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Subject: Geek of the Week #200 - Greg Schloesser (gschloesser) rss

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Curt Carpenter
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My time as Geek of the Week #199 has come to an end. Thanks to all for making it a fun week:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/419126

In looking for GotW#200, I thought it would be fun and appropriate to pick someone whom I have used as a GeekBuddy to guide some of my purchase decisions (as someone who usually has to purchase a game if I want to play it). Most of these I discovered have already been Geek of the Week. But for the one that I was most sure must have already been, I was shocked to see that he hasn't. Are you kidding me? This is the most no-brainer nomination I can imagine. I'm glad to be the one to take the opportunity to "fix" this massive oversight. I would introduce him, but he already did it himself. I am pleased to hand over the reigns to GotW#200:
Greg Schloesser
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Greg wrote:
Where do I begin? Well, of course, at the beginning! As long as I can remember--even back to my early childhood--I adored board games. Oh, yes, I also enjoyed toys, and my parents were very generous. I loved action figures, even before they were called action figures: GI Joe, Major Matt Mason, Johnny West, and, of course, tons and tons of toy soldiers. Later, I discovered Airfix plastic miniatures, and collected hundreds of ‘em, including a very nifty "Rat Patrol" set.

Coupled with my love of toys, however, was my persistent love of board games. I cannot recall a birthday or Christmas when I did not receive a board game as a gift. No bicycles or other gadgets for me; give me a toy and/or a board game, and I was thrilled! Ahh, I just wish I had some of those old games back in my collection. I still reminisce many of those games, including The Major Matt Mason Space Exploration Game, Dark Shadows, Land of the Giants, Shenanigans Game, Voice of the Mummy, Which Witch? and many others. Undoubtedly, if I played these games today, I’d find the games horrible, and my abundance of pleasant memories would be thrashed. So, I guess it is best if I simply let those memories remain untarnished.

Gaming during my high school years was dominated by Risk. Even after I discovered the hypnotic lure of females, I would still gather often with my male buddies and attempt to conquer the world one more time. Oh, the countless hours we spent plotting our invasions of Kamchatka and debating the benefits of using Australia as a base for one’s sinister plans. Risk was the be-all, end-all of gaming bliss.

Then I discovered Avalon Hill. My first experience into this gaming paradise was Kingmaker... and I still own that copy. It was quickly followed by Twixt, Executive Decision, Acquire and too many others to name. I had to own anything that venerable company produced, and my collection of war games soon approached one-hundred. While I also purchased games from other publishers, including S.P.I. and the entire Milton Bradley GameMaster series, most of their games paled in comparison to the quality and prestige of an Avalon Hill release.

While in college, I was exposed to the joys of Dungeon and Dragons, and it dominated my gaming time for several years. I met weekly with friends for over a year, dungeon-mastering a campaign that I had designed. I eventually climbed out of the dungeons and returned to my first love: board games.

Marriage, career and fatherhood sapped much of my time in my early 20s and 30s, and I only gamed occasionally. Most of my gaming during that period was devoted to party-style games and the occasional war games with a good friend. When he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, however, my war gaming time suffered tremendously.

In early 1995, I grew tired of seeing my games continue to collect dust, and longed to game on a more regular basis. I made a few calls to some buddies, and formed the Westbank Gamers. We began by playing the old "classics", including Conquest of the Empire, Samurai and others. One day while browsing the shelves of Hub Hobby Shop, my favorite hobby shop in New Orleans, I came-upon a rather plain-looking brown box with an intriguing name: Catan. Also on the shelf was another enticing game: Die Hanse. The box was MUCH more colorful, and the description was enticing. I opted to purchase Die Hanse. While driving home, I eagerly ripped-off the shrinkwrap, and to my horror, discovered that the rules and components were all in German! I immediately called the store, and they graciously allowed me to return the game. I purchased Catan in its place... and it changed my life. A mail order brought me El Grande and Medici, and my appetite for more of these incredible games exploded.

Soon thereafter, I joined the world of the internet, and stumbled upon a whole world of new games, most of which were being produced in Germany. Incredibly, I had traveled to Germany every year since 1991, yet never really paid any attention to the game shops. I soon corrected that oversight, and on all future vacations there, I would return with numerous games to add to my collection.

In the early years of the Westbank Gamers, I would publish a newsletter recapping the games we had played. I eventually began publishing these on the internet, along with reviews of games I wrote for the newsletter. There weren’t many game club websites in those days, so the Westbank Gamers site received a lot of traffic, and my writings gained a steady audience. When Scott Alden and Derk Solko launched the Boardgame Geek, they contacted me and asked if they could move my session reports and reviews over to the site. I was honored and happy to do this, so have been involved with writing for the Geek since its inception.

