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Subject: A shortish story: Hello, success, and thanks rss

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Ryan Venson
United States
Amelia
Ohio
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Recently I was challenged with getting my brother something for Christmas. We don’t always exchange gifts, but my parents told me he had gotten me something this year. For the past few years we have lived in different cities (me on the outskirts of Cincinnati in the small "village" of Amelia, and him in Evansville, IN) so we don’t see each other much. Even when I made the trip down for the holidays, he was unavailable because of work. This bought me time to make my decision on what to get him.

Since there are 4 years in between us, we didn’t hang out too much as young adults. I had my friends and he, his. I wouldn’t say we "grew apart," necessarily, but we didn’t hang out together too much. What I’m saying, I suppose, is now that I am 33 and he is 29, I don’t really know what he is "in to" anymore. Thus I decided to go the nostalgic route, and get him a board game we played in our youth.
In this fine technological age, I figured hunting down the board game of my choice would be as easy as hopping on eBay, putting in my bid for a game nobody else wanted, and then waiting to reap the reward a couple weeks later.

There was no doubt in my mind the game I wanted. Dungeon.
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1339/dungeon

My grandparents were huge in to rummage sales, and we had picked this up at one. I don’t believe it even had all the pieces. My brother and I just liked to pretend we were wondering through the dungeons, and play with the monster cards. I thought it could be cool to go back and see how the game was actually SUPPOSED to be played.

Much to my surprise, this game was going for upwards of $40 for bid on eBay! Add the extra $15 for shipping, and you were talking about $55 for a game that probably retailed for about $10 thirty years ago! The going "Buy It Now" price seemed to be in the range of $50 - $70. This, my friends, seemed a little bit rich for a piece of fleeting nostalgia.

But that was all right, I had more tricks up my sleeve. Like Crossbows and Catapults!
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2129/crossbows-and-catapu...

Avg. selling price according to eBay? $55.75. Plus shipping.
surprise

Oh yeah, well how about Heroquest then?!
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/699/heroquest

Avg. selling price? $45.20. Plus shipping.

It’s not really that I wouldn’t spend $60 on my brother. But $60 for a game we would probably play once and then would probably go in his basement seemed like a bit of a stretch.

So, I decided to just type in the name of the games in Google and see if, perhaps, I could get lucky and find them on the cheap with a direct link. Which is how, dear friends, I came to your lovely website.

I don’t know if I forgot, or never knew, or never even really thought about it (probably the latter), but there is a fine, fine group of games between the garbage you can buy at Target, and the total "immersion," if you will, of RPGs (I grew up in a time when Dungeons and Dragons and Shadowrun were the bee’s knees, but I was never really one of those folk).

My wife and I love to play games, but the games we were picking up at Target were either "party" games for when our friends came over, or dreadfully boring. Not to say you can’t sometimes find a gem, but chances are slim, especially for games of the two-player variety. So when I stumbled in to your message boards looking for a cheap copy of one of the above games, I instead became completely obsessed with finding a new game for my wife and I to play. But the decisions, oh the decisions!

I ended up, as I assume many do, using a wide variety of recommended links. In particular, this page was invaluable:
http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/What_to_Play_With_Your_Sp...

We drove to the nearest gaming store, "Acme Games Inc." They didn’t have a huge selection there, but they did have a few that had been highly recommended for two players. In particular I had my eye on Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. Seeing as both were highly recommended, but as TTR was $50 and Carcassonne was $30, we walked out with Carcassonne.

My wife loved it.

She loved the look, she loved the finished layout, she loved that every game was different, she loved the lack of dice. Success was in my reach.

Subsequently, on my way home from work one day, I stopped by a different gaming store (Boardwalk Hobby Shop...and I do realize I am lucky to have 4-5 gaming stores within an hour’s drive of my house) and was delighted to find a much larger assortment. I spent an inordinate amount of time making the decision, and left with Bohnanza and Pandemic.

Complete success.

