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Subject: The 177th Edition of the TGIF Poll rss

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Ben Lott
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If you want updates on when new TGIF polls are posted, or want to look at the results of past polls go to The TGIF Poll Subscription Thread.

Today's poll is brought to us by TGIF regular...

Walt
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Poll: The 177th TGIF Poll
I got started playing mainstream games by...
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
...my family
81.4% 288
...my friends
9.0% 32
...a gaming club
0.6% 2
...a game store
0.3% 1
...I forget
5.4% 19
...something else
3.4% 12
Voters 354
I got started playing hobbyist games by...
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
...my family
14.2% 50
...my friends
45.5% 160
...a gaming club
5.1% 18
...a game store
9.4% 33
...I forget
2.6% 9
...something else
23.3% 82
Voters 352
At what age do you feel you became a "gamer"?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
1-5
6.3% 22
6-10
25.2% 88
11-15
24.1% 84
16-20
9.7% 34
21-25
12.9% 45
26-40
18.6% 65
41-60
3.2% 11
61+
0.0% 0
Voters 349
This poll is now closed.   354 answers
Poll created by Blott
Closes: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:00 am


4. How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?

Any discussion is encouraged.
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Ed Bradley
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4. By my hounding them until they give in!
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Matthew Cordeiro
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I got into gaming by just walking into game stores and looking at the boxes. But, I don't think this is typical. My family and friends got into gaming by playing with other family and friends. They were introduced to games they liked, maybe bought a game or two, and then found other games they liked either based on shopping at game stores, or recommendations from others. Of all the people I regularly play games with, I'm the only one using BGG.
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Ben Lott
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1 - 100% of my mainstream gaming came from my family. I grew up watching my parents play card games (and sometimes board games) for fun with their friends. I played a lot with Jason, and my friends. I knew gaming was a fun activity from a very young age.

2 - I'm going to give the credit here to family as well, because it was my wife and her family that had regular game nights. These game nights are what reeled me back into board games as an enjoyable pastime.

3 - This depends heavily on how you define gamer. I decided to go with my early 20s because that's when I started playing games more consistently and when I discovered the hobbyist games.

4 - While families will still undoubtably pass down gaming as a tradition if it's already established in their household, I think the primary way gaming spreads nowadays is friends. At least that's how it works in my sphere of influence. I show my friends my games, they get hooked and then they seek out some games for themselves.

Note: I really appreciate Jason filling in last week and the suggested poll from Walt. I'd really like to keep this up and make 2012 the year where you all get to ask your questions. So feel free to geekmail me with suggested polls (either full questions or just a general topic idea.) Or, if you want to pinch hit one week and post the poll yourself geekmail me with a request and I'll put you in the queue to pinch hit when I'm unavailable.
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Wade Nelson
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Blott wrote:


4. How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?



Their friends and family. Most the new games I've tried were due to friends, and most the new games my family has tried were due to me. In my area there are also "Games By James" stores that carry all types of traditional and modern games and puzzles. You find these stores in popular malls and they're turning people onto games like Castle Panic, which is pretty cool.
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Ivan Pawle
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d10-1 I got started playing mainstream games by... my family

d10-2 I got started playing hobbyist games by... a combination of curiosity and discovering BGG

d10-3 At what age do you feel you became a "gamer"? Early 30s

d10-4 How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now? Probably a certain amount through MTG/Warhammer etc. Some through being introduced by 'gateway games' via friends/family. I would imagine that BGG introduces a lot of people to the wider world of gaming.
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Mike Jones
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I started playing historical miniature games (and AH/SPI/Nuclear War/Ace of Aces/etc.) in 1982 with my father's AP history students. About the same time I started D&D with some other classes mates.

I have no idea how the youths of today get started.
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Tom P
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Blott wrote:

4. How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?


They get born.

My mb reflects this view
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Sharon Khan
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1. My family are huge games players, so bought everything they could find in the general marketplace that looked interesting, and I learnt to play them.

2. Although the majority of my childhood games were mainstream fare, we did have some hobbyist games - Civilization and Eurorails being examples. They were in the minority though, as we just didn't know where to get them in the UK. I remember finding a hobby board games store in Canade once and thinking I'd walked into fairyland, but luggage issues meant we could only buy a few games (we were allowed to choose one each). I only discovered where and how to buy hobby games after I left university, which is when I was able to find other like-minded people, rather than having to convert friends into gamers to play with me!

3. I've always been a gamer. I've now turned it from a family pasttime to a major hobby, but I probably played as many games in a week as a child as I do now!

4. I think, like always, they fall into it from all directions. I don't think that's changed.
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Andy
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#1 I've been gaming as long as I can remember... my Dad was a game player (traditional boardgames and card games), and grew up playing games with him, and with my brother when he was old enough. Mum would join in with some games too.

#2 Although I'd played some of the more unusual traditional boardgames, and then wandered into video-games for a while, it wasn't until a friend introduced me to Settlers of Catan when I was in my late 20s that I really became a Hobby Gamer.

