cheating was encouraged as well as trying to run the gamble of continuing to play. At any point you could bet additional points towards the total ( I think it was 13) and try to bluff your opponent to back down. At one point every single hand went like this
Me: I bet 1
Him: 3
Me: 5
Him: 7!
Me: 9!!
Him: 11!!!!
Me: TRUCO!!!!!!!!!! 13!!!!!!!! Palhaco!!!!!

then we'd play it out.
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6. Board Game: Stratego [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:2312]
Guido Van Horn
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Later I was transferred to a city called Joao Monlevade, my companion there was brasilian, but had played Risk with another companion, I had gotten into Risk briefly in High School, I still like the game, but it never hits the table.

My mom had sent me some money, so I went to a toy store to try and find a copy of Risk, they didn't have it, so I bought Stratego instead.

I had played this once in Elementary school but all i remembered is that it was the electronic version and the fun part was sticking the guys in the reader to see who won.

We played some epic battles. At one point he won 4 or 5 battles in a row as the blue player, and he always wanted to be blue, some people are like that so I didn't think much of it.

then one time I played as blue, and I beat him, next thing I know he's ranting and raving that I'm a cheater.

I was a bit dumbfounded then he accused me that I could see through the backs of the red pieces and see what I was attacking. I was like, how could I even do that.

Then he showed me, how the red pieces were partially transparent in the bright light we had, and I was like wow, I've never noticed that before...."wait, you've been cheating this whole time, haven't you!"

after that we constructed a fort out of blankets to partially block the bright light, to reduce cheating.
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7. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1558]
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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Sometime after Empire Builder started to fade from rage status, our family was on our annual Christmas trip, and my sister Krista dumped out a bunch of scrabble tiles, and said I'm gonna teach you a better way to play scrabble, we call it super scrabble, but I've seen others call it speed scrabble and it's basically like bananagrams but the letters are still worth points.

This was the all consuming activity at every get together for the next few years. About 7 years ago I implemented the official family Super Scrabble Championships at a family reunion, and we've done it every year since. Even though we've stopped playing it obsessively, we still have the big tournament. We bought a WWE style championship belt to pass around. I'm the current holder of the belt, and the only 2 time champion, a fact that I'm quick to point to. In fact I was a couple bad breaks one year and a phenomonal display at the Las Vegas reunion from my brother Lorin in another year from being 4 time champion.

I won't repeat my bad break story unless someone requests it.
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8. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:292] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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Probably 3 or 4 years ago, I started hearing about this game called Settlers of Catan, and at a family gathering someone broke it out. I just watched the first game, and it looked interesting, I liked how the boards changes every game, and how it looked like everyone was pretty much involved the entire game even when it wasn't their turn.

I got in on the next game, and got whooped, but I was hooked.

Settlers of Catan became the next rage game at family gatherings, soon my sister Shanna bought the Cities and Knights and Seafarers expansions with the 5-6 player expansions.

Settlers of Catan with the Cities and Knights expansion is probably still my favorite game of all time. I really enjoy Seafarers. I tried Cities and Knights with Seafarers once...and I enjoyed it immensely, but no one else did, so we don't do that anymore.

Last Christmas my bro-in-law Chuck got the Settler's America game, and I like that very much also.

That same bro-in-law has a sister-in-law (his brother's wife) who is into Eurogames, and through him I was introduced to Ticket to Ride and Wizard, which as I said earlier is much like another game I played a lot growing up, but I was astonished at how nice the cards were with the funky German artwork, we usually just played with Rook cards growing up.
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9. Board Game: Crocodile Dentist [Average Rating:4.87 Overall Rank:15762]
Guido Van Horn
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What brought me to Boardgamegeek and what pushed me into the abyss of calling myself a board game hobbyist, was a new neighbor.
Jared Parkinson
United States
Katy
Texas
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I won't reveal much of his personal info, but he was fresh out of dental school and was doing a 1 year residency at the local clinic.

