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Subject: Geek of the Week #72: Shawn_Low rss

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Michelle Zentis
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Please join me in a warm welcome for this week's Geek of the Week, Shawn Low! He's been around BGG for years and always has interesting insights, so I thought it would be great to get to know him better.

Here's what he'd like us to know about him up front:

Quote:
I'm a 28 this year...I know, still a young 'un and I don't work in IT. I'm a book editor for Lonely Planet publications (and no, I don't get to travel for work) and live in Melbourne, Australia.
My gaming path isn't different from most people. I grew up in Singapore and my birthdays would involve trawling down the aisles of Toys r Us with my mum in tow. Believe it or not, TRU then had a policy where they didn't allow kids under 16 to walk into the store unaccompanied by an 'adult'!

I invariably found myself drawn to the then-impressive boardgame shelves...it was magical! I would pick each box up, read the blurb and look at the posed images of kids having fun around the board. My collection steadily grew thanks in part to an aunt who also brought me games when she visited from the UK.

My diet of games then consisted of the usual suspects: Cluedo, Payday, Monopoly, Mad, Operation, Risk...there were a few gems including Scotland Yard. I mostly gamed with my brother and 2 other friends at least once a week. A few years later, we discovered Heroquest and played it and all the expansions to death or until my mum threw them out (argh, looking at the value of the Barbarian and Elf quest packs sends pain through my system).

I took a hiatus from gaming as comics, Magic the Gathering and then later, girls took priority. I got out of MtG with a profit and didn't really play many games until a friend brought me back into the fold in 2002. Since then, I caught the bug and haven't looked back.

When I have an interest, I go all out: so my wallet shrunk as my collection grew. I felt I had to play catch up after those years in the wilderness! At this point, I've found most of the ¡grails' that I want and am happy with what I have.

Games I like to play? I have varying interests. I dabble into wargames and really enjoy CDGs. For some sick reason, I enjoy dice games. I also enjoy trick taking games, children's games, brain burners and most everything short of abstracts (and Fluxx...bleah). I also am constantly on the hunt for obscure foreign or even small press games hoping to discover unique new mechanics that will blow my mind. Ignore my Top 10 and Hot games as they have not been updated in ages.

A highlight of last year was taking part in the Australian qualifiers for Settlers of Catan (despite having only played my first game of Settlers 2 weeks prior) and Carcassonne at the Australian Games Expo and doing well in both of them.

Right now, the competitive side of me has allowed the World of Warcraft TCG to suck me back into the wonderful expensive world of collectible card games! The way the game works brings back the nice tingle that early MtG elicited. Last week, I played in the local regionals tourney and placed an abysmal 9th with a less than stellar deck.

I am trying to give back to the gaming world by editing rules and components and offering playtesting advice to several small press publishers. I'm hoping that this will lead to more work in the future.

Whew, that was really a big chunk of text (anyone still around?). It's hard to condense a lifetime's worth of experiences into a few hundred words.

Thanks for sticking around. Fire away with your questions!


Should be a fascinating week!

Quote:
2 truths and a lie
1) The game that brought me back to gaming was Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic carrot.
2) I had a starring role in a modestly successful Singapore feature film.
3) I am an expert marksman and am trained in using small firearms as well as a SAM system.


I'm going to vote that #3 is the lie. I don't picture Shawn as a military type.

So I'll start off the week with a few questions:

1. When did you move from Singapore, and what do you miss most about it?
2. What are your three favorite places on Earth?
3. What are your three favorite places in Australia?
4. What game are you currently most eager to play for the first time?
5. If you could be any game piece, what piece would you be?

Have fun!
 
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Tim Thorp
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Dude! Congrats! I say #2 is the lie. (If it turns out to be true, you'd better have the guts to tell us the name of the movie! laugh )

Why isn't there a decent game for Australian Rules Football?
What do you love the most about BGG, and what bugs you the most about it?
If you could pick 5 other Geeks to play a game with, who would they be, and which game?

