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Subject: Geek of the Week: Alan How (#202) rss

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Greg Schloesser
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Wait! What's this? Didn't Greg just pass the Geek of the Week baton to Michael Becker? Why is he doing it again this week?

Sorry for the confusion, fellow Geeksters. As you have probably read, Michael Becker's newborn baby boy was diagnosed with a severe heart condition, and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Edmonton. Understandably, he is very occupied with the health of his little baby, and is unable to attend to his Geek of the Week thread.

Michael wrote to me and asked me to pass the baton to ... are you ready ... Alan How! Alan graciously agreed to accept, and is now our new Geek of the Week. He'll have an extra day's run, so make sure you ask him a few extra questions.

While I know Alan and consider him a dear friend, Michael does not personally know him. Since Alan lives in Great Britain and Michael is in Canada, he meets the criteria of living on a different continent.

I don't want to steal Alan's thunder, so I won't go into detail about just how great of a person Alan is. We've enjoyed a great relationship through our work with the International Gamers Awards and Counter magazine. I've also had the great pleasure of his company at numerous SPIEL events in Essen ... that is, when I can pin him down. He moves faster than the Flash, and often the only evidence of his passing was a gust of wind! Alan truly is a wonderfully fun and generous person with a heart as big as Texas. And that's big!

Please join me in congratulating Alan How as our new 'Geek of the Week'!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/Alan%20How

Quote:
First of all I want to say how delighted I am to accept the Geek of the Week nomination. I had been nominated before but I was so busy at work that I thought I wouldn’t do it justice. Works changed and so has my life so it is terrific to be asked to continue the line. Thanks to Michael for thinking of me when his mind is so clearly elsewhere.

I was born in the East of England in a town called Ipswich, and raised in a village called Onehouse – pronounced “one-us” by the locals. (It did really have one house along while ago, and has a Norman tower on its church, so it’s pretty old).

I began playing board games when I was about four or so and Scrabble Junior, Monopoly and Cluedo were early favourites. Games were played with my younger brother and we were very competitive, so “family fun” and “family entertainment” had slightly different contexts in my household. Chess with my brother never ended in a draw.

I continued to play games and when we moved to a new home in Onehouse, we found new friends o play games with. A typical evening would be to play football until it was dark and then play boardgames until a parent came along and made us go to bed. Waddington’s games were prevalent at that stage and so we played Formula One, Campaign, Risk, Sorry, Scoop all got played huge amounts in the 1960’s.

One of our friends had an uncle who lived in New York and each Christmas used to send an American game. Suddenly my horizon of games expanded beyond English games and into games from Urban Systems, such as Population and SMOG, which challenged the game systems I had been used to playing.

The same set of friends had a Dad who was a headmaster of the local primary school. He decided to subscribe to Games and Puzzles magazine for the school library. What an inspired idea! I first saw Games and Puzzles about issue number 6 and immediately began my own subscription. I managed to catch up with back issues and became a life long subscriber to board game magazines. Perhaps it was then that I became hooked on board game magazines.

As my gaming horizons expanded I came across Ancient Kingdoms and then 1829 and I started a correspondence with Francis Tresham about his games and we became friends, meeting many times to look at his eclectic range of game designs. I had a pen friend in Holland and we visited each other over successive summers, during which time he took me to Amsterdam, where the highlight of my visit was not the red light district but the American store where I purchased my first two Avalon Hill board games in 1973. We played many games of Africa Corps and Richtofens War over those summers and as the games included the “Do a friend a favor”, I did and many more Avalon Hill games became games that I would get to enjoy, including Panzerblitz, Wooden Ship and Iron Men and Stellar Conquest.

When I started university, my gaming collection included 1829 and some Avalon Hill games and I saw college as a great place to try out games with captive audiences. Fortunately, my college friends thought that gaming was cool and over the next three years I played many new games, including White Bear Red Moon, Civilisation and Cosmic Encounter. One of the researchers at university was investigating decision theory and needed some testers for his models. I applied with my games friends and he funded our games group. Win-win!

