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Subject: Story Time: How Did You Get Started? rss

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Dylan McCollum
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Since I'm new to the hobby I enjoy hearing the stories of how people got hooked in the first place. I'm sure there have been threads like this in the past but how about we share our histories:

Loved board games as a kid and I remember one day my dad brought home Sherlock Holmes 221B Baker Street and my mind was blown because as a kid all you know is Sorry, Life, Monopoly and Clue.

Many years later in college met my friend George who showed my friend group how inventive a Dungeon Master could be. We had never played DnD before and we loved it. When buying new dice at a game store we started browsing the shelves and Arkham Horror caught my brother's eye. Board Games had clearly gotten bigger. We bought it, played it, loved it even with how fiddly it was.

We finished our first DnD campaign, we were all separated by college so no Arkham Horror games, and while waiting for the next DnD game we stoped playing games all together.

My friend Marty though was still obsessed with Arkham but didn't have a copy of his own so for Christmas I got him a copy and got my friends two little games that were more jokes because the art reflected their personalities: One was Bang: The Dice Game, we fell in love with the game. And then this past year I started looking into what other boardgames are out there, and I discovered a vast world of new things to do with plastic and cardboard. Played Time Stories with my brother and realized how inventive designers were. Now with a modest collection Board Games are back in our lives in a big way.

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Trent Boardgamer
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I'd heard it was addictive and had ruined some peoples lives, but I thought I'd be ok if I just tried it that once, after all it's just about fun and games. At first I didn't realise I had a problem, everyone was doing it. You couldn't go to a party where someone wasn't breaking one or more out for everyone to try.

After years of enjoying it, I suddenly realised I had a problem after being up all night with my fellow users, intent on just one more... it would be the last one and then I'd go to bed. The sun goes down again and you still haven't left the table apart from going to the toilet and grabbing a drink and some snacks and that's when you realise you have a problem.

I haven't gotten over it, I'll be an addict for the rest of my life, but now I limit the use. Much more healthy that way.
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Yorick Heijink
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I've been a casual gamer for a couple of years. Playing games such as Small World, Power Grid, Dominion and Vasco da Gama. Even though I enjoyed these very much, it never prompted me to dig any deeper.

It wasn't until friends gifted me Agricola as a wedding gift that I got really started. It was the first modern boardgame I owned. The first time I had to read rules myself. It was fascinating.

I slowly found out more about the new generation of board games. I attended a local gaming event where I played Snow Tails. I wanted it for myself, but it wasn't on sale at the event. The demo person invited me to their FLGS and so I entered a board game store for the first time. I'm sure you all know that kid in a candy store feeling.

I didn't join BGG until 2 years after Agricola. I attended Essel/Spiel 2 years after that and have been going ever since.

Currently I'm hosting a boardgame night at my own place and attend a weekly boardgame night at my FLGS. If possible I like to squeeze in some more games during the weekend. I also listen to a whole bunch of gaming related podcasts. Safe to say I'm hooked.

The lesson this story teaches: just playing maybe isn't good enough. If you play with people semi-regularly, but they remain casual about it; give them a game and it might give them that final push
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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Honestly, I cannot remember an age at which I wasn't playing games.
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I stabbed a man to death and his dying words sounded something like "pla..yyy Maggee... Knig... ht" so naturally I bought Mage Knight Board Game and find that stabbing people in that realm is much simpler!
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Christian Gienger
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4 First Games are my first memories of playing a board game in kindergarten.
After that there was Mensch ärgere dich nicht! with my grandfather, Trap the Cap and a lot of other children games like memory and then there was monopoly with about 500 wrong house rules even though I told my friends that it was wrong...
I then started to play chess with about 9.
Started Magic with 12 and disliked Catan the same year. Started RPGs a little later. Stoppt basically everything when I was 16 as the beer and girls game took a lot of time next to school and work on evening/weekends.
Went back to RPGs when doing public service. Then met role players who had a lot of board games and I started that stuff that nowadays is called gaming.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Games played before BGG
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Robbert Vervuurt
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We played some games in my family as a kid (the most complicated was probably Setllers of Catan), but mostly the (now considered) bad stuff like Monopoly.

I bought Catan about 8 years ago, when I moved out, with the hope of playing it more often, since it was such a cool game.