In 1998, I attended my first Gathering of Friends, and was exposed to even more games and met dozens of wonderful folks. I also launched Gulf Games a short week later. Again, my life was changed. Initially, Gulf Games was just a weekend getaway to Navarre Beach, Florida with two internet buddies and their families. We had such a grand time, that we decided to do it again in the Fall of that year, and invited a few other folks we knew would enjoy it. The event blossomed into an incredible semi-annual event, regularly attended by over 130 people. Many of those folks have become dear friends.

After living 43 ½ years in New Orleans, in June 2005, my wife and I chased a long-time dream by moving our family to East Tennessee. It was VERY tough leaving behind all of my great friends, and I still miss them terribly. Fortunately, with the help of Kevin & Rhonda Bender, I helped organize and found the East Tennessee Gamers, so my need for gaming and new friends was instantly met. Like the Westbank Gamers, we meet once-a-week, and the folks in the group have become great friends.

Other events in my gaming life include the establishment of the International Gamers Awards, which seeks to recognize outstanding games, no matter the publisher, print-run, or where they are published. I have had the great honor and pleasure of serving on the committee with some outstanding individuals who are committed to raising awareness of these outstanding games and our hobby.

I continue to enjoy writing regular session reports, reviews and articles, both for print publications and the internet. In addition to the East Tennessee Gamers website, the majority of my writings can be found on Boardgame Geek, Boardgame News and in Counter magazine. I was also a regular contributor to numerous other print publications, most of which have ceased publication. I hope I didn’t contribute to their downfall!

On the personal side, I was born and reared in New Orleans, living there for 43 ½ years. Although I now reside in East Tennessee, I still consider my self a New Orleanian, and continue to be a suffering New Orleans Saints fan. I married the love of my life in June 1984, and we just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We have one daughter, who will graduate from Carson-Newman College in December with a degree in Dietetics and Nutrition. She plans on pursuing her Master’s Degree at East Tennessee State University in the Fall of 2010.

Professionally, I have been in the insurance industry since 1984, and own a small independent insurance agency in the New Orleans area. My other main interests are traveling and hiking, and I play basketball twice weekly, which helps keep the pounds off! I am very involved in my church, and currently serve in the capacity of Chairman of the Deacon body.

I want to thank Curt Carpenter for honoring me with the Geek of the Week mantel, and look forward to a busy week interacting with my fellow Geeks.


Greg, I will throw out a few questions to start:
1 What brought you to Germany every year before discovering that Germany was the epicenter of modern boardgames?
2 What was your wife's first reaction to your spending large amounts of time/money on games? Does she share your passion? Has it changed? Any tips for those whose significant others do not share the same passion?
3 What's so great about East Tennessee?
4 If you could only have one final gaming session, after which you would never be able to play games again (call it death or whatever premise makes the question work for you), what games would you play? You have a single 12 hour session to fill. You can choose the ideal type and number of players each game. Your friends are happy to oblige you. And no need to worry about social time (you can talk/party/whatever before/after) or other minutia (such as biological necessities). What games do you play that can fit in 12 hours? Why?

And don't forgot to add your "two truths and a lie".
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Chris Geggus
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Many congrats from across the Pond. I thought I recognised the name from some of your writings in Counter magazine (as well as BGG etc.).
Enjoy your week - well deserved.
GOTW 200 must also be a special microbadge, n'est pas?

Anything positive about the Saints must be the lie (and I say this before you add your truths and lie).
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Leo Zappa
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How in the heck haven't you been named GOTW yet, Greg?!?! Well, here's a LONG OVERDUE congrats to your recognition!!!

Just curious, with the years that have gone by, and the introduction to the German game craze, do you still play any of your old Avalon Hill classic wargames? If so, which one still "does it" for you???

Have a great week!


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Robert Wesley
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GRATZ! Greg'rs! and it could have happened to a 'nicer guy', oh wait, it NOW has once again! Enjoy your "half-a-fortnight" on this, as it were better than being fraught with naught a *spot* on the 'pot' eh wot?
cool
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Nate Rethorn
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Congratulations! I'm as shocked as everyone else that you haven't received this honor yet.

Out of the 776 games you have rated on BGG, only two have the coveted "10" rating: El Grande and Squad Leader. What elements of those two games make them worthy of a perfect score?
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I was wondering if someone would manage a heavy hitter for the double century. They did.

I'm guessing #2 is going to be the lie (in the absence of the list) as that's how to smuggle it in with a surprising start and finish. Has anyone done a survey of the first 199 to see if there's a popular position for the lie?
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CONGRATULATIONS

on being the

200th GOTW !!!