An amazing piece of luck happened in my first year at University (1975). The college invited Hartley Patterson to demonstrate a new game concept called Dungeons and Dragons and my new games converts and I descended on this idea with some enthusiasm. Hartley was the man who knew about D&D and we had a fantastic time and immediately bought the White box Chainmail and Greyhawk. We played D&D for many hours each week together exploring new ideas and ways to defeat an ever growing list of nasty monsters and traps. Our friendships developed and we had so many hilarious moments that I will ever get better value for money from any game.

During this time I developed a habit of visiting the best games shop at the time which was Games Centre on Hanway Street in Central London. Graeme Levin was the owner I believe and the editor of Games and Puzzles magazine which was linked to the shop. I’m not really sure of the connection, but you could redeem your black triangular voucher cut from the magazine for 25p (or later 40p) off a game bought at the shop. I did consider buying an additional copy of the magazine so as not to spoil it, but my common sense won.

After three years of fun and scattered with elements of studying, my games friends moved our separate ways though we still managed to get together for the occasional games weekend, playing Magic Realm or the latest Avalon Hill game. While studying to become an accountant, I moved around London a lot (26 times in one year), but ended up in North Finchley near the best game shop in London (by luck) called Michael’s Models. It was from this location that I started having easy access to new games coming out, as the shop had a wide range of games on display as well as model aircraft. One such game that I thought was worth a punt was War in the East. It was described as a monster game, and was incredibly expensive (£9.99), but I bought it anyway. Some months later I had mounted all the boards, set up my first game on table tennis table, introduced millions of units to their paper background and played two turns during a 13 hour period. Then I packed the game up and put it away.

A major event in any gamer’s life is when he sells his collection for whatever reason. Eamon’s auction (of Eamon Bloomfield’s Games Unlimited shop in Kingston, near London) was a gamer’s event to savour. Eamon had advertised in Games and Puzzles and I was drawn to his shop. By this time I was married and had persuaded my wife that a life of games wasn’t all that bad. Eamon introduced me to so many great games as well as advising the games to avoid, that we became friends and the early 1980’s saw many sessions at his house. He was a font of all gaming knowledge and had a huge gaming collection. When he fell on hard times he sold his collection via and auction in Norwich, which all and sundry attended. The highlight was Ian Livingstone (of Games Workshop fame) buying a copy of Al Parlamento for £300. Unfortunately the auctioneer stole all the money and Eamon was distraught. But it remains a seminal event for all UK gamers of that era.

I was introduced to Essen in the late 1980’s via Eamon, when friends decided to visit Germany. I had juts taken an evening class in Germany so I might get understood. Little did I know that most Germans spoke better English than I could dream of. The experience of the opening of the doors at your first Essen is a most memorable one and so it proved for me. Also at that time it was not so well publicised because the internet sites were not around and so the excitement of finding, testing and buying new games that no-one had heard of was almost overwhelming. Many years (and Essens) later, the experience is still vibrant, but now the experience is as much about catching up with gaming friends around the world as it is about seeing and buying new games.

I used to contribute to Mike Siggins’ Sumo which was the gold dust news and views magazine for gamers in the mid 80s to 90s. When it joined with Games, Games, Games, my friends Stuart Dagger and Mike Clifford and I decided to launch a follow up magazine, building on some of Mike S’s work but with some changes that we thought would be useful. Now in our 12th year with Counter, it is extraordinary that we have managed with a wide range of people across the world to continue in a print magazine format for that period while the internet and the Geek have flourished in such an exciting way. While it remains a hobby magazine, it has been fun to produce and for me personally extend my range of gaming friends and contacts across the world, for which I count myself extremely lucky.

I was invited to join the International Gamers Awards panel when it started and met Greg at Essen one year. His gaming evangelism is very contagious and I have tried to spread the word about games, in gaming parties, on cruise ships as well as at work and many people now realise what fun you can have once you dispel the view that all games are like Monopoly.