 
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Needle
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Top Bloke and great knowledge of games. As a minor collector of obscure games-Shawn is one person I look up to. But mate, when are you going to move to Sydney? We love dice games up here-six player viva pamplona the other night and it was a hoot

Hope to see you soon for some gaming. All the best and enjoy the week.

Oh and I reckon #1 is the lie
 
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Steve R Bullock
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I am glad to see Shawn_Low as Geek of the Week. He is the guy who always tells me not to buy the games he is selling because of the postage! And he is right!

I am sure many Geek of the Week have deserved this honor, but as far as I am concerned, Shawn is the most deserving... He is maxed out in gaming. Those lumps you see moving under his skin are not alien life forms, they are dice!

Congrats!
 
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Nello Cozzolino
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i really like your avatar..for some reason..remind me jesus or a middle-age hero..or whatever

all the best nello
 
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The amazing & fabulous
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Hooray for Shawn! That's fantastic news being GoTW matey, you deserve it!

I reckon #2 is a lie. I CAN see you with a gun in your hand. lol

My questions are:

Are you going to come to the expo again this year? It will be a hoot!

How did you manage to get out of MtG with a profit?! Did you have a beta deck or a box of unopened boosters?

Why did you live in Singapore for so long when you were a kid? Did your Dad have a government job? (Just curious!)

All the best for your week as top geek. You rock!

xx
Shebby
 
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James Davis
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Great to see An Aussie geek of the week! Congrats!


my question is what is your favourite australian game? Either australian made or themed?

oh and the lie is 1 no aussie likes rabbits
 
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Nate Sandall
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I say #2 is the lie. Singapore has compulsory military service.

Congrats Shawn!
 
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Shawn Low
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WoW...thanks for the extremely kind words. I got to work, brought up the BGG page and bam!... Let's just say that I'd much rather be answering questions all day than be hard at work. But first a coffee (strong latte).

Quote:
I'm going to vote that #3 is the lie. I don't picture Shawn as a military type.


You obviously haven't seen me in uniform. :gulpzombieninja


Quote:
1. When did you move from Singapore, and what do you miss most about it?


I left Singapore in 2001. Reason? I came to Melbourne to do my undergrad (BA, Media and Communications & Creative Writing). I finished in 2002 and got offered a short contract to work at the University of Melbourne and decided to apply for Permanent Residency here. I love the place!

I really really miss my family (I know, most people would say the food). I'm the only one from my family here.

Quote:
2. What are your three favorite places on Earth?


A little hard to say as I haven't visited most of earth! But I'd say Singapore/Malaysia, Australia and erm...home (wherever that may be).

Quote:
3. What are your three favorite places in Australia?


A good coffeshop (St Ali in South Melbourne), Tasmania (lots of quaint towns and lovely hikes), any winery region (the Yarra Valley and Clare Valley comes to mind).

Quote:
4. What game are you currently most eager to play for the first time?


The list here is looonnnnggg. My 'unplayed but NEEDS to be played list' is huge.

I'll rattle them off quickly in no particular order:
Balaam, Gunslinger, Marvel Heroes, Poisson d'avril, Lunatix Loop, Hameln, Battlelore...you get the picture. I'm running out of space!

Quote:
5. If you could be any game piece, what piece would you be?


Erm, I'd be the Provost from caylus...not.

I guess I'd like to be something simple and nonfancy...maybe a carrom disk or the disk from Carbande? Oh wait, maybe loopin' louie. Yeah! That's it!
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Keng Ho Pwee
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Congrats on being GotW, Shawn.

Didn't know you were into dice games - which ones do you have?
 
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Any guy crazy enough to be Loopin Louie is a thumbsup in my book!
 
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Shawn Low
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Thanks! Tim is someone I'd like to meet! We've done a few good and LARGE trades and for some strange sick reason, Tim loves Aussie Rules Football (I sent him a bumper sticker for his favourite team. The Kangaroos...crap team. Haha.)

berserkley wrote:
Dude! Congrats! I say #2 is the lie. (If it turns out to be true, you'd better have the guts to tell us the name of the movie! laugh )


It *might* be on IMDB.

