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Subject: Dear Secret Santa, rss

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Charlotte Malone
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Or rather, dear Replacement Secret Santa. My actual Secret Santa stiffed me last Christmas but you stepped in and made it all good again. I have no idea if you will read this, but I so hope that you do. I have so much to thank you for.

You sent me a copy of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. (And two other awesome games plus an expansion, but that's not important right now.) What is important is that you gave me so much more than a new LCG. I mean, AH is awesome and I could go on and on and on about how thematic is it, and how great the art is, and how great the story is. But that's not what I wanted to thank you for. Not at all.

See, when I put AH on my wish list, I was planning to play with my husband. But by the time it arrived, I was thinking more about my son. He's my youngest and he would be leaving for college in August. So I asked him if he would be interested in playing the core set and maybe the Dunwich Campaign with me. And low and behold, he said yes.

I told him we would stop if he hated it. But he didn't hate it. Quite the contrary. He loved it. He started asking me when the next mythos pack would be out, when we would be able to play again. Some scenarios went well, some went poorly. We did a lot of things wrong. We got super frustrated at times, but super elated at others. And we laughed. We laughed so much.

In a weird way, this game became a timer of sorts for his remaining time at home. In the nest, so to speak. The final Dunwich scenario would release in July, he would leave for school in August. (Actually, at one point, I thought the last scenario was releasing in August and I was freaking out that we wouldn't finish. But it was all good.) I'm not a "I don't want my babies to grow up" mom but I was very much aware that this was marking the end of a very special time in both our lives.

And so, in addition to thanking you for your most generous gift, I would also like to thank you for the priceless gift of face-to-face time with my son. I will never forget that experience, and I will never forget you for making it happen. Whoever you are. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.
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You're a good Mom. I'll bet you raised the boy right.
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Charlotte Malone
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lucky henry wrote:

You're a good Mom. I'll bet you raised the boy right.


Thank you!
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Michael Ross
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What a great story, thanks for sharing!
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Evan
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As a parent of a seven and five year old and a lover of AH:TCG, I prey these experiences befall me in the future. Your story is uplifting and inspirational. Isn't this why we all play games? To bring us closer to the ones we love?
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A. B. West
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Kindness all around. Wonderful to hear!
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Brent Cunningham
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Thanks for sharing your story. I'm a single guy with grown son who is out on his own now, and I'm blessed with a granddaughter too.

Your son's going off to college is the end of a special time, but speaking from experience, it's the start of one too. I'm sure you'll be so proud of the adult he becomes. Soak in every second.
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Lucas Fox
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Thank you for sharing something amazing. I'm a new dad compared to you with my two boys being 2 and 7weeks old. I am looking forward teaching my boys games, and playing with them. And i hope i can share similar experiences to what you had!

cheers,

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Feld Fan
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What a great story. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on a job well done!
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Alicia
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This is so heart-warming! Best of luck to your son as he starts college!
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Lito Carmona
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I play board games with brussel sprouts balanced on my head... in Brussels!
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THIS is why games matter. Not because of the mechanics, complexity, and overall 'fun' of the games themselves; but because of experiences like this. The games are only the icing on the cake of these experiences.

I have 3 daughters myself, and we all play games together as a family. I hope and pray my girls remember these times throughout life.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your story with us. And thanks to the geek who helped make it possible.
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Charlotte Malone
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Thank you all for the lovely comments! I have received a geekmail from Santa, and he or she confirmed that my post was read and well-received. Now if you'll excuse me, there's something in my eye....
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Jason Long
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Love this so much! Thank you for sharing it with the BGG community. As a previous poster proclaimed, this is why games matter.

I have two boys, currently 7 and 10, and we play our fair share of games, but I learned a valuable lesson recently. Up until about a month ago, I was constantly pushing (especially our older boy) to play more and more complex games. I wanted to sit down and play for hours with him, and as a lover of immersive and/or complex games, I was letting my own desires get in the way. At first, I didn't notice that he was pulling away from game time with me. But gradually he started to outright ignore my requests, or quietly decide to read or play with a neighbor kid instead. My misguided reaction was to try harder to push the lengthy, involved games in our closet. I started buying more and more complex games for the boys, even pushing our younger son to try out the "grown-up" stuff. It was a train ride to the Bay Area and a ratty old copy of Uno (from deep in our gaming closet) that saved me from myself. I was so desperate to make sure our boys fell in love with games (like I did, as a kid, growing up in Lake Tahoe, snowed into our tiny house with my mom and a few classic games) that I ended up pushing too hard, and in the wrong way. I had decided that Uno, Sorry, Life, Parcheesi, Mastermind, Clue, and all the "pedestrian" fare I was raised on weren't high clout enough for my boys. I couldn't see the forest for the trees. That train ride with Uno has changed everything. I finally realized that my kids do, of course, love games; they just love shorter, simpler games, because really what they love is spending time with my wife and I, playing something short enough to hold their attention, and simple enough that they can pick it up quickly. The closet stuffed with more complex games can wait. They'll either grow into them or they won't. But, most importantly, for now, we're playing family games and enjoying that illusive fact to face time.

Sorry for such a long post. Your story inspired me.
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Nicolas Varela
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Charlotte and Jason, I loved your wonderful stories!

I began playing games with my first two kids, and have never stopped since, especially with my son Lucas (he's even a BGG member - luctroFX). The two smaller kids have joined with easier, family games, and we all get together during our holidays in our beach house to play games.


Lucas (5 years old at the time) and Isidora (4 yo) playing Junior Labyrinth




Lucas, then and now


I know kids from 7 to 14 years old are easier to congregate at a table to play games with Mom and Dad, but I'd really love to keep this "tradition" of face-to-face family time for a looooong time.

Boardgames are wonderful!!
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Amy (Other Amy)
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Right in the feels! This is awesome.
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K S
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creevedog wrote:
And so, in addition to thanking you for your most generous gift, I would also like to thank you for the priceless gift of face-to-face time with my son. I will never forget that experience, and I will never forget you for making it happen. Whoever you are. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.

I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING!!!
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Nate
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wamsp wrote:

I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING!!!


My eyes are just a little sweaty today
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Steven Davies
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Koneko: A PvP worker placement game set in a very Feline Feudal Japan........
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My eyes are doing a wee!
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This is why I love Secret Santa. Thank you for sharing!
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