#3 6 to 10 was the age I started to really enjoy gaming with my family and I would look forward to being old enough to play Dad's games like "Risk" and Monopoly.. after that we picked up some more unusual games second hand (exploration; careers etc.)

#4 Almost certainly people get started gaming because they know someone who games... whether it is family or friends... a small number discover the hobby by themselves either online or a game shop/club.

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Håkan König
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3: I have always liked playing games, from the age of 4?5?6? don't know. I played the usual stuff available in Sweden at the time (late 70s/early 80s), then moved on to RPGs in the mid 80s until early 90s. Then when I left home for University, I didn't play any games for like 5 or 6 years. Then I met a few friends and we started to get together and play games, at first mostly cardgames (Contract Rummy) and some other stuff like The M-game and Risk. The another friend introduced us to Lord of the Rings, I had some questions about it, found some weird site on the internet called Board Game Dork and the rest is history.
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#2 I was the one dragging the rest back into games.. Don't know where it came from.. I grew up playing the main games, guess I just didn't want to stop when growing up, so I converted to the hobbyist games slowly (faster when I got involved in playing games with other bgg-ers)
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1 I put Family here. I played the typical games with my Family and with my Friends, but not typically with both at the same time.

2 In college I had some friends who played Diplomacy till all hours of the night. We went to a couple of game nights at the university and saw some of the other games available. About that time an FLGS opened in my hometown and then I was hooked.

3 It was during college, which for me covers 3 of your age groups, but it was during the 16-20 years that I became a gamer.

4 I will convert them into mindless gaming zombies with my BoardGaminator!!!
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1. Family.

2. Family. We would have weekly board game afternoons/evenings. I also played a ton of D&D with my brothers and buddies.

3. Became a gamer between 6 and 10 I imagine. Lots of Uno, Othello, Risk, Pass the Pigs, Masterpiece, Risk, Yellowstone, and reading my Dad's Games magazines. Around the holidays we would routinely pull out a group game as I got older - Guesstures, Scattegories, Balderdash, etc. My Dad even wrote a few game card clues for a game in the '90's and I thought that was pretty cool.

4. I am sure there is a large % who enter the hobby through family and friends. I imagine that sites like meetup.com also help in largely populated areas to re-introduce people to the hobby they enjoyed as a kid. Once an adult sees the advancement of games today compared to years ago, they are often times hooked. Our FLGS game group has drawn double the numbers on average weekly than we did say 2 years ago - friendly gamers help grow the pool of gamers.
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Jason Lott
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Blott wrote:
1 - 100% of my mainstream gaming came from my family. I grew up watching my parents play card games (and sometimes board games) for fun with their friends. I played a lot with Jason, and my friends. I knew gaming was a fun activity from a very young age.

2 - I'm going to give the credit here to family as well, because it was my wife and her family that had regular game nights. These game nights are what reeled me back into board games as an enjoyable pastime.

3 - This depends heavily on how you define gamer. I decided to go with my early 20s because that's when I started playing games more consistently and when I discovered the hobbyist games.

4 - While families will still undoubtedly pass down gaming as a tradition if it's already established in their household, I think the primary way gaming spreads nowadays is friends. At least that's how it works in my sphere of influence. I show my friends my games, they get hooked and then they seek out some games for themselves.


+1 to all of this for me. Although I guess I was more in my early 30s.
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Marshall Miller
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1. I remember playing chess, Chinese checkers, and monopoly with family members when I was really young.

2. While I had some friends with older brothers who had played hobby games, I recall getting into them spontaneously (only child) because I was reading a lot of fantasy and had always loved the middle ages. Later, different people introduced different games.

3. I think the 11-15 age range is key. That's when you start to make decisions about your identity.

4. I'd have to guess that the lucky few are introduced to analogue games by their parents. These days, I'd venture that most come by way of video games.
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Bob Menzel
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1. My family played a lot of mainstream games when I was growing up.

2. I forget, but I think I stumbled across a hobby game store when I was 11 or 12, bought Blitzkrieg and D-Day and then begged my dad to play them with me.

3. I think I truly became a gamer when I was 14 - that was when we really started playing D+D, and then Squad Leader came out ....

4. I think most people come to games through friends and family - it's amazing how many people will say they don't really like games, but you can usually find something that will appeal to them.
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David Reed
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blott wrote:
1) I got started playing mainstream games by...


My family played games. I remember my parents frequently playing bridge and other games with friends, colleagues and me. We had game nights at home, we played card games when we traveled or went camping and we played games when the extended families got together. As an example, one of my earliest memories is playing Battleship with my dad while we were waiting for the moon landing.

blott wrote:
2) I got started playing hobbyist games by...


