Jenny Zilver
Sweden
Uppsala
Sweden
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Hi all!

This is a question Ive had in the back of my head for a while now.
Im curious as to how you got into gaming. What got you into gaming (board/war/card games etc)? Do you remember how it all started?

Gaming in Sweden has historically not been big, or reached the general public. Boardgames are something that one played in kindergarten or with family members as a child. Usually its monopoly, some memory-like game or a "game" that is not very thought through and just made to earn the company some easy earned money -games which often use characters or themes from famous or popular movies, books etc. In some families quiz-games might be dusted of around Christmas or any other family-gathering-holiday. All these bad games deter most people from gaming as young adults/adults.

So it wasn't until a few years ago that I got into gaming. Actually, the first time I played anything that I did enjoy (contrasting to the games I played as a child) was while I was a student at Uni. The year was 2005, and we were at a classmate of mine. After dinner he took out Munchkin and suggested a game. We were 5 or 6 people, of which only 2 had played boardgames before (These two had been role playing and playing tabletop miniature war games since childhood -something I later found out was very common, together with live action role playing, amongst social outcasts of that age). It was fun, but it wasn't the event that "turned" me.

About two years later, I was introduced to a girl for other reasons. We started to hang out and although we eventually started to play boardgames it wasn't until one easter, after her nagging me for a year about going with her to a variety of gaming conventions, I gave in.
We went to GothCon, which is the largest gaming convention in Sweden. After meeting so many nice, open, social people (don't get me wrong, Swedes are nice, but its not very often one meet this many people in this state at once -unless alcohol is involved) and introduced to so many good games, I was caught. A dedicated boardgamer was born. I started attending at least 2conventions each year. I also found loads of people to play with through local gaming groups, people who could always need an extra player during private or less regular games nights. I also found out that gamers come in many shapes, starting to find them in colleagues, new acquaintances on parties etc. (I do take the credit of converting a few of them too )

However, female gamers are still comparatively few. Since attending my first convention Ive noticed an increased number of women/girls participants. My friend (mentioned earlier) said that when she first started to go to these conventions, they were just a handful of females there. Our hypothesis is that many of the first girls where "brought" there by their gamer-partners, then started to recruit their own friends and so on. In addition, some of the first convention visitors are now old enough to have their own kids who they bring along. (Actually, I met a girl in the womens dressing room when I was at another convention this weekend, who had been brought there by her dad. It was her first time and her dad, being an experienced gamer, had apparently just brought her there, telling her to go to an organizer who is known to demonstrate and pair up "solo" visitors with each other and games, and then he had left her and walked away to play with some friends of his! And she had loved being there, being well taken cared of by other gamers. Thats how nice people are there!!)

Im glad that I found board games, Ive met so many amazing people through it and even gotten some very good friends through it. It has enriched my life in so many ways. Maybe one day, Ill meet some of you ladies who hang around this forum, too!
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My brother-in-law introduced us to Puerto Rico. Before that, we were mainly obsessed with Bridge. He was friends with a guy who owned a game store in the SF Bay Area. We liked it well enough, but started very slowly in terms of aquiring games. I think my second game was Mr. Jack or Race for the Galaxy, but years later. Then it was like a landslide over the last three years or so.
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Lynette
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Richland
Washington
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My mother taught me to play Chess before I was 5 years old. My mother was great like that. My family also played other games, especially card games, though there was also a closet with other boardgames we kids liked to play like Life, Monopoly and Sorry.

I loved them all and thrived as a gamer for as far back as I can remember. But my first love being Chess... left me with a life long love of heavier strategy games.

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B Mendez
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Eau Claire
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Read an article with a girl friend about the game Puerto Rico that was coming out some ten years ago. The article also mentioned Settlers of Catan. She bought Settlers, I bought Puerto Rico... my collection has over 100 games now. We have introduced our husbands and some friends to board games and have been playing together regularly since.
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Kristi Lawless
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Rosemount
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I've always liked board games in general, but my husband doesn't. I got tired of trying to persuade him to try a game. When I heard about the thriving meetup.com community in the twin cities, I signed up. I started with settlers of Catan and was off and running!
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Jill Reid
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Lincoln
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Growing up in a big (mostly girl) family, we always had boardgames for cheap entertainment. It was Clue, PayDay, Sorry, Chinese Checkers, Life. There was always someone willing to play. In college, it was Pictionary and trivia games that came out with my friends.

Then recently, an aunt of mine found the huge world of boardgames (that I had no idea even existed) and BGG. First, she brought Settlers of Catan, Piece o' cake, Finca, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride. I would go to her house and play games to learn the new ones. Then she would let me borrow them, so I could take them home and teach my husband. It never failed to inspire yet another boardgame order for me. Now over a hundred games later, our big extended family enjoys all kinds of games. We have a Friday night girls game night. It has been a fun way to reconnect with siblings, aunts and cousins.

