The slow progression to Geekdom
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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I wanted to document for posterity, and as a warning to the innocents, how easily we slid down the slippery slope from Scrabble to Powergrid. Be careful. Gaming may result in more time with friends, lower cable bills, and strange tendencies to offer 2 sheep and a wood for that Starbucks Frappacino. What was your gateway game and how low have you sunk---Puerto Rico, Die Macher, $400 Settler 3-d sets? Healing comes from admitting you draw meeples while sitting in important meetings.
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1. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1504]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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My mother, my very own mother. I blame her for my eventual slide into serious gaming. At a young age, she introduced me to this classic game. My wife and I found a beautiful deluxe set on the sidewalk on night--someone was moving and decided to simply toss this away. Oh, that fateful night. What if we had just kept walking...
 
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2. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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I had just taken the first of my doctoral comprehensive exams. My wife took me, mentally and emotionally exhausted, to a local game store on a lark. Something to take my mind off of the stress. Innocents we were as we shopped around. I can now recall the mischievous smirk in the clerk's eye as he suggested "Lost Cities" by some guy Ronald Knutzen or something. The game seemed ridiculously complicated when we first read the rules--oh for those early days before downloaded player's aids, weird partial translations from the German, and four well-educated adults trying to figure out if phase 4 comes after round 2 or before part B.
 
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3. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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It was less than a week later. We were back in that game store in Cambridge. "Another game? So soon?" the clerk said with a knowing smile. Something more complex than Lost Cities, but not too complicated. We weren't interested in complicated...then.

May of 2004. The word meeple enters our vocabulary. Various expansions soon followed.
 
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4. Board Game: ZÈRTZ [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:476] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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A month goes by. Lost Cities and Carcassonne are part of our existence several times a week. I could feel the itch start to build. By now the web was feeding my desire. "Zertz reviews well" I said casually to my spouse.
 
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5. Board Game: Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:797]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Sure we tried to slow down. Just a light game. My grandparents played Rummmy. Just a simple card game...
 
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6. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Just a simple card game...or is it. My wife brought this one home as a "treat" while I recovered from back surgery. How cruel. While I lay helpless she brings home more games. And the name--calling to mind quiet days on the beach, surely this would be an innocent pleasure. Beware the "library" my friend and shun the frumious "guild hall."
 
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7. Board Game: Cartagena [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:845]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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By now the itch had grown strong enough that we sought out others like us. The fellow looked so friendly "We're playing at our house Saturday--you should come." And so we did. We played Cartagena that dark and stormy night...and Blokus...and Carcassonne. Someone led my lovely wife off into a backroom. I hear periodic laughter emanating, and strange calls to trade "sheep for bricks." Oh, the humanity.
 
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8. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:328]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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No longer content with the locally aquired stuff, we started importing. I knew we had taken a dangerous step when I was hunting down a game that most people had never heard of at the time. Gamesurplus finally hooked me up with a copy. Friends asked where I had gotten it and could they get one. I could feel myself turning to the other side...now leading others down the path.
 
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9. Board Game: Atlantic Star [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1155]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Another game no one had heard of. We were wandering further and further from the norm. Adrift in a sea of games. Drunk on cardboard dust, high on seductive clikety clack of the new little wooden figures each game brought, did we see the danger? Later and later nights of gaming. Did anybody know what time it is? Did anybody really care?
 
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10. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:229]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Now I had descended to the point where innocent workers were simply ways to gain money--a fur trapper, a ship builder--all just grist for the mill. "Abandon all hope" indeed. Sure I was suppporting an unjust feudal system that enriched the nobles and built their fancy observatories, cathedrals and theatres on the backs of the peasants. What did I care, I was having fun.
 
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11. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Nathan Graham
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Sure there were other games in the meantime. A Tigis and Euphrates here, Settlers there. We traveled time and space--today building colonies and harvesting spice in Goa, tomorrow escaping oddly constructed fearsome monsters creeping across stone dungeon floors, the next day building railroads across America or leading caravans of hallucinogenically colored little camels. I could see it was leading where all roads lead. The words of Nietzsche and Machiavelli and Dilbert started echoing in my head---power, you need to learn to use the power.
 
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