Again, my family is responsible. Somewhere before my tenth birthday, my parents started playing Acquire with friends. They brought it home, taught me and we played it together. It was about that time that my mom taught my dad and I how to play Mah Jongg. While Mah Jongg is not really a "hobbyist" game, these two mark the start. Soon, other 3M games were appearing in the games cabinet (yes, we really had one!) - Venture, Facts in Five, Sleuth and Executive Decision. Within a couple of years, my parents had bought me my first SPI and The Avalon Hill Game Co games. There was no turning back.

blott wrote:
3) At what age do you feel you became a "gamer"?


As mentioned above, as long as I can remember I have played games. I was a "hobbyist" gamer before I was 10.

blott wrote:
4) How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?


I think that the "playing games as a family" factor can not be discounted. The key is for the children to see their parents enjoy playing the games rather than enduring the experience. Also, if children see their parents playing games without them (more adult games), the stigma of "games only being for kids" can be avoided. Of course, the key to making this work is finding games that are actually enjoyable for all, which is something that the majority of US publishers have not figured out.

If someone does not have the "family gaming together" background from their childhood, it is much harder for someone to discover gaming at a later time, but it is not impossible. Most other future gamers are going to discover gaming via relationship - a roommate in college, a friend, or a significant other. It is possible for a crossover - an iPad, XBox or computer port of a game causing curiosity about the original source to happen.

Working in campus ministry, I am amazed to see how many college-aged folks know Catan and Carcassonne these days, so there are games that are breaking out of the "hobbyist" niche and into the mainstream - even in the United States.
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Joe Huber

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Blott wrote:
4. How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?


In my experience, being introduced to the games via friends, family, co-workers, and related interests. I don't think there's any stronger a tendency for getting involved in a particular way now than there has been in the past.
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crazylegs wrote:
Blott wrote:

4. How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?


They get born.

My mb reflects this view


I agree. My experience is that people are either gamers or not. That explains why this is a niche hobby as compared to other, more popular hobbies. And that is fine.

Some folks could be presented with the most interesting, tantalizing game and not care one bit about playing it. A gamer will look at a game, want to play, ask for more, and ask about where to find "more games like this".
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Brad N
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Quote:
I got started playing hobbyist games by...
This one was tricky and I chose "...something else." I'd played games like Acquire and Quandary and a few "hobbyist"-type games before 2007, but that is when the avalanche really got started. And, it was started by me just stumbling across Ticket to Ride on a website or two and asked for it as a gift; I had NOT found BGG yet. So, it was really me who got me into hobbyist games.
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Max Jamelli
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It's all my dad's fault. Wouldn't be gaming without him.
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I would think most people get involved in gaming through either family (parents, specifically, whereas I think it was siblings 40 years ago) or through friends who have been exposed to German games and pass the addiction along. But I think that's a much smaller percentage.

I got exposed to gaming when my parents bought games for us as kids (don't know if we asked for them from Santa or not), but we got a few and read the rules and played. And then we played with our cousins and friends. Rarely did we play with my parents, except for Jeopardy!, which was always fun.

I got exposed to "modern games" when a friend stumbled upon The Gathering and brought back reports of neat games. At the next year's AvalonCon, he introduced us to a couple of folk he met there and that got us "the connection" to purchasing from Germany and the rest was, as they say, addiction. This was in 1991.
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Dave Peters
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Ben wrote:
1) I got started playing mainstream games by...


For my parents' first wedding anniversary ("Paper" for the old-school folk) they decided to buy games for one another: my Dad bought games beginning with letters A-M, Mom from N-Z. By the time I arrived in their life, I became part of a house where games were common and playing them was normal.

Ben wrote:
2) I got started playing hobbyist games by...


Parents again: by the time I was ten-or-so, my Dad thought it'd be fun to buy his youngsters some interesting games for Christmas. His idea of interesting included The Avalon Hill Game Co, Gamma Two and a bunch of other tiny companies in addition to more mainstream fare.

Ben wrote:
3) At what age do you feel you became a "gamer"?


While I've been playing games since my earliest youth, I'd argue for 15 or 16 here: when I started spending money I'd earned on "my own games."

Ben wrote:
4) How do you think people tend to get started in gaming now?


I've introduced a bunch of friends and colleagues to games that they might not otherwise have known about. I'd say "Friends and Family" is the vector with which I am the most familiar. I expect to learn about others from reading this thread!
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Derek
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d10-1 Family, we played at least one board game a week from as early as I can remember 'til I was about 13

d10-2 Something else, I browse reddit often and one day while looking at r/gaming I saw a post related to a board game which led me to r/boardgames thus opening me up to this wonderful world of no longer having any money.

d10-3 6-10, though that was video games

d10-4 I'm sure a lot of kids get into games through their family, but unless their family already plays hobbyist games that world will still be a mystery to them. For me it seemed like this hobby was a complete unknown. Other than D&D which everyone and their grandmother has heard of, roleplaying/board/card/dice games just didn't exist except for the stuff made my Hasbro and MB. Then once you discover a game it's like opening your eyes for the first time and you realize just how prevalent this hobby really is. I think the fact that stores like Target are now carrying Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride might make this awakening easier for more people.
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