It wasn't long before he invited me and a couple of other guys over to play Cosmic Encounter, a game he had gotten and was jazzed to play. It was very fun, but what amazed me most was his passion for games, then he showed off his closet, jam packed with games I had never heard of. We started playing regularly (not as regularly as either of us would like) but his enthusiasm really pulled me in. He said "you have to check out this website, it'll become your new homepage" and here I am one year later.

I'll highlight some of the games I played with him in the year that he was my neighbor, He recently moved to Texas, and I sure miss his game closet...I mean him, I miss him.
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10. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:441]
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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In October he was able to round up 2 more players and wanted to have a Halloween themed game night, so we played Betrayal at House on the Hill. He was really excited about it. (I'll probably repeat that phrase)

I was the fast guy and my basic strategy was to run through the house as quickly as possible and stay away from everyone until the traitor was revealed.

The monster won both games, but I thought we put up a good fight.

It's an interesting game, and I'd probably be open to play it again, but the other guys we played with didn't seem to like it at all. Maybe a bit too advanced for them, or maybe they didn't like the theme, who knows.

It would become a recurring theme that we couldn't get a 3rd or 4th player to join us, sometimes my wife would play and we'd have a couples night or once in a while his wife would join as a third, but she's not a "gamer" and declined to play with us very often.

I kind of blame this game, because I think the two guys that came over that night would have been good candidates for future game nights, but were turned off by this game, and it was hard to get them to come back.

We didn't get to play a lot of 3-4 player games that we wanted to because we rarely had the players.
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11. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:213]
Guido Van Horn
United States
Othello
Washington
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Pretty early on my wife and I were invited to a couples night and we played this game. I really really enjoyed it, and I'm still a little upset I've yet to play it again since. I really want to try it with the auction rules.

I had it in my hands for about 20 minutes at Christmas time. The last couple years have been hard on me employment wise, and though I've been able to get by alright, I don't have much money for extras. I had a $75 budget for gifts on me (I was buying my own gifts because my wife was in the hospital after giving birth to our 5th child)

I had picked up 2 games for 4 bucks that I'll talk about in another item, but since I was in the big city, I found a FLGS, and I was bound and determined to get two games with my 71 dollars, I can't remember exactly how much Tikal was, but I know that if I got Tikal it would drastically reduce my options on the 2nd game. I eventually put it down and opted for St. Petersburg and Carcassonne, both were games Jared had introduced me to. My wife, seemed to enjoy St. Petersburg, and I thought Carcassonne was something I could get my kids and extended family to play.

My wife and I play St. Petersburg pretty often, but I think she's getting tired of me beating her so soundly. (she keeps overbuying buildings in the first couple rounds) and Carcassonne has been requested a couple times with my family, not as much as I'd hoped, but people will play. I've yet to get anyone to bite on St. Petersburg. Everyone is still stuck on Catan, and my kids...I don't know what to do with them. The 8 year old likes Monopoly and will try anything once, but I can never get him to play it again, even if he enjoyed it.

One quick story about Carcassonne. Right after I opened it, we went to my wife's family's house and my 5 year old promptly dropped two of the black meeples on the ground, and my mother in laws rat dog promptly ate them. 1 just got gnawed on and spat back out, but the other was gone...so now I have one gnawed meeple and I use a black piece of plastic I found in the junk drawer for the other meeple.
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12. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:212]
Guido Van Horn
United States
Othello
Washington
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The two games I bought for 4 dollars were this edition of Acquire, world map, embossed wood tiles and another 3M game Oh-wah-Ree, that I ended up gifting to my buddy for Christmas.

Acquire was a game that we never actually played, but was something I had seen here on the Geek, and really intrigued me. I found it on a thrift store gameshelf and I snatched it up. The box was pretty beat up, but for two dollars I wasn't going to complain.

When I opened it up though, I was really surprised because the game was in great condition, almost as though somebody played it once, and put it on the shelf for 49 years before they thrifted it, and while it was on it's way to the thrift store somebody dropped the box 10 times.

I've played it a couple times with family, but I'm almost afraid to because of it's age. It's a really great game, but I feel like I need to get a less rare copy to play with.
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13. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:74]
Guido Van Horn
United States
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Washington
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My introduction to Co-ops starts here. I'm not a huge fan of co-op's but Jared had a few so we played them. We kicked this games butt with the help of a third player.