As weird as it may sound, my wife loves statistics. It’s part of what she does in her day-to-day career (Market Research Analyst, although her degree is in English ), and when the idea of keeping track of wins and losses was brought up, she was even more enthralled. I have to give a special thanks to rAdioActivitA in particular for this fantastic thread:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/51339/200-games-of-pan...

We also played a game of Bohnanza with a couple of other non-gamers, and while they were at first reluctant because we had to wade through the rules of a game unlike any we had ever played, and also because it was about trading and growing beans, once we got going it was an absolute blast.

My problem is, of course, is what now? Which games next? How do I make that decision? Should I stay light for a bit or move heavier? There are so many options...and so many games....and everybody has a different opinion, of course, on which are best. And I already spend so much time on here looking and reading and researching. And they are, by no stretch of the imagination, a cheap hobby.

In closing, to give you an idea of how quickly the subculture has taken me in a short time (this has all occurred, obviously, since Christmas), a brief anecdote.

Recently, while playing a game of Assassin’s Creed on Xbox360, my system gave out on me. The red ring of death. I bought the system used on the interwebz and have no warranty info. My wife suggested I just go out and buy a new one. My first thought? I can buy 6-7 board games for the price of one X-box!

I look to be a part of both the gaming and online community for years to come, this looks like a fantastic resource for anybody looking to become informed. Thanks a lot!

Oh, and sorry about the wordiness. I tend to be long-winded.
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Peter Van de Voorde
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Schoonaarde (Dendermonde)
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Have a Dikke Knuffel (A Big Hug for you non dutch speaking people :) )
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Debi Florey
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Hey Ryan,

Welcome to the world of board gaming! I didnt think you were too wordy and I liked your story. What to buy next? If you used to love Dungeon have you thought about Descent? I love this game! Not sure if it would be your wifes thing? Carcassonne is one of my favorites. You could add an expansion to that! I am sure that would be a hit. Whatever you choose I am sure it will be fun.

Debi
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McDog
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Welcome!


If your wife liked Carc, then she might also like Alhambra. Plays great with 2-4.

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Robert Schultz
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Great story! I always like to read accounts of how people stumble upon this hobby. Welcome to BGG!
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Chris Ferejohn
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So, uh, what did you get for your brother? A tie?

Quote:
Recently, while playing a game of Assassin’s Creed on Xbox360, my system gave out on me. The red ring of death. I bought the system used on the interwebz and have no warranty info. My wife suggested I just go out and buy a new one. My first thought? I can buy 6-7 board games for the price of one X-box!


Think of how many you can get if you sell your car!
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E D
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ryanV wrote:

My problem is, of course, is what now? Which games next? How do I make that decision? Should I stay light for a bit or move heavier? There are so many options...and so many games....and everybody has a different opinion, of course, on which are best.


since it seems you socialize a lot, i think ticket to ride is a winner! of course, it's pretty lightweight but very easy to teach. i'm kind of at the point where i'd prefer not to play it with my gamer friends but love playing with other people. expansions can keep it fresh too. then maybe pick out a heavier game if you'd like to balance things out lol.
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Thumbed even though this isn't a very short story! But you didn't finish the story - what did you get your brother?
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T. Rosen
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Welcome to BoardGameGeek Ryan! Glad to hear you and your wife are enjoying Carcassonne, Pandemic, and Bohnanza. Like others I am curious what you ended up getting for your brother, but was happy to see the story turn unexpectedly to your discovering a great new hobby for yourself. You'll find that just like with the Xbox, you'll begin measuring lots of things in how many board games you could get instead (movies, dinners, etc.)

As for recommendations, you'll probably get flooded with ideas so I don't want to suggest too many, but it's hard to resist. It depends a lot on whether you're looking for two-player games or games for more players when friends come over. If you want additional games to play when friends come over then Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan would be very solid choices to add to Bohnanza. For more two-player games for you and your wife, I'd actually suggest a couple Carcassonne expansions, particularly the Inns & Cathedrals and the Traders & Builders expansion, both of which are fairly inexpensive, and both of which add a lot to the game. You'll find there are a million expansions for Carcassonne, and many are not very good, but those first two are excellent. Other great two-player games include Through the Desert, Mr. Jack, Hansa, StreetSoccer, Ra, Arkadia, Roma, Aton, Fjords, Ubongo: The Duel, Samurai, and I could go on and on and on, but I'll restrain myself. If you'd like to try something a fair bit heavier for two then consider Twilight Struggle, especially if the theme seems like something your wife and you could get into.