Sadly, I never got to play it really, because I couldn't collect the right amount of players (had no idea where to look), until I one day noticed there was a group of gamers, meeting up every 2nd Tuesday. In the beginning, I didn't have that many games to bring, so I always tried new stuff out.

That's when I got bitten by the boardgamebug and since then, my collection has been expanding slowly but steadily.
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I started playing Starship Troopers in the 1990s when the movie was out and it was in the public eye. I discovered the world of Avalon Hill games, and other games for adults.

A local game store opened up on our county in the late 1990s. I got hooked on Young Jedi in 1999. In 2000 I asked the owner if he had any sci-fi themed board games like SST, and he recommended Ogre, which became my favorite game at the time for its simplicity for such a counter game. Quickly moved on to Deluxe Ogre and other games and the rest is history

Later I found out that Ogre is compatible with Starship Troopers.
 
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Alex M
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The seeds were sown after many long teenage nights roleplaying some weird hybrid between D&D 2nd Edition and Palladium, drinking tea and listening to the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack ad infinitum; or was it the unforgivably long games of risks accompanied by Bruce Springsteen, his E-Street Band and enough alcohol to make it seem like the greatest undertaking known to humanity?

Many years later a particularly rough breakup with my long term girlfriend (and a good 18 months devoted to Chess, of all things - never that successfully) led me back to spending time with the same friends and a brother who had both embraced the hobby. It was both alien and familiar - long complex rulebooks were chewed up by my philosophy degree, but it was slightly more awkward that my innate sense of strategy was far more lacking. Boardgaming led to occasional social complications as no-one seemed to play Settlers of Catan my way. I still think "fuck you, in yer face with the robber!" is a viable strategy but it led to trading embargoes and heavy losses every time. Battlestar Galactica was more successful, as players wilted from my accusations whilst simultaneously throwing me in the brig. I had fun and it's a game you can't really lose.

I guess that I love scrapping as much as winning. Long games of Eclipse and Formula D seem to have sealed the deal and damned my soul. The former allows me to talk big, threaten my mates and lose in style. The latter- "hey, I took that corner too fast and my tyres blew .. you have to take a risk, right?"

I'm slowly discovering Eurogames too. Less competitive, but more competitive. There's a lot of tension in that score track, I can tell you. I love board games because there's always something new to discover and always new ways to relate to your friends. It's the best way to spend time with people. You can think, chat, eat, socialise. I've never taken it too seriously but my love for it is becoming something serious!

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Michael Korson
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While I had played the more common board games (Monopoly, Risk, etc), my board gaming obsession began in high school when I went over to a friend's house and he showed me his copy of Axis & Allies. Although we only made it through one or two rounds, I was hooked and ended up buying the game outright myself and played fairly often with a group of HS friends (which ironically didn't include the one that introduced me to the game).

Things stagnated from there until I was in Law School and my roommate introduced me to Catan. I loved the game instantly with its combination of economic building, short game time (compared to the all night games of A&A I was used to), simple, easily teachable rules yet solid strategy. I ended up buying Catan for my brother as a Christmas gift that year - but for some reason, I kept it in the back of my trunk (mostly because I kept borrowing it from him).

I went on to teach Catan to my then-girlfriend's (now wife) family, who had previously been more of a Monopoly/Euchre type, and they loved it. From there I gradually acquired other games like Ticket to Ride and 7 Wonders before going full blown into the hobby as I am today.
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mortego
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1996: busted two students in study hall playing a satanic game called Magic: The Gathering, took their cards and made them come to me after school to explain it to me. A few weeks later I had started a Magic Club as an after school activity, BIG HIT.

1997 - 2013: Played MTG a lot and was in a board game club ('04 - present) and ran a Multi-Player Magic League, saw all the great titles being played but I was an MTG snob so no board games for me.

2013: I hit the MTG wall and was fed up with it, my girlfriend didn't like playing Magic so I bought Lost Cities: The Board Game, she liked it and then from there I started to acquire more games that she liked.

2015: The bug had hit me hard and so I sold lots of my Magic Rares and kick-started my game collection.

Present: I am not angry anymore at MTG and am willing to play it (maybe) but I am still head-over-heels with board games.

