This week--our first guest post! This post is written by my brother-in-law, a guy all-around inferior to me, Danny. I'm happy to say I'm largely responsible for Danny's introduction to gaming, though he took to it quite easily. I used to think of Danny as my gaming Padawan, but I now have to be careful when introducing him to new games--most recently I recall teaching him X-bugs, a tiddly-winks combat game, where he annihilated me in the fastest game I've yet played. Yes, he's become a Gamer Jedi.
...take it away, Danny!
I’m not a gamer.
Well, I’m not a gamer insofar as a person can be who has 33 board games in their closet (anyone up for a little Jenseits von Theben??), whose wife is the Pacific Region Ticket to Ride Champion, and who will be attending next year’s super-secret-bordering-on-clandestine board game convention code-named “The Separation of Foes.”
It’s not that I don’t enjoy gaming – actually it’s quite the opposite. It’s that I don’t think I’m entrenched deep enough into the hobby to have warranted the label. When I’m around people who are obviously gamers I see major differences between us, most notably the presence of color in my wardrobe. (Yes, I know that black and dark gray are colors. Technically.). I also see that gamers have played or are at least familiar with a seemingly-countless number of games. If I had to guess, I’d say that I’ve played about 100 different board games in my life. In comparison, the mastermind behind this blog has more than 600 games in his collection.
What bona fide gamers and I do have in common, though, is that we take great enjoyment in playing board games.
I have fond memories of playing certain games as a child, namely, Monopoly, Yahtzee and Trivial Pursuit. I mean, what wasn’t there to love about having to write down copious notes on how much money each person had, what properties they owned, and where everyone was on the board in order to complete a marathon game of Monopoly (redundant?) the following day…or days?
It wasn’t until high school, though, that I was introduced to a world of board games that didn’t all have “Parker Bros.” stamped on the box. I remember one of the first games I played was a card game (I want to say it was Poison but I know that wasn’t it…arrgh!). I remember thinking “this game is different, kind of weird, but fun.” As time passed and I spent more evenings and weekends at my then-girlfriend-now-wife’s house I was introduced to more games by her
cool weirdo older brother, Lucio.
Now, 12 years later, I still look at a board game as something enjoyable. It’s a time to be with family and friends. It’s a time for friendly competition (unless, of course, Mychael and Jackie are in the same game, in which case, back very slowly away from the table, careful not to make any eye contact). It’s a time for good-natured ribbing (or flat-out vulgar trash-talking if David or Randy is involved). I’ve also learned to appreciate the greater nuances of games – the design of a board or card, the quality of the game pieces, the various game play mechanics, and more.
I picked most of this up over the past two years, the period when I’ve done more gaming than at any other time. It was also during this time that my wife’s and my game collection has swelled to its current size. At present, I usually squeeze in at least one board game most weekends. I’ve also introduced gaming to other people in my family including two brothers. One brother has two daughters that absolutely love Ticket to Ride. In fact, during one recent family party, a group of us took over a table to play TtR and introduced yet another non-gamer to the hobby.
I have not, however, done any of the following gamer-staples: become a member of BGG (I live vicariously through my wife’s account); attend a board game convention specifically to game (that won’t happen until The Separation of Foes); or set aside a specific area of my house for games (I’ve only used about half of the space in the largest closet in the house).
Now, if all of this makes me a gamer – or not – so be it.
At least I’m no RPG, LARP or wargamer.
Now those folks are dweebs.
Some words of wisdom from Danny. In case anyone has decrypted the name of the convention he has cleverly disguised, yes, he is going there next year. And, yes, I am jealous.
More regular updates planned, including some information on HomeCon! Most of you are my friends and are probably going anyway, but I thought I'd share some of our ideas and plans for our first home-convention attempt.
Take care, all.