And my husband likes games almost as much as I do. So I justify my game purchases as the main way we choose to spend our entertainment money. We would rather play games then many other activities (movies, travel, eating out). It is social and interactive and fun. To me, gaming is good quality entertainment and a great weekly escape from real life.

Some day I would like to get to a convention. Is there a ladies game convention? That might seem less intimidating to me.
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Ms Aura

California
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Played all the American classics. Then my mom started buying me board games for my bday and ocassisons. I don't remember if I asked for them. Lol. I "forgot" about games and my older brother had a friend who ran Risk nights. I joined in and became hooked! In h.s. I didn't try to follow up and find other games. Hopped on the video game bandwagon and was hooked on Xbl for a few years. Snapped out of it, had a daughter And back to board games when I ended up with no console system. I got hooked for real real (thanks bgg!) and fortunate to hook my daughter early.

The one thing I miss and remember is the family game night. Every family should have one. Too busy is never an excuse.
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Mercedes (Mandy)
Japan
Setagaya-ku
Tokyo
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I played Risk, Monopoly & Hamburger when I was in Primary school. Then in High School I was in a chess club, and played a lot of D&D. During that time I was an avid collector of comics & was madly into STTNG & frequented the local Games Workshop shop by myself heheh. Did other geeky fun things like fencing But didn't really consider that to be my awakening. I also got involved in BBS's and MUDS, and a bit of D&D-ing here and there.

It wasn't until last year in May, 2011 when my friend Dan introduced me to BANG! at one of our D&D days, and that's when it started. I went home and started researching and found The Dice Tower & BGG, and then my other hobbies were thrown aside to make way for the new contagion. In November, I bought around 45 board games (incl expansions). robot shake and instead of going to BGA (Board Gamers Anonymous) I've been spreading my disease to my friends and the local community. I am an enabler.

I've just passed my 1 year anniversary, since I joined this fantastic hobby, and am loving it. More! More! More!!!
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Kerrin Addis
Australia
Melbourne
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jill e gamer wrote:
Some day I would like to get to a convention. Is there a ladies game convention? That might seem less intimidating to me.


I travel half way around the world to attend conventions by myself. There is no need to feel intimidated. All the people I have met have just been so wonderful and friendly and have made many friends.

Come to a convention, you won't regret it. It is so much fun. Hope to see you at one of them

Kerrin. meeple
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Joline
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I have been playing lots and lots of different games ever since I was really young. We had no game consoles, only a very old computer and no friends living at walking distance. So consequently my sister and me played a lot outdoors together always making up new activities and we also played heaps of games when playing inside.
These games were all the kind of games that you can buy in a normal toystore.. During the first few years at uni I started to play a few more serious games and I already went to a few small conventions. But I really got full-out into the serious boardgames (together with my bf) when we were introduced to heavier games by
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and co. (Thanks so much!)
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You're welcome!

I played the usual games with my parents and my cousins when growing up. Then when I went to uni, I had some friends who played D&D and other rpg's, and they also got me interested in pc games. I found that I really like fantasy...

I don't really remember how I went from playing Risk and Klaverjassen to playing things like Catan, Carcassonne, and Citaldels, but that did happen... and from there it's a small step to heavier euros and more recently thematic games (somehow it took me a while to find out that it's perfectly possible to have fantasy and boardgames in one go).
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Anna Bruna
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Me, I always loved and played board games since I was a kid. When my DH and I met in 80s, we played D&D with some friends who who living in the same building with us. Early in our marriage, we continued to play board games although that stopped when we had kids (especially as our youngest child turned out to be severely disabled.)

However, I was introduced to Euro games several years ago when I was browsing an online Canadian drugstore site and saw that they sold all of these interesting looking Euro games. (I had heard of Settlers of Catan and nearly bought Carcasonne when I saw it in a store years ago but never made the leap). I thought that these euro type games looked interesting and I never knew they were so many!

One things led to another (the slippery slope!) ...I found BGG, then various video blogs (Tom Vassel and Scott Nicholson especially), then some local game retailers and gaming groups (where I heard about Snakes and Lattes the boardgaming cafe which had just opened) and the rest was history.

Since then, I've introduced a friend and her husband, she introduced another female friend and her husband and I've 'partially converted' my own husband. I've even gotten my adult daughter when she was at home to play a few games with me.