Pre-1996: After thinking about it for a long time the only game I recall playing was R*I*S*K back in 1987 in the barracks when I was in the military.
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Violet Mackerel
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I enjoyed board games as a child, but in a pretty "basic" way. Candyland led to Chutes and Ladders, Hi-Ho Cherry O and Uno, Monopoly, Clue, and The Game of Life. Family gatherings usually involved team games of Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit (every answer seemed to be Arthur Ashe). I played chess (but wasn't particularly good at it) and Scrabble in college and young adulthood... It was your standard USA cultural drill. My grandma taught me a card game named 3/13, and I "sort of" knew how to play poker. My dad played a lot of Solitaire, first on the kitchen table and later on the computer.

In high school, we played some RPGs. Vampire, D&D, Cyberpunk. I enjoyed them (especially Cyberpunk), but didn't play regularly. Some friends were into Warhammer, but it didn't hook me. In college, I did some MUD (multi-user dungeon) playing online, but mostly to keep in touch with an ex-boyfriend, and then my current boyfriend (who I would eventually marry).

We (my husband and I, though not married at the time) moved to NYC after college and really only brought a handful of games -- chess, Scrabble, those childhood copies of Monopoly and Clue, my parents' copy of Mille Bornes, and The Powerpuff Girls: Saving the World Before Bedtime (which I bought because I loved that cartoon in my early twenties).

6 years ago (as of this coming Friday), we became parents, and when our son was 2 or 3, I became interested in games as a) a way to interact with him and b) as a way to engage his brilliant (I'm joking; I just mean in the way that parents think their kids are brilliant) brain. I love research projects, so I did a bunch of internet reading and asking around, and I started discovering cool little kids' games I'd never heard of. We picked up a couple (Sleeping Queens, Rat-a-Tat Cat, Maunz Maunz). Someone gave us Hoot Owl Hoot! and The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game.

While this was going on, I made friends with some folks who just happened to own Arkham Horror. We got together and played -- just once. But a whole new world of games opened up to me. I did some more research. I found BGG.

And then my son broke his arm. Twice. Back-to-Back. Last summer, he was in a cast for 12+ weeks, with just two weeks off in between injuries. We couldn't be out on the playground playing as much, as he couldn't climb. He couldn't ride his scooter or bike. We needed things to do. I did a little more research. We found Love Letter and Drecksau. We found Hive. We played so many orthopedics-waiting-room rounds of these games! We started making weekend trips to the FLGS near our church and discovering more games (I kept notes and took photos of almost everything we played, just for fun). The cast came off...and we were hooked. It hasn't been quite a year, so I'm still new to the whole world, but am having so much fun discovering more about the hobby and playing new games.
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Bart R.
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We got together with a couple of people one day to play The Game of Life, for old time's sake, and found out it was rubbish. We still liked to idea of playing a game on regular basis though, so I went searching for better things to play.

Some years before, I'd also been involved in an AD&D group with some people from work. Our DM had a couple of games on his shelf (Shadows over Camelot was one of them). He pointed me to a boardgame shop nearby. I paid it a visit and, well, it all spiralled out of control pretty quickly after that whistle .

Our first games were Via Romana, Alhambra and Carcassonne. I also bought Castles of Burgundy soon after, but it took some time before we actually played it - I can still remember staring at all the different chits and thinking 'this is way too complicated'. That's when I found out about Rahdo , a helpful American dude who made runthrough videos of games meeple . If I hadn't reached the point of no return at that moment, setting up my own BGG account probably gave the last nudge devil
 
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Nestor Ivanor
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Orlando
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I'm pretty new to gaming and I got into it because My girlfriend and I loved the show Game of Thrones and wanted to have my Game of Thtones void satisfied so I started researching GoT games, not on BGG however, and came across GoT the card game. We started playing that game and was addicted to playing, me more so than my girlfriend. I used to have to force her to play the game. That was the only table top game I owned and played. I wanted to purchase a new game that my girlfriend would enjoy more and would be more willing to play so I went to my FLGS and they recommended lords of waterdeep. We played that a few times but wanted more. That's when I came across BGG and it was over after that!

I've been actively into boardgames now for about 6 months and have 24 games we purchased within that time frame. We play a game every night. Yeah, we're addicted. We want more!

Power to the meeple! meeple
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Plaid Dragon
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Back in the ancient times, my older brother would make me play Stratego, a game in which he would regularly and methodically squash me like a bug. Wait... that's giving me too much credit! He would squash me like a pathetic-less-than-a-bug-sub-entity... much more accurate.

He wouldn't play Monopoly with me because it was random and never wanted to let his sub-entity brother show him up if/when he landed on my hotels.