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Steve Herron
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Quote:
What's so great about East Tennessee?


I live here. laugh ( just kidding) The people, mountains, climate, quality of life... but no good FLGS in NE TN. cry Congradulations Greg.
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Mark Christopher
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Congrats, Greg! Great pick, Curt!
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Yeah. I figured Greg turned the honor down before...

Greg,

Did you ever go to an LI-Gamers event? I'm pretty sure we met...
I know you and Herb Levy have been involved with the IGA awards. WHich leads to my question:

What is the biggest mistake any awards committee has ever made in your opinion? (Not just SDJ, but Charles Roberts, or IGA since you have been involved).

One more...who is the most fascinating game designer you have ever met? Ever beaten a designer at his/her own game?

Gratulations...
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Chris
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Very nice, Congratulations Greg!

Enjoy your week, and here are some questions for you:

1) Are there any 'eurogames' in which you get lost in the 'theme'?

2) Do you currently ever play any games online?

3) Which war or war-boardgame have you played recently?

4) The Princes of Florence - exactly.

5) When is your next haircut scheduled and/or expected?

Have fun with this.
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Michael Aucoin
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It's about time. Congratulations from your old home town.

Michael Aucoin
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Greg Schloesser
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curtc wrote:
Greg, I will throw out a few questions to start:
1 What brought you to Germany every year before discovering that Germany was the epicenter of modern boardgames?
2 What was your wife's first reaction to your spending large amounts of time/money on games? Does she share your passion? Has it changed? Any tips for those whose significant others do not share the same passion?
3 What's so great about East Tennessee?
4 If you could only have one final gaming session, after which you would never be able to play games again (call it death or whatever premise makes the question work for you), what games would you play? You have a single 12 hour session to fill. You can choose the ideal type and number of players each game. Your friends are happy to oblige you. And no need to worry about social time (you can talk/party/whatever before/after) or other minutia (such as biological necessities). What games do you play that can fit in 12 hours? Why?

And don't forgot to add your "two truths and a lie".


Curt, you warned me I'd likely be bombarded with questions ... but I didn't know you would start the avalanche! Let me try to answer your queries.

1) My wife, daughter and I LOVE to travel. I always dreamed of traveling to Europe, particularly Germany, as my family immigrated to the U.S. from Germany way back in 1852. They settled in an area on edge of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. It was a small community comprised of all German immigrants, and they did quite well as farmers. In 1915, the community was destroyed by a hurricane, and my great-grandfather moved his family to New Orleans. Interestingly, both my grandfather and father married women of German descent. So, I have a lot of German blood in my veins!

Well, one day in 1991 while at a friend's home, I heard another friend talking about how he had purchased round-trip tickets to Germany for $300. I was astonished, and asked my wife later that night if she would be interested in traveling to Germany. Her response was, "Only if we can take Lindsay (my daugher) with us." In spite of her young age of 4, we made the journey and had a fabulous time. We were hooked, and traveled to Europe 14 out of the next 15 years.

2) My wife occassionally plays games, but does not share the same passion for the hobby as I do. After discovering German-style games, I admit to spending WAY too much money acquring older titles. Eventually, we agreed to establish a separate "game" account, with a set amount of money funneled into it. I supplemented that with money earned from selling games and writing articles / reviews for a few magazines. This system has worked splendidly.

My advice is to try to discover the types of games your spouse tends to enjoy, and stick with those. Don't push games on her that aren't her style, and don't try to get her to play too often.

3) There is SO much to enjoy about East Tennessee. First and foremost is the scenery. The area is home to the Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Clinch Mountains and Cumberland Mountains. There are thousands of miles of hiking trails offering incredible views and opportunities to enjoy quiet, serene and scenic getaways. The rolling hills and lush, green pastures are quite the contrast from the congestion of the big city.

Tennessee is also centrally located in the Eastern U.S., and in a few hours, you can be in so many fantastic places. So, it makes it easy to travel.

The lifestyle is also much more laid-back, and faith is part of every day life. The people are very friendly, warm and loving. We've made some fantastic friends here.

4) Games I'd play: El Grande, Torres, Time's Up, Settlers of Catan, Hilarium, Squad Leader -- a good mixture of strategy games and fun, interactive party games.

Two truths and a lie? I'm not sure I understand. Can you explain this to me, and I'll be happy to oblige.
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Greg Schloesser
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desertfox2004 wrote:
How in the heck haven't you been named GOTW yet, Greg?!?! Well, here's a LONG OVERDUE congrats to your recognition!!!