(BTW, although most gaming stores and conventions are attended by more men then women, I just learned (from Spielbox's article) that 60% of visitors to Snakes and Lattes are female.)
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LeeAnn Gormley
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Before about a year ago when I thought about board games I thought about Monopoly and Pacheesi! My now-husband kept talking to me about this game, Cosmic Encounter that he played with his friends in college. He described it to me and I was skeptical to say the least! When I first played it, I hated it...He was persistent though and I grew to be able to tolerate it After that we just kept trying more and more games and we began to LOVE playing together...it's so much better then just watching TV all night! Our favorites are the Euro-style games, but there a couple near and dear Ameritrash games to us as well. And to think, a year ago I was looking down my nose at a strange, outer-space themed board game!
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Kaarin Engelmann
United States
Springfield
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I always liked to play games and was competitive. I played Monopoly and Careers and Life and even a Milton Bradley Civil War game with plastic pieces when I was a kid. In high school, I played Dungeons and Dragons because the boys I liked did that.

When I met my husband in college, he was the "Emperor" of the campus boardgaming club. I played serious wargames (like Winter War and Supremacy) with him because that's what he played, but I never really knew what I was doing. After we got married (1988), he tried harder to find games that I really liked. We ended up playing a lot of railroad games (e.g., Empire Builder series), election games (e.g., Campaign Trails), and strategy and lighter wargames (e.g., Illuminanti, Awful Green Things, Snits Revenge, Dien Bien Phu).

There were no Euros back then. We decided to create some games that fit somewhat into the category that Euros do now: fewer rules--most wargames had books back then--and faster play. We published Rise and Fall, Shattered States, and Crisis: Colombia. I even went to some conventions--GhengisCon, Origins, Historicon, Atlanticon, but I still wasn't really a gamer. I played games when Karsten did, but I never really went off on my own and did it.

My first step in that direction was when my husband didn't feel like going to a little convention called NavCon with me. It was in downtown DC and I could get there on the Metro. I went down on my own on Sunday afternoon after church. The boys playing thought I was just there to watch but were very embarrassed to find out I was there to play. (They fell all over themselves to accommodate me once they realized I knew what I was doing.)

The final shove was when Karsten took me to my first AvalonCon (now WBC) in 1998. It was a different sort of convention. You didn't have to pay for each event, which meant I didn't have to feel bad about playing a game I was clueless at because I wasn't wasting money. Plus, there were demos before most of the tournaments, so I could just show up and learn. I didn't need to have someone teach me ahead of time. Not only that, Karsten could go off and play what he wanted and I could play something entirely different.

As of now, I attend (and run) more conventions than Karsten does. (Most people don't really believe I have a husband, I think :-) We still play a lot of games together, but I have games that I like and he doesn't and that I play with my friends.

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EGG Head
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I have always loved games and puzzles, chess, mastermind, risk etc. Quit playing in high school cause it wasn't cool. Got heavily involved in MtG and in doing research on the net wandered into commentary about Settlers and a Eurogamer was born.
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Joanna G
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My brother introduced me to Arkham Horror while I was visiting him in Japan in 2009... then two years later, he flew home to our parent's for a few weeks, so I flew home to see him (I live in Los Angeles, they live in Iowa.) He had brought a boatload of games with him and we played 3 or 4 games a day for the entire visit. ("We" includes our other siblings, parents, and cousins.) After that, I was hooked. So by the time I got back to L.A., I was going through withdrawal and ended up getting my own copies of my favorites from the trip. Which included Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign, Carcassonne, and Middle-Earth Quest.

Then over Christmas, he flew home, I flew home (as did our siblings) and we played even MORE games (here's just a few: War of the Ring, Ghost Stories, Shadow Hunters, Ascension, Agricola, Castle Panic, Rune Wars, Rune Age, World of Warcraft the board game and a lot lot more)... I think it was 54 games in 2 weeks, insane!

So once again when I returned to L.A.... my collection exploded! I went from 20 games/expansions to uh, 80???!! yikes.
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Jennifer Derrick
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I played games a lot when I was little. My parents kept tons of games around (mostly popular stuff like Monopoly, Life, chess, checkers, etc.) and were always willing to play with me (I was an only child, so it was great that they were willing to be opponents).

The turn toward "geekier" games came in high school when D&D was all the rage and then I fell in love with a guy who was heavily into Battletech. Now, I didn't really care about D&D or Battletech -- I could never get into either -- but his group exposed me to things beyond the main gaming staples. I kind of got away from that when I broke up with the guy, but it stuck in my mind.

Then one day I was asking for game recommendations on another forum for Christmas ideas and someone gave me all these names I'd never heard of. It clicked that these were the sorts of things I'd flirted with before so I checked them out. The rest is history.
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Vivienne Raper
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I played games as a kid with my mum (only child, dad worked abroad) - chess, Magic Labyrinth, Monopoly, Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs, HeroQuest, Battle Masters.

Then, when I moved to our current house three years ago, I popped into a local boardgame shop when my husband was ill and bought a duelling pack of Magic the Gathering. Around the same time, we bought some games to play with a friend (Dominion, Munchkin, Killer Rabbits, Illuminati).