Quote:
Why isn't there a decent game for Australian Rules Football?


Haha. Because only 6 people would buy it?

If you search hard enough, you'll find 2-3 games on Aussie Rules (but none are good).

Quote:
What do you love the most about BGG, and what bugs you the most about it?


I love the activeness of the 'community' here. It's like one big family. People are quick to respond and offer help, suggestions and recommendations.

I never really liked how the website is setup. I remember being really confused when I tried to navigate the site. There's just too many panels, panes, options and LOTS of text.

The lack of grace in some posts really irk me as well. Some people are quite harsh, critical and quick to jump on other people here.

Oh and overzealous admins sometimes riles me.

Quote:
If you could pick 5 other Geeks to play a game with, who would they be, and which game?


Mike 'Sumo' Siggins, Joe Huber, Sterling Babcock, Ava Jarvis and Paul (Big Woo)

Game? Rette Sich Werr Kann aka The Lifeboat Game. That WOULD be fun.

[gameid=http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/249]

(I didn't list any Aussie geeks as chances are, I'll be able to play a game with them sometime soon!).
 
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Jonathan Tang
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Congrats Shawn!

Hmmm, why doesn't anyone think #1 is the lie? I know for a fact that the game that brought him back into gaming was Fluxx. He's constantly badgering us to play it.

Gee, I can't really think of any questions that I want to ask Shawn since I see him IRL all the time. So I'll ask some questions for the amusement of BGG.

1) Why do wargamers smell so bad? And why do you want to be one so badly? Is it true you've stopped showering all together?
2) Is it true that a baby wombat dies everytime you don't get to play yellow in a Eurogame?
3) Have you ever tried to do a wheelie in that Vespa of yours?
 
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Shawn Low
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nnf1 wrote:
Top Bloke and great knowledge of games. As a minor collector of obscure games-Shawn is one person I look up to. But mate, when are you going to move to Sydney? We love dice games up here-six player viva pamplona the other night and it was a hoot


Hey Neil. Thanks for the kind words. I still owe you a beer or three! Stop making me regret trading Viva Pamplona to you. Please.

I'll definitely look you up if and when a Sydney trip is on the cards. But the Australian Games Expo is definitely a place to meet!

Quote:
Oh and I reckon #1 is the lie


You dare insult the genius that is Killer Bunnies!?
 
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Shawn Low
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gfreaky wrote:
Any guy crazy enough to be Loopin Louie is a thumbsup in my book!


Haha! Thanks! I love that game. For some strange reason, the reprint hit Australian shores way before it did the US! Pock pock pock!
 
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Shawn Low
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Keng Ho wrote:
Congrats on being GotW, Shawn.

Didn't know you were into dice games - which ones do you have?


Thanks Keng Ho. I know you have a dice fetish! Heh.

Well, my collection is listed on BGG but off the top of my head, I have or had:

Viva Pamplona, Cosaro, Lucky Loop, Dicemaster, Marvel battle dice, wargames with dice (lots of them), Heroscape and the list goes on.

care to recommend any?
 
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Shawn Low
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volnon wrote:
I am glad to see Shawn_Low as Geek of the Week. He is the guy who always tells me not to buy the games he is selling because of the postage! And he is right!


I may be a good gamer but I sure ain't a good saleman!

Quote:
I am sure many Geek of the Week have deserved this honor, but as far as I am concerned, Shawn is the most deserving... He is maxed out in gaming. Those lumps you see moving under his skin are not alien life forms, they are dice!


Thanks for your kind words. The list of Gotw is rather illustrious and the beauty of it is that everyone has their story to tell! And the lumps moving under my skin aren't just dice, they're C&C Ancients dice!
 
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Shawn Low
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shebby wrote:
Hooray for Shawn! That's fantastic news being GoTW matey, you deserve it!

I reckon #2 is a lie. I CAN see you with a gun in your hand. lol


Wait till you see me play Cash and Guns. BLAM!

