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Subject: Thanksgiving magic rss

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DC
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Grand Rapids
Michigan
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Warning: long, rambling post follows about an experience with my family. Proceed at your own peril!

This past week, I visited my parents for a long Thanksgiving holiday. I love my parents and get along with them great, but they've never really shared my interest in boardgames. My mom tries, but my dad has a severe dislike for games in general. I've tried most of my "gateway" games with them (like Settlers), and occasionally a card game. They've gone very poorly, especially for my dad (who is aging): they have "too many rules to remember!" or "too many damn dice!" or "cards with tiny print on them I can't read!"

I was going to post a thread here asking for advice on an easy-to-teach game without any small text, dice, or too many rules. Then I realized that I had one more game I hadn't tried with them yet -- Carcassonne. So, without a whole lot of hope, I tossed it in my bag (next to Catan Card Game to play with an old friend) before heading downstate.

On Monday my mom saw my small plastic bag with the Carcassonne tiles packed into it (my road kit for the game) and asked, "oh, what's that?" -- so I explained very briefly about placing tiles, claiming roads and cities, and screwing over your neighbor. Then the first miracle occurred -- my dad agreed to play a game with my mom and me!

We sat down at the kitchen table. I pulled out the meeples and had them choose colors, which caught everyone's imagination immediately. I explained the shortened rules (no farmers), and we were off right away. It took a few reminders (no, you can't put your meeple there -- I'm already in that city), but they caught on fast. AND: they loved it! In the final accounting, my dad creamed the rest of us (fairly, although I wasn't being terribly nasty). And then he said: "That was fun, we should play it again!" He never has said this about a boardgame in my memory.

The second miracle came last night, when my dad said "Can we play that meeple game again?" I dropped whatever I was doing, and we sat down to play another game. Still no farmers (I explained farmers, but the base game is still tricky enough for them right now, they decided), but the game went very well. Lots of city and road-stealing, tricky moves and last-minute turns of fate. In the end, my dad won again -- fair and square, with some smart cloister placement and city points-sharing -- and now he's actually hooked on a boardgame. After the game he said "I can't believe I actually like one of your games. You should bring that home at Christmas too."

Afterwards, I signed on to the 'geek and noticed that Tanga's current deal was Carcassonne -- together with my Tanga cash, a very good deal. It had to be a sign -- so a copy will be making it their way shortly.

In summary: some people claim that gateway games don't really exist. Maybe it's true that a game alone can't get people excited about boardgaming -- it has to be the atmosphere, the people involved, and more -- but Carcassonne did accomplish something I never thought would happen with my parents. They absolutely loved it and want more!

... and I'll be ready to give it to them.

Edit: did you know that ":-)" doesn't produce ""?
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Eric Jome
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Franklin
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Bravo and congratulations. For me, it was Ra. 30 years of trying to get them to show any interest, any enthusiasm and it a game I never would have expected did it... great work. And happy gaming!
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Scott Woodard
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Burbank
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So far (because we're in a mountain retreat with family until tomorrow (Saturday)), we have played:

Ticket To Ride
No Thanks!
6 Nimmt
Take It Easy

and a few assorted card games...

Not bad for a group of "non-gamers"!


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DC
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Wow, good deal Ogma -- sounds like you have a good bunch to play with, "gamers" or not!
 
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