Professionally, I have been an accountant in a mixture of commercial roles and working for charities. My current role is as a Director in the Anthony Nolan Trust, which provides bone marrow support to people who have leukaemia. My other main interests are travelling with my wife and producing Counter magazine, which takes up time I don’t have with my wife or gaming.

Each year I wonder how many good games will be produced that I will like and each year I am excited and delighted in equal measure. I’d like to say thanks to all the designers and publishers for coming up with the ideas and funds to make my hobby more fun each year.

Finally, I want to thank for honouring me with the Geek of the Week mantel, and look forward to a busy week catching up with Geekthoughts.

Two truths and a lie:

While on holiday in South Africa, I witnessed a lion kill.

I played football (soccer) against east coast US colleges in my twenties and played against Rodney Marsh

I narrowly avoided being hit by lightning while on a cycling tour


OK, Alan, I'll start things off with a few questions:

1) How did you meet Stuart Dagger and get involved with Counter magazine?

2) Have you ever visited Mike Clifford in Albania?

3) Is your real name Barry Allen, and you are really the Flash?

4) Just how many games do you own?
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Congrats Alan...

My question is whether Michael will ever get his GoW microbadge.

-DK
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How


Congratulations.

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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
cool GRATZ! Alan! It were always 'enheartening' to witness so many others, following in moi's storied footsteps on traveling to GERMANY for "Gamings" with plenty of kinds. I was THERE in 1979 & 1980 and it were during said attendances within "RheinCON" that "yours truly et al" WON 1st Place from the "Avalon Hill Classics" tourney my very first time no less! But enough about this soddenized, sod-trodden, sod-stirrer, and enjoy your WEEK!


DKahnt wrote:
Congrats Alan...

My question is whether Michael will ever get his GoW microbadge.

-DK
shake Probably NOT, David, while his current predicament ought NOT to preclude him obtaining that "Geek of the Week" 'one'! surprise
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
DKahnt wrote:
My question is whether Michael will ever get his GoW microbadge.
That must have been an oversight. He has it now and just needs to find the time to display it.
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
What a treat! Two of my favorite gamers are Geeks of the Week in a three-week period! You've already provided a lot of information, Alan, including your early gaming habits. I had no idea when I did my Other Side of the Pond review of Population about a million years ago that you also enjoyed it as a kid!

Enjoy your week and tell Stuart to keep your writing chores to a minimum so you can spend more time with us!
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Quote:
often the only evidence of his passing was a gust of wind!


This is often the only evidence of my passing as well.

So Alan, how do you deal with flatulence when gaming?
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Congrats, Alan!
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
gschloesser wrote:
Wait! What's this? Didn't Greg just pass the Geek of the Week baton to Michael Becker? Why is he doing it again this week?

Michael wrote to me and asked me to pass the baton to ... are you ready ... Alan How! Alan graciously agreed to accept, and is now our new Geek of the Week. He'll have an extra day's run, so make sure you ask him a few extra questions.

While I know Alan and consider him a dear friend, Michael does not personally know him. Since Alan lives in Great Britain and Michael is in Canada, he meets the criteria of living on a different continent.

I don't want to steal Alan's thunder, so I won't go into detail about just how great of a person Alan is. We've enjoyed a great relationship through our work with the International Gamers Awards and Counter magazine. I've also had the great pleasure of his company at numerous SPIEL events in Essen ... that is, when I can pin him down. He moves faster than the Flash, and often the only evidence of his passing was a gust of wind! Alan truly is a wonderfully fun and generous person with a heart as big as Texas. And that's big!

OK, Alan, I'll start things off with a few questions:


Thanks for the fanfare introduction Greg. I'm really looking forward to the week ahead.

1) How did you meet Stuart Dagger and get involved with Counter magazine?