Later we played Forbidden Island a couple times, and we beat it both times.

Wok Star kicked our butt three times in a row, and we never got it back to the table.

Space Alert was one of the rare times that he was able to get some more people to show up, and it was fun. We played with the video option that he found, and after a rough practice round, we played one more round before people had to go and we actually beat it.

I'm not a co-op fan but Space Alert was fun to me, the real time aspect, and the gimmicky soundtrack thing was fun. We had previously played Galaxy Trucker, and I really enjoyed that, I'd like to try Vlaada's other games.
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14. Board Game Designer: Reiner Knizia
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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Jared and I played a number of the Kniz's games. Some we liked better than others.
I really really like Lost Cities and I actually played the solo player facebook game quite a bit for a while. Battle Line was fun for both of us, but I think Jared got tired of me beating him.


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Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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One Geeklist that I love going to weekly is the Thrift List.

Being constantly short on funds, I've found this a fun exercise in finding fun games on a budget.
It's really hit and miss, and other than the Acquire I found on my first thrift run, I haven't found anything that I really really desired.

However I've found a few games that got my blood pumping

Pit sweet orange bell
Elfer raus! just an interesting foreign language find
The Inventors sweet dice tower
Laser Battle Pew Pew Pew!
Trump: The Game Donald Trump's comb over
Kubb not a board game but a sweet lawn game, I'm still trying to learn this thing but the instructions are all in something nordic.



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16. Board Game Designer: Tom Vasel
Guido Van Horn
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Another thing I like to do on the Geek is watch and read game reviews...in absence of playing new games I like to dream about playing new games.

Some of my favorite video reviewers are
Tom Vasel
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Homestead
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Love Games, Love 'Em!!!
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Check out DiceTower.com!
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Jeremy Salinas
United States
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Man Vs Meeple
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Lance
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Moorhead
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The Dread Pirate Caleb!! (age 2)
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There are a few others I enjoy, but those are the ones I subscribe to.

I'm amazed at the sheer amount of work Tom does, Jeremy is usually a little long winded for my attention span, but seems to be doing better, but his presentation is amazing. and I just like Lance's laid back style.
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17. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2297]
Guido Van Horn
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After the first time I played Settlers of Catan, I started thinking about how to play the game a little different, where the dice rolls aren't so fickle.

I had been passively playing around with some ideas for a couple years and had even made some quick and dirty prototypes, but I could never get it to work very well and like most of my projects it was abandoned.

Once Jared started inviting me over, I started thinking about it again, and borrowing some ideas from games we had been playing and starting to look at things in a different way I came up with a nifty little prototype of a game that the community helped me name Kingpins of Coyote Canyon here

unfortunately I've put it back on the backburner as I've started working on some other projects. One problem is that I got burned out trying to simulate 4 players, and I can't find anyone to playtest, and I can't find them because I can't drum up the courage to ask.

This is a common theme in my life. However the current project I've been working on I've committed to finishing at least to the point where I get some people to playtest it. I already have the first rough draft of rules posted right here you can also see some early mock ups of some of the components on that thread.
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18. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2297]
Guido Van Horn
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I have one other unpublished prototype, and it's one that I put some work into, but I've decided my original ideas are broken game mechanisms and I can't figure out how to make it work.

The funny thing is that of my ideas this is the one Jared likes the most, but none of my simulations seemed to work very well and I could never feel comfortable enough to let someone try it because I knew it didn't work.

The basic idea is that you and the other players are an old royal family that only have Princes and the surrounding Kingdoms are made up of Kingdoms that only have Princesses, the setting was middle ages type stuff where lands would be transferred by male heirs and that marriages would strengthen alliances. so the point was to marry your princes into the princess kingdoms, but there would be ways to kill off the older princessess or princes so the succession rules would apply. i worked on this quite a bit, but I was trying to keep it to a 1/2 hour super filler type game, and every variant I tried seemed to have issues. maybe some day I'll come back to it.
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19. Board Game Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes
Guido Van Horn
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Washington
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One of the coolest things I love about BGG is that occassionally designers/publishers etc.. of really cool games have something to say, and just say it right in the thread.

