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Subject: Geek of the Week #427 -- Martin G (qwertymartin) rss

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Ben
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I've had a fantastic week as Geek of the Week. Thanks, once again, to Jens for thinking to nominate me! But it is now time for me to pass the torch. Allow me introduce you to your next Geek of the Week, a person who likely needs no introduction:

Martin G
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As I hinted at in some of my answers to your questions, I think Martin is one of those people who you would have expected to be Geek of the Week long ago (certainly before myself). He's an incredibly active part of the community, and someone which a very clear and well-articulated perspective on games and gaming. His preference for simplicity and elegance are at times in conflict with my appreciation for heavy, ambitious designs. But he expresses his point of view with such passion and clarity that I have long been happy to count him among my geek buddies. He's also one of the very few people on this site that I really trust to think through an idea thorough and completely. (It may not sound like it, but that last sentence is really high praise from me).

Let me turn it over to him:

qwertymartin wrote:
It's kind of an ironic time for me to be picked as Geek of the Week. I've gamed less in the last couple of months than any time since I discovered the hobby and I've been spending a lot less time on BGG too. It's not for lack of interest, but because I recently moved city (from London to Bristol) and changed career to start training as a high school physics teacher. It's an intense program that hasn't been leaving me much time or energy for gaming, so please excuse me if it takes me a while to answer your questions this week.

I'm still super grateful to Ben for picking me though! It's a great honour to be recognised by a site that's come to be such a big part of my life over the past few years and where I've made
so many friends. Who'd have thought when my friend Fred suggested playing some strange-looking game called Carcassonne back in March 2007 that I'd end up running one of the biggest board games clubs in the world, travelling to Germany to play games, making friends around the globe and appearing in national media promoting our wonderful hobby!

I've always enjoyed playing games - I was raised on Scrabble and Hearts - but I had no idea of the world that awaited me when I visited a FLGS in London the day after that game of Carcassonne. Over the past few years, my gaming tastes have evolved and I've found myself moving away from the mainstream. I suspect I'm known most here for my passion for Knizia's games, which are sadly out of fashion. Tigris & Euphrates is my all-time favourite but I've played very few that don't have something to commend them.

I'm also a champion of light and highly interactive games. I'm in my element playing a bunch of card games and fillers rather than a 'meaty' Euro. I admire games that create depth from simple rules rather than bells and whistles. And I'm a firm believer that a game can't be truly great unless it gives you a reason to call the other players dicks and be called a dick in return I've been so lucky to find so many people at London on Board that share those interests, and I miss them all a lot!

After a period of rapid expansion in my collection, I've got things back under control recently. What I value the most is playing my favourite games with a table that truly appreciates them, not ticking off a list of the latest hotness. I really enjoyed visiting Essen in 2012 for the social aspects, but I rarely get that excited for new releases any more. Last month I posted a geeklist of my 60 favourite games so far, and my biggest gaming wish is for many more plays of them in the future.


Like Jens, I'm going to hide a few questions in this section and see how long it takes Martin to notice:

d10-1 What's the deal with the qwerty? Did you just mash the keyboard when registering?
d10-2 We've discussed point salad to death. What's the food metaphor for Tigris and Euphrates?
d10-3 You claim to champion light games, but Brass and Twilight Struggle sit firmly in your top 10. How do you overcome their complexity hurdle in gleaning enjoyment from them?
d10-4 If you and I created a game together, what existing title do you think it would most resemble?

Poll: Two Truths and a Lie
As an undergraduate, I competed for Cambridge University against Oxford University at table tennis.
I once photographed Queen guitarist Brian May in his garden for a magazine feature.
I met my wife at a turtle racing bar. Her first words to me were "wait, are you foreign or something?"
      151 answers
Poll created by chally
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Eugene
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Hi, Martin. Congratulations!

What do you know about baboon sex?
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Justus
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Haha I had the same thought...he hadn't been gotw yet?!
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David P
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'bout time!

Martin, what's your favourite song on 69 Love Songs?
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Ken Dilloo
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Congrats Martin. To be frank, I hardly pay much attention to the GotW, until I happened to see a familiar name (Ben) there. Good to see some familiar avatar "faces" getting peppered with questions. Cheers to you, and enjoy!