Regardless of where you head next in the hobby, enjoy and be sure to report back!
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Brandon Holmes
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Take it slow, try a variety of games and slowly get more complex games. Things clearly seem to be working for you so no need to rush things. Besides I find you start to see so many similarities in mechanics that games get easier and easier to grasp as you go.

The big key for me is variety though. It's odd but I really learned a lot about what games work for me and my family/friends and it wasn't always what I expected. Your choices so far are clearly diverse so keep that trend going. Try an auction game next for instance.
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Ryan Venson
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Amelia
Ohio
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Thommy8 wrote:

As for recommendations, you'll probably get flooded with ideas so I don't want to suggest too many, but it's hard to resist. It depends a lot on whether you're looking for two-player games or games for more players when friends come over.


Oh, I welcome recommendations...actually considered putting this in the recommendations forum. After all, I don't want to spend $100 on board games only to find out that $70 aren't worth playing.
As far as which...the majority would be 2-player. Besides the fact that my wife and I don't have a TON of free time to go out, the only people we see on a regular basis aren't really "gamers," per se, and I can't get a feel on how they are going to take to it. Regardless, that pushes pretty much the max players to 4 at this point.

That being said, my wife mentioned something about Carcassonne at work the other day, and some woman she works with chimed in that she loved it. Her and her boyfriend are coming over this weekend and they are bringing San Juan, so we might have more people to play with before you know it!

cferejohn wrote:
So, uh, what did you get for your brother? A tie?

JustPeachy wrote:
Thumbed even though this isn't a very short story! But you didn't finish the story - what did you get your brother?


Yeah....therein lies the irony. I still haven't gotten him anything!
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Ryan Venson
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Amelia
Ohio
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bholmes4 wrote:
Your choices so far are clearly diverse so keep that trend going. Try an auction game next for instance.


Yeah...right now I really have my eye on Ra as my next purchase, as many people (including Thommy8 above) seem to recommend this one. I almost got it over Pandemic in the first place, but it seemed a wee bit heavier (just a bit) and I remember a few warnings that the theme could be a little intimidating for those just starting auction games. I don't think it should be an issue, but for one of my very first purchases I thought Pandemic might be wiser.
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Joshua Lobkowicz
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ryanV wrote:
bholmes4 wrote:
Your choices so far are clearly diverse so keep that trend going. Try an auction game next for instance.


Yeah...right now I really have my eye on Ra as my next purchase, as many people (including Thommy8 above) seem to recommend this one. I almost got it over Pandemic in the first place, but it seemed a wee bit heavier (just a bit) and I remember a few warnings that the theme could be a little intimidating for those just starting auction games. I don't think it should be an issue, but for one of my very first purchases I thought Pandemic might be wiser.


Thanks for sharing the story.

I think you made good choices, just keep doing your thing! I started much like you did getting mostly games that I could play with my finance in about an hour and had a lot of fun with that. Soon enough I had that niche filled and started looking for games that I thought I would like and then finding the group to play them with.

Ra is a great game but the first run of it won't be particularly intuitive.

I also recommend Alhambra.
Many of the Kosmos 2-player line are great games if you regularly only have one opponent.
And I am not much of a fan of TtR but I think Thurns and Taxis is a blast! A little deeper than TtR and more fun too, imo.
Check it out.
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Jacob
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welcome!

I live near Louisville, but I am (probably) planning to move to the Cincinatti area sometime this year. My wife and I are always looking for other couples to play games with =)

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David Pontier
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My wife loves Empire Builder. I thought this was just her quirk, but while at a local gaming convention a couple weeks ago, I heard several other guys say how their wives were obsessed with this game and its many variations. My wife is really god at numbers and organization, which is what you need for that game. If your wife is into satistics, then it might be up her ally.
 
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