I picked Dominic as the face of this item, because I loved the oft made comment in the thrift lists that saving Wits and Wagers was the quickest way to get Dominic to thumb you.

also this geeklist North Star Games: it all started on a sinking ship in Alaska is a great read
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Guido Van Horn
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Also, early on I was trying to earn some geekgold to buy my avatar, so I wrote this review on a game that has scant information in the database.

I figured giving my best effort even if it wasn't good was better than no information at all.

I got this game as a Christmas Gift from my mother one year. I think the designer of the game was selling these at an Event where Mom was selling popcorn, She bought a game for every married couple in the family.

Later, Jared donated me some excess he had and I scored my sweet avatar.

I actually have at least one more game in my collection that doesn't have a review, and I may do that one. It's not a great game, but I think every game should have at least one review.
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21. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:856]
Guido Van Horn
United States
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Columbia Basin Boardgame Society I'm not a member, and I've never played with them, but I subscribe to their geeklist session reports.
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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writes some hilarious session reports, and it seems like a great club. As far as I know they are the closest active game group on the geek to me. but alas, they are a bit far away and gas ain't cheap... and I think I'd have issues explaining to my wife why I didn't get home until 4 in the morning.
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22. Board Game: Space Hulk (third edition) [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:235]
Guido Van Horn
United States
Othello
Washington
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I thought I'd add a few more of the games that Jared and I played.

Space Hulk (third edition) was an experience. We had previously played heroscape, and it was fun, but miniatures don't really light my fire, and I could never see myself getting into those kind of games. too much setup, and I've kind of outgrown toys.

but for some reason I really liked the gameeplay of this. we only got it out once, and we each took a turn as the marines running the same scenario.

I whooped him him the first time as the genestealers, then put in a valiant effort as the marines, learning from his mistakes, I was one bad roll away from winning, dang genestealer survived the blast and prevented me from easily getting to the goal.

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23. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:20]
Guido Van Horn
United States
Othello
Washington
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our quest to play Agricola was a little bumpy, and a bit dissapointing.

Our first attempt to play was aborted because Jared hadn't received his animeeples, and didn't want to play without them (that's how I remember it anyway.)

We both really wanted to play, and it being a fairly expensive game, it was killing him to not play it. Finally we cleared a time, we both read the rules ahead of time and we were ready to do some farming in the middle ages.

play wise we were both constantly rereading the rules, and trying to figure out exactly what was legal and not, and when and how much you were supposed to resupply. I made a dumb reading of the begger rules, and thought I was making a super clever play that ended up costing me a bunch of begger points, I'm pretty sure he did some occupations without having the resources, but didn't catch it til much later and couldn't prove anything, and to top it off I spilled water on my mat and a few tiles. Which I felt horrible about, luckily Zev sent some new pieces to him, so his game is whole. The entire game I was being really careful with my water, drinking it away from the table and resting it on the counter...but I saw something and wanted to move it, so I put the glass down on the game table, reached over and knocked it...I was so embarrassed.
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24. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:299]
Guido Van Horn
United States
Othello
Washington
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We played this one twice. once as a two player, and another time we cajoled his wife into playing with us.

I really really really like this game, it worked equally great with 2 and 3 players, and is on my short list of games I'm going to buy when I have the money.

both games I was able to sucker my opponents into overpaying for stuff I didn't want and letting me take stuff I did want for a song.

The card selection method I thought was really cool and I used a modified version in my "unpublished prototype" Kingpins of Coyote Canyon
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25. Board Game: 13 Dead End Drive [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:4767]
Guido Van Horn
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I thirsted this game because it looked really cool, and I thought my kids would get a kick out of it. I posted my sweet find on the thrift list, and mentioned that it was missing the chandelier.
Next thing I know
Dave Dawn
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Monroe
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Asked me if I would like to make the game complete. A week or so later, I got a little box in the mail. The generosity and camaraderie continually amazes me.
So once again a big public thank you to kingmaker fan!
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