We got out of Magic because it was too expensive and I was a rubbish player, and then I discovered Forbidden Planet in central London and bought two big box games - Arkham Horror and Descent. And I loved them...

And it went from there...
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Mystery McMysteryface
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I played lots of games with my siblings, cousins, and extended family growing up. Lots of card games, dominoes, Chinese checkers, mass market games, and learned chess and poker as well.

As an older teen and young adult I played Pente and tried to learn Backgammon and Mancala. I learned Uno and pretty much stopped playing games for almost 12 years.

In 2008, I overheard a co-worker talking about a "different type of card game" and became intrigued. I started searching online and found Funagain's website and other reviews. I purchased Aquarius as our first game, closely followed by Balloon Cup and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. By then, I had found BGG and all hope was lost.

My next purchases were Louis XIV, Freight Train, and Labyrinth, and I had become a registered user.

I continued to devour information on these wonderful games and was swooning over everything I was seeing.

I must say, I have always liked learning and challenging myself. Gaming does that pretty well. I also like that you can learn to improve from your mistakes and what your opponents do in order to improve.
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Growing up we played Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble, Sorry, Mousetrap, Clue... I was in a gifted program in elementary school so we learned Go, Mancala, and a lot of other teaching and mathematical games. My husband attended the same program, but on different days, so we shared a common experience of games and mathematical pasttimes from that program! (Thank you Mr. Hovis and Decatur Elementary School, Seattle, WA)

My Cool Uncle (helicopter pilot in Vietnam) taught me backgammon and my grandfather taught me blackjack. My adult next door neighbor enjoyed having me over to play chess, when I wasn't babysitting his son! Now that I think about it, pretty unusual (and very good for my self esteem, all teenage girls should have this experience)for adult men to be mentoring a teenage girl in gaming and being so open about liking to have her as an opponent, because I was a good player.

I wish my grandmother had taught me mahjong...my mother enjoyed playing Scrabble with me. We all stopped playing Monopoly with my Dad because he was such a jerk about it. He also brought home a stock market game, wiped us all out on the first play, and we wouldn't play that with him either. I look back and it's really sad. If he had been more mature, we could have played a lot of games as a family that he would have enjoyed.

In college, I taught boys I liked how to play backgammon. I lived in a terrific dorm with a lot of gamers, and there was always a game or three going in the common room. Card games, backgammon, chess, Cosmic Encounters, Risk, Diplomacy, etc.

When I get old and feeble, if I could find a retirement home like my college dorm, I'd be a happy many-times-great grandmother...
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Trace
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Like many here I played the "standard" board games as a child and enjoyed them all my mum loved card games so as a family we played many.I played the 'child' type games with my own children but never knew about this secret and magical world of Board games that exists, except to walk past the store with the guys all painting their minitures.
Then I met a guy....
andrew
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and he introduced me to Board-games, BGG and yucata and OMG!!!
I almost immediately bought carcassonne and two other ones my kids would like, then a few card games as they are cheaper...I learn on yucata for now and decide slowly where the money is best spent on a game...lol. I did buy a fun card game that we opened learned and played with my mother and sons, and she liked it so much she 'borrowed' it to play with her board game friends [ might be the last I see of that one!]...she is over 70 and has said her and her friends are getting tired of the Traditional boardgames they have been playing so I plan on turning them toward the beautiful light that is Boardgames.

edit for errors that slipped through
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We are introducing my Mom to boardgaming with our group tomorrow!
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i grew up playing board games - through my teens and 20's id only play monopoly occasionaly and love playing it for days - when i got ill and my partner and i had not much money we played monopoly and talisman which i found new in a cheap books shop..we started to look for other games and found they werent in fashion anymore..you couldnt get them - started to look in charity shops and found odd good one

it wasnt until years later about the time agricola was due out we got a computer and i googled board games and found a whole new world and gamegeek - so there was all the games we liked!wow and the rest is history
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Success! Pirate Fluxx, Star Fluxx, and Here I Stand and she's hooked!

We only got through the first turn in Here I Stand, but she loves history.
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Melissa
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Played games as a kid; a good friend taught me Uno, & Dutch Blitz. Had a board gaming break when I was in school as well since winters here get ugly and our teacher didn't want us to be forced outside in -25.

After that I picked up gaming a few years ago when an ex taught me Carcassonne, and introduced me to
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who kept talking about some Catan game...I started to get curious. Then my fiance introduced me to a friend of his who was "kind of into gaming" and it sort of took off heavy from there. Not to mention finding out that I could order games cheaply online, and have the joy of waiting for boxes to show up on my doorstep! Now we game 2x a month pretty regularly with our group, and then every other night with each other
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