Question: Biggest screw you moment in a game? Gonna guess either Tammany Hall or Santiago.
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Albatros
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Congrats, Martin. Of all the geeks over the past month or so, I'm most surprised you haven't already been GotW.

Question: when it comes to gaming, you seem to be pretty open-minded and enjoy just about everything from simple card game to complex Euro. Are there any genres you just don't like?
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Chris B
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Congratulations Martin! Enjoy your week and good luck in your new career!
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Nicolai Broen Thorning
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Congratulations Martin.
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Tom Shields
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Martin, you've been such a part of my BGG experience it's hard to imagine it without you. Enjoy this, you deserve it. And I shall not long forget the LoFi movement you fueled, nor the particular games you'd get behind to find them their due.

For my question, from the perspective of your recent slowdown in gaming to make room for your move & new life, when you look back what are the significant gaming experiences of the past year?

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Dex Quest
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Why the move to Physics teching from... [please tell us]? Have all those Brian Cox telly programs inspired you to get down with the kids? Good on you though, for whatever reason Martin. Contrary to Mr Gove's assumption that learning how to use Microsoft Office at 3 is a good thing, it's actually the Physics and Maths grads that will be coding us into the future.

Don't forget to buy Tash Kalar and Fantastiqa this Christmas BTW.
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Paul Lister
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Congratulations! I have known Martin for five years through gaming and a nicer chap you could not meet - not only that he is very good at games, was an amazing organiser of London on Board and is sorely missed by lots of us up in the smoke.

I only have one question - are there any fantasy themed games you like?
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Congratulation Martin,

Enjoy the upcoming week!


d10-1 – Do you have a favorite opera? If yes, which one?
d10-2 – What is the best city in the world and why?
d10-3 - What music do you now have in your music player?
d10-4 – If we would meet one day at the gaming table, what would you propose to play from your collection and what from my collection?
d10-5 - What do you plan playing this week?
d10-6 - What under- or unused theme would you like to see implemented in a game?
d10-7 - What is the best sketch in Monty Python?
d10-8 - What is the best game released this year 2013?
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Martin G
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Thanks Ben for picking me! It's a great feeling to be GOTW and an even better one to be chosen by someone whose writing and opinions I respect so much.

chally wrote:
His preference for simplicity and elegance are at times in conflict with my appreciation for heavy, ambitious designs.


I hope you're not saying simple and elegant games can't be ambitious

Quote:
d10-1 What's the deal with the qwerty? Did you just mash the keyboard when registering?

Back in 2000, I started a blog (before every man and his dog had one!) I was looking for a distinctive name for it and found that qwertyuiop.org.uk was available. I gave up writing the blog after a couple of years, but the 'qwerty' stuck in various internet usernames. Bonus anecdote: one of the friends I made through blogging was revealed years later to have been the long-anonymous call-girl-blogger/author Belle de Jour.

Quote:
d10-2 We've discussed point salad to death. What's the food metaphor for Tigris and Euphrates?

Probably baking? You can add the perfect amount of flour and water, but if you forget the yeast, you don't end up with three-quarters of a good loaf.

Quote:
d10-3 You claim to champion light games, but Brass and Twilight Struggle sit firmly in your top 10. How do you overcome their complexity hurdle in gleaning enjoyment from them?

Good question, and you could throw in Pax Porfiriana too! I think it comes down to two things, the first of which is theme. Most games I love are elegant and abstracted, but I can accept a lot more complexity if it's in service of a theme that interests me. What I won't put up with is lengthy rule books full of exceptions and chrome that could still be set just about anywhere. I particularly enjoy modern real-world political and economic themes, which all these games have in common.

The second is repeat play. I don't learn a complex game for the first play or the third, I learn it for the 10th and the 20th. My ideal gaming experience is not learning a new game, it's playing one I love with other people who love it too. That's when the rules get out of the way and the moves really start to mean something. Lighter games allow a group to get to that stage much quicker, which is why I'm happy to play a wide variety of those. But complex games take longer, and the corollary is that I only really need a few of them. Brass and Twilight Struggle are also rare games that I've played more online than f2f. I've found that they really reward the depth of thought you can put in when you're less constrained by time.

Finally, when I do like a more complex game, it's usually one that's regarded as highly interactive; it probably has a map rather than player boards; and it's quite likely to have a cards/hand management aspect to it.

Quote:
d10-4 If you and I created a game together, what existing title do you think it would most resemble?