My mother, God rest her soul, would trounce me at this very obscure game called Chess. I never got very good at this title but it served to give me a foundation for strategic thinking and anticipating my opponents moves.

In later years as a young teen and with my brother off to college; some friends down the street wanted me to come play this new game they had: Axis & Allies. Having had mostly negative experiences to date with board games, I initially shirked this request but they persisted until I acquiesced.

All the way down to their house I dragged my feet and griped how much of a waste of time this would be. But then I saw it... What was this? A giant world map? Tanks? Planes? BATTLESHIPS??!! Freakin Cool!!!

I had a huge amount of fun with AA that day; thus, at the earliest opportunity I road my bike down to the local toy/game store and bought my own copy... my first ever board game purchase.

Lugging that big box back to my house on that bike was nigh on impossible. However, my lack of logistical foresight didn't matter. I HAD THE GAME! We played that game until our fingers bled and our eyes fell out. That big game box from Milton Bradley still sits upon my shelves today.

Ultimately, I went back to that game store and found others that we all played with equal fervor:

Ikusa
Risk
Titan
Talisman (though now we play 4th ed and not the original)

The latter two STILL hit our tables frequently despite HEAVY competition from the more modern titles we play such as Eclipse, Twilight Imperium (Third Edition), Mage Knight Board Game, and countless others.

And now after decades of stunning victories and crushing defeats the cycle repeats given I'm indoctrinating my three kids into the hobby and setting them on the same golden path I had trod so many years ago.
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Jon Darlington
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Back around 1978, a couple of high-school friends and I spent a summer playing Risk to death. Then in the fall I saw this exact ad in the back of an Analog Science Fiction Magazine:



A friend and I split the cost of OGRE (yes, we split for $2.95). A few long weeks later it arrived at my house in Montreal, and I pedalled my bike over to his house through a light rain. There we cut apart the counters and played our first game of OGRE on his parents' kitchen table.

That was it.

From there we bought a bunch of Microgames that arrived with varying speed (to this day, we just say "Olympica!" in a ghostly voice to signify an incredibly long and frustrating wait for anything).

I remember graduating to bigger games first with Starsoldier, later Divine Right, and then Panzer Blitz. Panzer Blitz was my Avalon HIll gateway game... and it has really just never, ever stopped.

Still play with that same friend all these years later. A couple of years ago I went along to visit his mom in Montreal; she still lives in the same house, and has the same kitchen table. Now THAT was weird.

Fun times.
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Nestor Ivanor
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maklen9 wrote:
While I had played the more common board games (Monopoly, Risk, etc), my board gaming obsession began in high school when I went over to a friend's house and he showed me his copy of Axis & Allies. Although we only made it through one or two rounds, I was hooked and ended up buying the game outright myself and played fairly often with a group of HS friends (which ironically didn't include the one that introduced me to the game).

Things stagnated from there until I was in Law School and my roommate introduced me to Catan. I loved the game instantly with its combination of economic building, short game time (compared to the all night games of A&A I was used to), simple, easily teachable rules yet solid strategy. I ended up buying Catan for my brother as a Christmas gift that year - but for some reason, I kept it in the back of my trunk (mostly because I kept borrowing it from him).

I went on to teach Catan to my then-girlfriend's (now wife) family, who had previously been more of a Monopoly/Euchre type, and they loved it. From there I gradually acquired other games like Ticket to Ride and 7 Wonders before going full blown into the hobby as I am today.


Michael, are you a lawyer? I went to law school as well though not a lawyer yet. My brother is a lawyer and I want to get him into board games. Any suggestions on games to play with a lawyer? I know he wouldn't want to play something long but he does love history. I saw that twilight struggle is one of your highest rated games. I know he would like the theme but that might be too long and complex for him.
 
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Gabe Hawkins
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Growing up, I always loved board games - your simple, run of the mill kid stuff initially, like Trouble, Mouse Trap, and Clue. As I got a little older, I naturally graduated to games like Monopoly, which became my favorite board game for awhile, and other family/party games. That's as far as it went for a long time. Then, a few years ago, I got introduced to Talisman.

Talisman was my gateway game. I was somewhat aware that games like it existed, but had never played. I fell in love with Talisman because it felt like a fantasy adventure come to life in a board game. I bought a copy for myself and a ton of expansions, and I haven't stopped playing it since, although it's not in my rotation as frequently these days.