Just curious, with the years that have gone by, and the introduction to the German game craze, do you still play any of your old Avalon Hill classic wargames? If so, which one still "does it" for you???

Have a great week!


Hey, Leo! Sadly, I don't get the opportunity to play as many of the old AH classics as I would like to. I'm still entrapped in the "Cult of the New", largely due to the fact of the reviews I write. However, I do occassionally get to play some of the classics, and am rarely disappointed. I am still a BIG fan of Advanced Civilization, Age of Renaissance, Air Baron and many others.
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emperorhand wrote:
Congratulations! I'm as shocked as everyone else that you haven't received this honor yet.

Out of the 776 games you have rated on BGG, only two have the coveted "10" rating: El Grande and Squad Leader. What elements of those two games make them worthy of a perfect score?


Hey, Nate! Cool avatar!

El Grande contains all of the elements I enjoy in a game: strategy, tactics, special powers, numerous options on each turn, and even a dash of luck. It is always a fun, engaging game ... even though I tend to get battered by my opponents!

Squad Leader is my favorite war game, and I must have played it 30 or more times. I enjoy the opportunites for various strategies and tactics it provides, and it does a good job of evoking the feel of squad-level WWII combat. I'm a bit of a history buff, and the WWII period is my favorite to study.

I should also rate Torres a "10", as I find it always a tense, exciting game that provides great latitude in terms of tactics and options.
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Greg Schloesser
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sherron wrote:
Quote:
What's so great about East Tennessee?


I live here. laugh ( just kidding) The people, mountains, climate, quality of life... but no good FLGS in NE TN. cry Congradulations Greg.


Where do you live in East Tennessee?

We have one very good game store in East Knoxville: Sci-Fi City.
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Greg Schloesser
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daveroswell wrote:
Yeah. I figured Greg turned the honor down before...

Greg,

Did you ever go to an LI-Gamers event? I'm pretty sure we met...
I know you and Herb Levy have been involved with the IGA awards. WHich leads to my question:

What is the biggest mistake any awards committee has ever made in your opinion? (Not just SDJ, but Charles Roberts, or IGA since you have been involved).

One more...who is the most fascinating game designer you have ever met? Ever beaten a designer at his/her own game?

Gratulations...


Actually, I've never really visited New York. My only experience there was a stay in a hotel when we missed our connecting flight to Ireland. So, sadly, I've never had the opportunity to attend a LI Gamers event.

That being said, I have met and gamed with numerous folks in the LI Gamers, including Al Newman, Steve Kurzban, Herb Levy, Paul Sauberer, Mark DeLano and probably a few others. Great folks!

I don't follow the Charles Roberts Awards, and will overlook the often absurd winners in various categories of the Origins awards. From the top of my head, I'd say the two Spiel des Jahre winners I most disagreed with were Villa Palleti and Mississippi Queen (a good game, but Bohnanza is FAR superior!)

Regarding designers, thanks to attending the Spiel in Essen, I've had the good fortune of meeting many designers. I am a big fan of Wolfgang Kramer's designs, so meeting and chatting with him was a big thrill. As far as beating a designer at his own game ... I cannot recall. Let me think about that one!
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Liumas wrote:
Very nice, Congratulations Greg!

Enjoy your week, and here are some questions for you:

1) Are there any 'eurogames' in which you get lost in the 'theme'?

2) Do you currently ever play any games online?

3) Which war or war-boardgame have you played recently?

4) The Princes of Florence - exactly.

5) When is your next haircut scheduled and/or expected?

Have fun with this.


1. Oh, yes ... there are many. From the top of my head, I'd say Tikal, Fire & Axe, History of the World, Princes of Florence, Bang, Ave Caesar, Struggle of Empires, Age of Steam / Steam / RR Tycoon, Age of Empires III, Khronos, Power Grid, Through the Ages, Puerto Rico, Le Havre, Return of the Heroes, Prophecy, Downfall of Pompei, Serenissima.

2. No. The ONLY game I EVER played on-line was Gang of Four. Days of Wonder sent me a copy, and I couldn't get a handle on how to play from reading the rules. I went to the DoW online site, and was pulled into a game with three Europeans. They walked me through the ropes, and I think were being quite kind, as I won! Only later did I discover that one of the players was Eric Hautemont, ownder of Days of Wonder!

The reason I don't play games online is simply a matter of time. With work, family and church obligations, I only have so much spare time at my disposal. I use much of that time to socialize with friends (which often involves playing games!) and writing reviews and session reports. I really don't want to take-up any more of my time to play games online.