I really don't remember how I met Stuart though perhaps he does. I know he had edited Sumo for a period for Mike Siggins, so I knew of him but I don't think we'd met until Essen. We talked about Counter with Mike Clifford but always by phone, so I suspect it was at an Essen. The three of us realised that there was something special about Sumo, but we could not replicate it's unique position as being Mike Siggins' journal as well as his game magazine so we focussed on the latter.There were several game related news/rules web sites, and we know that this market was for someone else to populate, but providing we could turn out good material, on a regular and reliable basis at a reasoable price, we felt it was worth a go. After over 11 years at doing so I think we can say we have managed that goal.

2) Have you ever visited Mike Clifford in Albania?

Mike has always been that sparky character, whose wit would generally work well for most if not all the people who read his wise words. Some years ago, he invented a person who supported Albania and all matters Albanian, Some might say that he insired Borat though of course that would not include me.

3) Is your real name Barry Allen, and you are really the Flash?

Your imagination is running riot again Greg. The need for speed that you might perceive in me is because I cannot wait to see more games in Essen.

4) Just how many games do you own?

I suppose its about 4,000 or so. I record ones on the Geek that I remember, but I can't see all of them very easily and there are some hundreds that are not on the Geek, including quite a few that are not recorded as games on the Geek.
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Larry Levy wrote:
What a treat! Two of my favorite gamers are Geeks of the Week in a three-week period! You've already provided a lot of information, Alan, including your early gaming habits. I had no idea when I did my Other Side of the Pond review of Population about a million years ago that you also enjoyed it as a kid!

Enjoy your week and tell Stuart to keep your writing chores to a minimum so you can spend more time with us!


Thanks Larry. Having met you in 2007 it is easy to hear you speaking as you deliver judgements on the gaming news and views. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts and we have a high correlation on games that we like and don't like.

The Urban Systems games came acorss to the UK (for me at least) in the early 1970's. We often played Smog and I remember trying to cut down the plumes to lower then zero values to save Planet Earth. It was slightly fiddly but the impact was clear in the game. I liked teh planning line that you followed as you know what actiosn woudl follow as you chose a particular route.

I didn't get my copy of Popluation until about 2003. It was on my list of games to buy for a long while and then one popped up on ebay and I suspect I bought it more for sentimental reasons to try to bring back the memories of some years ago.

Counter is on pause for a week, though I have a deadline looming. Sorry Stuart!
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
GeneSteeler wrote:
Quote:
often the only evidence of his passing was a gust of wind!


This is often the only evidence of my passing as well.

So Alan, how do you deal with flatulence when gaming?


Quite simply Randy. I breeze through it. It's not generally a problem I have experienced much.
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Thanks Tom, Pete and David.

Tom - I remember meeting you at Mike Siggin's with a space game that I was desparate to see in print and you showed some amazing graphics, but I suspect the copyright/patent issues around collectable trading games may have deterred you publishing it. I presume it is now Race for the Galaxy and what a great game that is!
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Congratulations Alan!

I have been a subscriber of Sumo and Counter since discovering Sumo in 1992 while working for a time in Bedford and London, before returning to New Zealand. I read each issue from cover to cover - thanks for such a useful addition to our world.

When I managed to get to my first Essen in 2003 and stayed at Mulheim the crew made me so welcome I have made most years since, despite the distances involved.

Questions:
1. I have seen your game storage room - how on earth do you find any specific game in there?
2. Or is it a case of only playing new games?
3. How many games do you buy at an average Essen?
4. Any games you still haven't got that you wish you did?
5. Your top boardgame of all time (to date)?
6. When are we going to see you out in New Zealand?

cheers
Gary
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
garyj wrote:
Congratulations Alan!

I have been a subscriber of Sumo and Counter since discovering Sumo in 1992 while working for a time in Bedford and London, before returning to New Zealand. I read each issue from cover to cover - thanks for such a useful addition to our world.

When I managed to get to my first Essen in 2003 and stayed at Mulheim the crew made me so welcome I have made most years since, despite the distances involved.