Quote:
Are you going to come to the expo again this year? It will be a hoot!


Definitely coming to the Expo this year. I think I may only take part in the Carcassonne tourney to give me more time to meet other people and play other games!

Quote:
How did you manage to get out of MtG with a profit?! Did you have a beta deck or a box of unopened boosters?


Two words: Power Nine.

Quote:
Why did you live in Singapore for so long when you were a kid? Did your Dad have a government job? (Just curious!)


I should have added to my profile: born and raised in Singapore! My dad actually works for Singapore Airlines (one and only job for 30+ years!).

Quote:
All the best for your week as top geek. You rock!


I know. Thanks!
 
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Shawn Low
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jamesdavis wrote:
Great to see An Aussie geek of the week! Congrats!

my question is what is your favourite australian game? Either australian made or themed?

oh and the lie is 1 no aussie likes rabbits


Actually, I'm the 2nd 'Aussie' and 1st Singaporean to make GOTW .

The first Aussie to have the honour is Doug Adams (great guy and yeah, he'll be gald to tell you that he's the only IGA judge in the southern hemisphere...talk to him, he has a game to sell you. can anyone say, Mmm Brains?)

My favourite Australian game. Wow, that's hard. Wait, I know: Freya's Folly [gameid=http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19624] by local designer Don Bone.

Favourite Australian themed game: Either Wongar or Australia.
 
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Shawn Low
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nello wrote:
i really like your avatar..for some reason..remind me jesus or a middle-age hero..or whatever

all the best nello


Jesus the middle-aged hero. Now that's an idea for a movie or comic book or a novel.

Nello! Thanks! You're the man for football/soccer games. What's your favourite EPL team?
 
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Hey Shawn, congratulations!

I think Melissa was the very first Aussie to be GOTW, in fact, she may have even been the first GOTW... not sure about that.

Had some great times gaming with you over the past couple of years, and you've added "smackdown b____" to my gaming vocab. Some questions...

- you're a rabid game buyer ... what's the biggest purchase regret? What's the biggest purchase surprise (i.e. a game you weren't expecting much from)?

- are you planning on attending Essen? Given the second hand stalls there, I'm not sure you could take it ;-)

I'll think of more... trust me ...
 
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Mike K
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While going through your garbage checking out your profile, the following questions came to mind:


1) You have El Grande at the top of your list. First, is there anything in particular about this Kramer classic that causes you to have it at the top of your list? Second, is there any memorable game (for good or bad) that immediately comes to mind?


2) I see that you are the author of the following GeekList:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/7170

Are you a fan of Monty Python? If so, care to share any favorite moments?


3) How much of a fan of Alan Moon are you, in relation to other game designers? (I ask this due to another GeekList of yours.)
 
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Hi Shawn, congrats!

Amazed you haven't tackled Balam yet, I'd thought after having had to sell a vital organ on the black market, just to buy a copy and get it shipped down under, you would have given it a shot. I hope you like it as much as I do, otherwise I'm gonna feel well guilty...

I hope you (and we) finally get to go make it to Essen this year. If you do, I hope you can tear yourself away for a meet-up. The few mails we exchanged have been great reads, would be nice to have a wee blether.

How it is to live in a place where you have to wait 6 weeks for your gaming fix to arrive (by boat)? I suspect you keep a keen eye on the new crop each year, are one of the first to dive in, and then still have to wait whilst everyone else catches up and posts all their impressions here on BGG. I imagine it is frustrating to say the least, but does it also colour your perception of the game when it finally arrives? Or can you ignore our ramblings quite comfortably?

How do you view the Australian scene? There are several active and pleasant geeks from Australia and New Zealand on this site, but when it comes to game designers and publishers it is quite a bit quieter. Any chance that that will change soon?