3) Last Saturday we played Manifest Destiny. It has been on my shelves un-played since it was released. I finally got to play it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

4) Love it!

5) July 16, 2009. My hair is quite thick, and I usually get it cut every 4-to-5 weeks.

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MrSkeletor wrote:
Congratulations Greg:

1) The cartoon avatars have been around for a while now; if yours was to be updated what changes if any would need to be made?
2) You championing of modern game design is well know, but is there anything the old games had that newer ones don’t that you miss?
3) How do you feel about video games? What do you see as the major distinction between them and board games as to why you prefer one over the other?
4) A monopoly fan comes to you wanting to know what a Euro game is. You can only describe it to him by sitting down and playing 3 games with him. Which 3 games do choose to best explain what a Euro is?
5) As a childhood fan do you have any plans to see the upcoming GI Joe film?


Thanks, Frank!

1) I'm a slight bit thinner, but have more gray in my hair, especially around the temples.

2) One thing I DON'T miss is the method of organizing the old wargame rules: 3.3.2.1 !

I do sometimes miss the detail that was present in some of the older AH games such as Advanced Civilization and Age of Renaissance. The drawbacks of such detail, however, was the difficulty in learning and teaching the games, plus the length of time required to play them.

3) I really don't play video games much at all. I used to play games on my old Super Nintendo and Game Cube systems, but haven't done so in years. For the same reasons I discussed in the query about online gaming, the main reason is time management.

I MUCH prefer boardgames due to the face-to-face interaction between players and the socialzing opportunities this provides. For me, this is missing in video games.

4) Settlers of Catan, El Grande, Bohnanza. All provide various levels of decisions and strategy and player interaction, yet are reasonably easy to learn.

5) ABSOLUTELY! I hope they do it justice, and it isn't campy.
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Kudos, Greg!

Always fun when I know a fellow GotW. Enjoy your week!

Maybe at some point in the future, we will actually play a game together...

Mischa
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Finally a geek I know (though not personally)!! Congrats Greg! I have you as one of my geek buddies so when I do a "geek buddy analysis" I see your rating and useful comments on games. Keep up the good work.
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Hey, Greg - enjoy your week in the spotlight! This way all the folks who've never heard of you will finally learn something about you...

Five really random questions from Hannibal, MO:

1) Would you play Timbuktu a third time?

2) What are you most pleased about w.r.t. the IGAs?

3) How is it that Louisville counts as "Gulf" but Boston doesn't?

4) What would your advice be to someone who wanted to create their own equivalent of Gulf Games?

5) Did you inflict Neighbors upon Craig, or did he inflict it upon you?
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Congratulations, Greg! Next year we have to play a game together....

I can't think of any questions to ask just now; maybe later. Enjoy your week!
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jtspecial wrote:


CONGRATULATIONS

on being the

200th GOTW !!!




Congrats to the Bicentennial Geek!

Manual or automatic?

Smooth or crunchy?

Any memorable Kingmaker anecdotes to share? Preferably involving violence, real or implied.




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Greg Schloesser
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huber wrote:
Hey, Greg - enjoy your week in the spotlight! This way all the folks who've never heard of you will finally learn something about you...

Five really random questions from Hannibal, MO:

1) Would you play Timbuktu a third time?

2) What are you most pleased about w.r.t. the IGAs?

3) How is it that Louisville counts as "Gulf" but Boston doesn't?

4) What would your advice be to someone who wanted to create their own equivalent of Gulf Games?

5) Did you inflict Neighbors upon Craig, or did he inflict it upon you?


Hey, Joe! Let's see ...

1) Only under duress. It hurts my brain. The first time I played it, I actually won, but had to take 2 aspirin afterwards and play a few light games to wind down!

2) I think we have a very diverse committee representing numerous countries and gaming tastes. I think we have done a good job of helping shed light on games from smaller publishers, and the games that have won the award have all been outstanding.

3) Heh, heh. A New England Gulf Games is still a possibility!

4) Most importantly: Don't be scared ... do it! It really isn't as difficult as it may seem. Contact some hotels, negotiate a good deal, invite some friends and folks you would like to meet, and have a grand time! Also, decide on what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want a small gathering wherein everyone can get to know each other better and develop friendships? Or, do you just want to get a huge group together to play games. The first calls for a small, invitation-only event, while the latter calls for an "anyone can attend" format.

5) I inflicted it upon him. Years ago, it was sent to me as a review copy, and after just a few turns, my then 8-year old daughter begged us to quit. Yes, it is that bad. It became a running joke at Gulf Games, as someone had to take it home,play it, and return it. Somewhere along the line, someone must have destroyed it.
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