I think where we overlap the most is on the historic and economic games I've just been talking about.
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Martin G
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garygarison wrote:
Hi, Martin. Congratulations!

What do you know about baboon sex?


Hi Cary, thanks! Everything I know about baboon sex, I learnt from Phirax. What happened to that guy? I miss him
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Tom P
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The standards have really dropped for GotW, we're really scraping the barrel now shake


Congrats Martin! I would say 'yay another LoBster!' but, y'know...

Any 2013 game(s) you haven't tried yet that you really want to?
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W M
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Congratulations Martin! Though I'm sure like many, I was surprised you'd not already been GOTW?!
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Martin G
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smorange wrote:
'bout time!


Thanks doppelganger!

Quote:
Martin, what's your favourite song on 69 Love Songs?


That's like asking a parent to choose their favourite baby! So many great songs, but the first one that came to mind was Papa was a Rodeo.



I was lucky enough to see them perform the whole album, in order, over the course of two nights at a theatre in London.
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Tom Scutt
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Many congratulations, Martin. You are one of the people on BGG whose posts I always take notice of (and almost always agree with), and you have great taste in games.

Given your love of Swedish meatballs, what's the most complex game you've played in an Ikea restaurant?

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Martin G
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bigloo33 wrote:
Congrats Martin. To be frank, I hardly pay much attention to the GotW, until I happened to see a familiar name (Ben) there. Good to see some familiar avatar "faces" getting peppered with questions. Cheers to you, and enjoy!

Question: Biggest screw you moment in a game? Gonna guess either Tammany Hall or Santiago.


Thanks Ken! Good guess. I think it has to be a game of Tammany Hall a couple of years ago at one of London on Board's weekend seaside get-aways. I was in the lead going into the final term and one of the other players (hi Ronan) managed to convince everyone to turn against me, despite it being obvious (to me) that they were just going to give the game to him instead. Sure enough, I lost by a point or two amidst a hell of a lot of foul language. During all that, my wife arrived from London, and I practically ignored her. When the game finished we went for a long walk down the beach, partly so I could cool down and clear my head and partly so I could apologise to her!
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Bishop of East Anglia Sam Fisher
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An excellent GotW.

Have a fantastic week Martin.
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Tom P
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qwertymartin wrote:
one of the other players (hi Ronan) managed to convince everyone to turn against me, despite it being obvious (to me) that they were just going to give the game to him instead.


You say this as if we cared who won...
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Chris Geggus
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Hurrah - another Brit and well deserved.
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Martin G
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Lowengrin wrote:
Congrats, Martin. Of all the geeks over the past month or so, I'm most surprised you haven't already been GotW.


Thanks!

Quote:
Question: when it comes to gaming, you seem to be pretty open-minded and enjoy just about everything from simple card game to complex Euro. Are there any genres you just don't like?


Haha, there are going to be some friends at LoB smirking about this. I have a bit of a reputation there for being opinionated and jaded.

I've been pretty vocal in my dislike for the direction heavy Euros have headed in in the last few years. I very rarely enjoy worker placement, resource conversion and individual player boards.

And I also Don't Do Orcs. Fantasy and horror themes are a real turn-off for me.
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Martin G
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boisse wrote:
Congratulations Martin! Enjoy your week and good luck in your new career!


taibi wrote:
Congratulations Martin.


Thanks guys!
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Martin G
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tjshields wrote:
Martin, you've been such a part of my BGG experience it's hard to imagine it without you. Enjoy this, you deserve it. And I shall not long forget the LoFi movement you fueled, nor the particular games you'd get behind to find them their due.


Thanks Tom, same to you my friend! Our paths will cross one day, I promise you.

Quote:
For my question, from the perspective of your recent slowdown in gaming to make room for your move & new life, when you look back what are the significant gaming experiences of the past year?


It's been a year of contrasts. For 6 months prior to the move, Sarah was living in Bristol during the week while I was still in London. So I had more time to game than ever before and went a bit nuts with it!

The almost 40 plays of Pax Porfiriana since last October have been a huge highlight. There was a memorable first try at the Twilight Struggle Late War scenario with one of my best gaming buddies, that went down to a single point in final scoring. And there was my discovery with Sarah of the delightful Italian card game Scopa on holiday, which has joined Cribbage as a go-to for us. Lots more too, but those came to mind first.
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