Questions:
1. I have seen your game storage room - how on earth do you find any specific game in there?
2. Or is it a case of only playing new games?
3. How many games do you buy at an average Essen?
4. Any games you still haven't got that you wish you did?
5. Your top boardgame of all time (to date)?
6. When are we going to see you out in New Zealand?

cheers
Gary


Thanks for your questions Gary and the All Blacks just scraped through!

Game storage is a really challenging one. Since you last visited me I have added more games and required more space of course. I have made half hearted efforts to reduce my games collection, which are doomed to failure. As I nearly always have a new game each week to play and that is near the top of a pile, it is easy to find these games. But if I want to find a game that is 2 or 3 years old I might struggle to find it. Periodically, I have a clear out and that means unpacking a games room and restoring it. It remains a problem and I don’t have a solution that I want to act on.

Essen games.

I think the most I got one year was about 110 a few years ago, and generally I have bought more games each year. I suppose a regular number is about 60 to 70. All these numbers include expansions and card games, which probably account for half the total.

I remember your son stopping me in Essen some years ago and looking to you, he asked “why does Alan need all those games?” Sometimes, children stop you in your tracks and I was stumped for an answer then I don’t have one now.

Best game
When I’m asked this question I usually go for Puerto Rico. It really is a sensational game and one that perfectly matches my need for planning, interaction and choices in a game, so it has to be this one. But games come in all shapes and sizes. The game that I have played the most is Dungeons and Dragons, which got 1000’s of hours at college when time was available and I had so much fun. More recently my games crowd have enjoyed Hattrick because of its easy rules, funny outcomes and our familiarity with the game.

Missing games
Do I miss games and sometimes want them? I do and of course if the game is no longer in print, there is a quest, a hunt to find it. I am not relentless in pursuit of the game but record it in my wishlist, which is a great facility. If I come across a game then I get it, but I really just add it to list of games that I hope I’ll come across someday. Sometimes luck plays a big part. I was in Pasadena many years ago and was visiting a local games shop. I found a copy of Discretion that Eamon Bloomfield had been promoting in the 1970’s. It was in mint condition and no-one had noticed it. I picked it up. So I know that one day I may come across a game that I’m after and maybe I won’t. But sometimes the quest is the exciting part.

New Zealand:

I went on a tour of New Zealand in the late 1990’s and went across both islands. Unfortunately I got food poisoning at the Auckland Hilton and was ill for the next three days. So my recollection of your country is biased. We also had an awful tour guide who kept on saying “wouldn’t it be great to go native?”. What we eventually realised was that this was because we were double booked into the Franz Josef hotel and were transferred to a “native” hotel. It was really bad though our new hosts did their best the guide should have just told us the truth and we would have dealt with it. She didn’t and so our expectations were dashed. Which didn’t help our holiday morale. So I guess that meant we had less pleasant memories of NZ than we should have because the scenery was amazing. Maybe we’ll have to rectify that one day.
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Congratulations Alan, nice to have a British Geek of the Week.
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Alan How wrote:
4) Just how many games do you own?

I suppose its about 4,000 or so.


Alan How wrote:
Game storage is a really challenging one. [...] I have made half hearted efforts to reduce my games collection, which are doomed to failure.

[...]

Essen games.

I think the most I got one year was about 110 a few years ago, and generally I have bought more games each year. I suppose a regular number is about 60 to 70. All these numbers include expansions and card games, which probably account for half the total.


Congratulations, Alan!

Some random questions for you:

So you've said the following:

1) you have 4000+ games
2) you add 60-70 a year at Essen alone
3) game storage is a real problem
4) you can't seem to reduce the number of games in your collection

Do you find yourself in the "cult of the new" category of gamers, or do you play a fair number of older titles, too? Or do you merely collect?

If you are a member of the "cult of the new", why do you have trouble getting rid of the older games? And if you are not, how can you possibly find time to play all of the new ones as well as the old ones?

Your only interest listed in your BGG profile is for historical atlases. What do you find interesting about them? I find that I can look at a map of just about anything (zoo, mass transit system, roads, geo-political maps, atlases (historical or otherwise), and don't get me started with Google Earth) for long lengths of time, and I don't know what fascinates me so with them. There is an old European map outside my bosses office that I have stared at for hours over the years as I waited to speak to him.