At any rate, Talisman showed me how much more fun board games could be, and I started looking into games similar to it, such as Relic and Runebound. In that search, I found BGG, and I've browsed it regularly since then. Thanks to this site, I was introduced to Euro style games, and Power Grid quickly became a favorite of mine.

It's been nonstop since then. I don't have a very large collection, but I will play almost any kind of game once. It's become one of my most beloved hobbies.
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No One
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Whymme wrote:
Honestly, I cannot remember an age at which I wasn't playing games.


Pretty much this for me, too.

Child: standard children's games we all tend to play
Pre-teen and tween: Mancala, Nine Men's Morris, Go, Rummy, and Poker
Mid-teen: M:tG, Necromunda, and random trick-taking games
Early college: Bohnanza, Catan, Munchkin, Pit, and RPGs
Ever since: Tons of RPGs, and any new board/card games that strike my fancy.

~V
 
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, Combat Commander series fan, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!, Fields of Fire fan
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1960s. With this bad boy ...


Now get off my lawn!
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Cliff Roberts
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Grew up playing those "other" games: Life, Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly, etc. and would even play by myself when others weren't available.

Got into the GameMaster series: Axis&Allies, Shogun, Fortress America heavily in high school.

But I'd say that a couple of games really helped me take the plunge down the rabbit hole: Reiner Knizia's LOTR was the first co-op game I'd ever heard of. "There is really such a thing? And it's in my favorite theme?" I was hooked and my eyes were opened. The other game WAS Killer Bunnies. I know, I know, but we played it a TON and had a bunch of family and friends who thoroughly enjoyed it and still do. I've since given mine away and haven't looked back. But it was a staple for me for several years.
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2011 - Heard about an "entry level" game called The Settlers of Catan. It was "expensive" but OK. A couple of times a year I would have a group together that was large enough and willing to play.

2012/2013? - I wanted something that was going to be more kid and family friendly, I picked up Ticket to Ride. This got many more plays over Catan.

8/2014 - I bought Munchkin and 7 Wonders. I have not yet played 7 Wonders.

12/2014 - Someone introduced my son to Magic: the Gathering(MtG). I immediately became immersed in it. This basically kickstarted the hobby for me.

2015 - Started working with someone who is "into" the hobby. Someone else introduced me to Star Realms. I realized I had dropped too much money on MtG and proceeded to drop even more money on tabletop games.

3/2017 - I've slowed down on buying games. So far I've bought 3 games this year and Kickstarted 2. I have my eye on a couple of expansions that are coming out this year but that's about it.

While I rarely play Catan, it still gets regular play. It's the game that get's introduced to my son's friends.


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Joseph Walsh
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My friend's girlfriend at the time introduced me to someone who happened to be a huge board gamer. It quickly became obvious how much I enjoyed superhero stuffs, so they sat me down to play Sentinels of the Multiverse.

And it was all downhill from there...

To this day I still blame him for my suspiciously light wallet.
 
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Michael Korson
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Nivanor wrote:


Michael, are you a lawyer? I went to law school as well though not a lawyer yet. My brother is a lawyer and I want to get him into board games. Any suggestions on games to play with a lawyer? I know he wouldn't want to play something long but he does love history. I saw that twilight struggle is one of your highest rated games. I know he would like the theme but that might be too long and complex for him.


Hi Nestor,

Guilty as charged - I am indeed a lawyer.arrrh

As far as suggestions for games to play with a lawyer, I agree that you probably wouldn't want to start with Twilight Struggle due to the length/complexity (although the historical flavor there is so strong!).

I don't know if there is anything particular about board games that have a unique appeal to those in the legal profession (aside from a fiendish delight in pouring over the rulebook and sadistically pointing out rule transgressions to your opponentsdevil). Really any good gateway game may do the trick - if he likes history, I'd recommend 7 Wonders - the history theme is light, but definitely comes through in the art work and it's a quick paced game. Only downside is that some would argue that this is more of a 2nd tier game than a gateway game do to all the symbols on the cards and the scoring.

I haven't played it yet, but 1775: Rebellion is a American Revolutionary War themed game that I've been told has a fairly uncomplicated rule set and apparently has a relatively short enough average game time that you could fit two games in a single sitting with the two players switching between playing the British or the Americans. Might be worth a look.

Good luck!
 
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