And what's your perspective on the emerging Asian scene (Japan and Korean spring to mind)? Any games, publishers or designers there that you think deserve a wider audience than they are currently getting? I've seen and played a couple of titles that I thought were great, but find the scene even more impenetrable than the plastic packaging they use nowadays for electronic goods. You cut it in two with an industrial strength cutter and somehow it still won't come apart, and you quite probably lost a finger tip in the process. If you don't speak a word of Japanese, like me, are there any websites besides BGG that have info on these games, and how on earth do you order them? Do our new Asian gamer friends (very broad brush here) go for a different type of games than the Eurostyle games that seems to be sweeping well outside its mostly Germanic language borders these days?

You mentioned to me before that one of the people you game with in town is deeply involved with Luding, the German game database that was my main ticket into the hobby. (http://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/luding/). It still is the easiest way for me to find info on many a game from the earlier days of our hobby, when BGG draws a blank.

Luding never changed much since its conception, but is still updated regularly and a great hub for mainly German reviews on many games that haven't made it to the BGG database (yet). BGG also started as a database, but has evolved far beyond it (and is 7 years old this week). I noticed more and more German users are starting to find this site. Do you think that in a few years time Luding will still look and operate the way it does, a way that has served me well for many a year, or does it need a new approach to stay relevant?

Daft question maybe, but do you like travelling yourself? And if you could make a trip around the world in 80 days, what would be the must-visit-stops you would make? Any gaming Mecca's you would love to see or game people you would love to meet before you go to the limited print-run maker in the sky?

Have a great week here,

BigWoo
 
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Shawn Low
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jttm wrote:
Congrats Shawn!

Hmmm, why doesn't anyone think #1 is the lie? I know for a fact that the game that brought him back into gaming was Fluxx. He's constantly badgering us to play it.


Let's play fluxx. Let's see, I'll draw a card, oh wait, I WIN!!!

Let's play Flower Power Fluxx now. Ok, I'll draw a card, oh wait, I WIN!!!

Quote:
1) Why do wargamers smell so bad? And why do you want to be one so badly? Is it true you've stopped showering all together?


I think you're confusing wargamers with geeky computer programmers who stay at home and watch reruns of Serenity and take breaks by firing up their Nintendo Wii. Oh wait Jon, did I just describe you?

Quote:
2) Is it true that a baby wombat dies everytime you don't get to play yellow in a Eurogame?


Not just that, people at the table hear no end to my moaning and bitching. So stay off yellow (Doug P, this means YOU!).

3) Have you ever tried to do a wheelie in that Vespa of yours?[/q]
Erm, now that be cause for many a womat death.
 
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dougadamsau wrote:
Hey Shawn, congratulations!

I think Melissa was the very first Aussie to be GOTW, in fact, she may have even been the first GOTW... not sure about that.


You might be right! Whoops. Sorry Melissa!

Quote:
Had some great times gaming with you over the past couple of years, and you've added "smackdown b____" to my gaming vocab. Some questions...


C'mon Doug, you know that swearing is acceptable here on BGG! Smackdown Bitch!!

For thos interested, the term was coined during a particularly enjoyable session: we were playing Reiner's 'fantastic' dice game: Clash of the Gladiators. Maybe you should bring that 'thinking man's' dice game again Doug. We'll get Hayden and Frank in on it.

Quote:
- you're a rabid game buyer ... what's the biggest purchase regret? What's the biggest purchase surprise (i.e. a game you weren't expecting much from)?


Woo. That's a tough one. Actually I think that my biggest regret (not in terms of the game being a dud) would be Pirates of the Spanish Main. I got sucked in big time and ended up spending sooo much money on packs and sooo much time trading that I got TWO complete sets. Ouch. I won one local league tourney and the game now sits collecting dust.

Quote:
- are you planning on attending Essen? Given the second hand stalls there, I'm not sure you could take it ;-)


Gulp I know. My wallet can handle it but I'd just experience a meltdown...although I have heard that the second hand stalls have been quite picked over of late.

Having said that, I would still love to attend. What an experience. Someone needs to develop several things for the typical Essen-goer:

1) Clothing that doesn't pick up the smell of smoke
2) A trolley that takes 200kg of games and is compact and lightweight.


 
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