Are you the type of gamer that will try to "fix" a game?

Enjoy your week!
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Joe Casadonte wrote:


Congratulations, Alan!

Some random questions for you:

So you've said the following:

1) you have 4000+ games
2) you add 60-70 a year at Essen alone
3) game storage is a real problem
4) you can't seem to reduce the number of games in your collection

Do you find yourself in the "cult of the new" category of gamers, or do you play a fair number of older titles, too? Or do you merely collect?

If you are a member of the "cult of the new", why do you have trouble getting rid of the older games? And if you are not, how can you possibly find time to play all of the new ones as well as the old ones?


Thanks for your thoughts and questions Joe.

I collect to play, so I buy with the intention of playing a game and not to match up or complete sets. I have been adding to my collection since about 13 or so, when I decided that playing games was really fun and more games = more fun. New games come to the table pretty often, in fact most weeks I host, but about 2 years ago my friend Neil Walters took over about half the hosting and for a while we played more older games when he was hosting.

And since I like a broad selection of games, that worked pretty well as I enjoyed playing older games that were worth replaying. So I don't think I'm a collector as that implies a goal in the collection: I gather games.

I don't really want to get rid of older games, and so haven't tried to do so. I subscribe to the Mike Clifford theory of "more games always fit in a discrete space" and it does work as you re-pack and re-order games at least to a degree.

Joe Casadonte wrote:

Your only interest listed in your BGG profile is for historical atlases. What do you find interesting about them? I find that I can look at a map of just about anything (zoo, mass transit system, roads, geo-political maps, atlases (historical or otherwise), and don't get me started with Google Earth) for long lengths of time, and I don't know what fascinates me so with them. There is an old European map outside my bosses office that I have stared at for hours over the years as I waited to speak to him.


I share your fascination about Atlases. It seems to me that they take you through another place and that means your imagination moves to a new ountry, a new story or some historical viewpoint that you may not have considered. I also believe that many Atlases would make a great background environment to new games, especially historical atlases, so one day I may use an atlas to create a game.

Joe Casadonte wrote:
Are you the type of gamer that will try to "fix" a game?

Enjoy your week!


I do not try to fix games, as there are just so many more to play. But I appreciate the efforts of people like Derek Carver who are able to change a design as they often overcome an issue.

I will enjoy this week of course!
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Paul Lister
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Alan,

Congratulations!

You remember correctly - Graham Levin was the owner of Game Center on Hanway street (then later) Oxford Street. I remember because i worked there during summmer and winter breaks from University. Enjoy your week!
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Alan How
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Sorp222 wrote:
Alan,

Congratulations!

You remember correctly - Graham Levin was the owner of Game Center on Hanway street (then later) Oxford Street. I remember because i worked there during summmer and winter breaks from University. Enjoy your week!

Thanks Paul.

We are all connected! I also met Graeme on the tube many times as he lived in North London when I did. He was always very pleasant to deal with when I was in Hanway Street and I don't think that was because I was a customer. My best ever game that I bought there was Crude whcih cost £18.11 after the discount.

I've always wondered what the derivation of Geek user names is so what is the SORP element in yours Paul?
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Joe Huber

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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How
Was nice to meet you, however briefly - last year, was it? Any chance you'll make it back to the States some future April?

And - I've noticed that you tend to utilize the upper end of the rating system. (I'd cite your average rating, but that unfortunately seems to have gone away - hopefully temporarily - with the recent updates.) I'd be curious - what does a 7 rating mean for you? How often do your least favorite 7s get played?
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Uisge Beatha
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Re: Geek of the Week: Alan How

Congratulations Alan; well deserved. Having been a fan of Counter since it began it was a real pleasure to meet you in Essen a few years ago and to play a game or two in Mulheim.

Having seen you in action in the Messe I can only agree with Greg (I loved your anecdote about him meeting Stuart) - I particularly admired your ability to slip through the crowds clutching such an impressive array of bags without apparently encountering the obtacles faced by we mere mortals in manuevering our new games through those crowded spaces.

A question: what proportion of the games you play get more than one play and what are your top three most played games since you became interested in 'German' games?



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Alan How
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huber wrote:
Was nice to meet you, however briefly - last year, was it? Any chance you'll make it back to the States some future April?

And - I've noticed that you tend to utilize the upper end of the rating system. (I'd cite your average rating, but that unfortunately seems to have gone away - hopefully temporarily - with the recent updates.) I'd be curious - what does a 7 rating mean for you? How often do your least favorite 7s get played?


Hi Joe and it was good to catch up with you too.

My ratings have always been linked to the definitiaons used in the Geek so that has meant that I bias my games in 6's and 7's. This accounts for 61% of my ratings. I believe that I rate up rather than rate down and I have never seen the point of rating a game 7.2 rather that 7 as we have a 10 point scale. My view of games is to see what good is in each game rather than what weaknesses are present. Others take an opposite view. Providing you know where you stand when you consider someone's viewpoint, you can see how it fits into their value scale. That's why the Geek is so good becasue you can assess my view by looking at the breadth of ratings rather than taking it in isolation. This is what I do when a new game is added that I am interested in.

Most recently I have hit these numbers again (6's and 7's) as the number of games I have played make it more difficult for a game to get much higher.

So a 7 is one in which I get more enjoyment than a 6, and I think the BGG rating guide words describe a difference that I can assign between 6's and 7's. At the bottom of the scale the 1's an 2's are so bad for me that they are not separate categories, so I have no 1's and only two 2's. So my effective scale is only 9 points at best.

I think the issue about my least favourite 7's is that is that I don't play any games many times in a short period - not just 7's. As more games turn up they'll get played and displace better games that get less table time than they should if there was more time available.

The games rated 7 just get buried in a heap of newer games.
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Alan How wrote:


I've always wondered what the derivation of Geek user names is so what is the SORP element in yours Paul?


Given your profession you may have guessed already. The first time i ever had to create a user name for the internet (1996 or 1997?) i picked the first thing i could think of - which was the Statement of Recognised Practice two (for charity accounting).
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Alan How
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Celtic wrote:

Congratulations Alan; well deserved. Having been a fan of Counter since it began it was a real pleasure to meet you in Essen a few years ago and to play a game or two in Mulheim.

Having seen you in action in the Messe I can only agree with Greg (I loved your anecdote about him meeting Stuart) - I particularly admired your ability to slip through the crowds clutching such an impressive array of bags without apparently encountering the obtacles faced by we mere mortals in manuevering our new games through those crowded spaces.

A question: what proportion of the games you play get more than one play and what are your top three most played games since you became interested in 'German' games?


Thanks for your kind words. The bag clucthing and people avoiding takes years of practice. It's also about self preservation and protection of precious objects - the games coupled with my desire to get back to the show after loading my car.

I suspect only a small proportion get played more than once - perhaps 40%, which is a reflection of volumes of games and the urge to try new games.

My top three most played "German" games probably includes Puerto Rico in all guises. I have played it face to face, on BSW and on PC in increasing numbers, and all told is probably more than 300 plays. The PC versions of games hold appeal to me as they give a quick buzz back of a game, so Settlers Card game, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ystaphan, Carcasonne and more recently Keltis have had some serious number of games played, which I have not recorded on the Geek.

If I exclude those PC games, then I have played many games of Carcasonne in various versions, as well as Settlers, and as board games and these probably answer your question. Topping these would be some card games, such as Hattrick which is played many times a year as it is often a closer for my group and always well received.
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Congratulations Alan - a well deserved nomination. If I had to do without either Counter or BGG, I think that I would give up BGG!

By the way, any Admins about? This thread isn't showing up yet on the BGG News page (on my front page, at least). Michael Becker is still there and that may be reducing traffic to this one?
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