Playing games - my first steps

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Playing games - my first steps

Post  RikTheChief on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 16:52

The thing I like best about board games isn't actually the games themselves.  Its the people who play them.

About 2 years ago we organised a holiday with my friends.  We usually rent a cottage, we invite a few people and we go somewhere nice for a week.  Usually the cottage is somewhere secluded and and off the beaten track.

We go out sightseeing in the day, but sometimes the evenings drag because there isn't a pub nearby, and we all drive, so drinking would be out anyway.  So I said to Tracey 'Hey, I can bring Trivial Pursuit, maybe the others will play it with me!'.

At this comment, she rolled her eyes.

I had picked the game up from a car boot sale, and I was hoping to pass the time with some friendly competition.  However my wife doesn't like the game.  It's too long.  It relies on heavy general knowledge.  It's too competitive.  It just isn't fun - I thought it was.  I was wrong.

So I did the same thing any right-minded husband would do.  I googled 'Board games my wife would like'.

This search directed me to the Dice Tower.  And Tom Vasel.  Say what you like about his reviews, but you can't deny that he is enthusiastic.  This enthusiasm of his was infectious.  I watched the top 10 series.  I read reviews online.  I looked on Amazon and Ebay.  I did my research.

Holy cow!  These games looked amazing!  And Pandemic – A cooperative game!  There are no losers!  I was sold.  Out went Trivial Pursuit.  I ordered my first *Board Game*.  In came Tokaido, Carcassonne and Pandemic.

However, it's not really the games that got me excited (well, maybe a bit!).   It's the people who I would be playing with. There's a connection in Board Games that you just don't get in other activities like Video Games or watching tv or a movie. You spend time with your friends, like-minded people that you respect and admire.  If you're playing a cooperative game you can ask 'Errr...OK, what would *YOU* do in this situation?'.  If it's competitive you can applaud the winner and admire their strategy (if it's not you) or you can feel good about winning (if it is you!)  

I've been lucky enough to meet some fantastic people while board gaming.  I've been invited to strangers houses, I've got to know people better and hopefully call them friends.  This is why I enjoy introducing new people to the hobby.  Hopefully they will experience the same excitement I did.

I'd be interested to hear your stories, how did you get into the hobby?


Last edited by RikTheChief on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 19:40; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Ste on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 19:32

Bloody hell Rik, were you crying over the keyboard while writing this? :-p I actually have a similar story to you. My other passion is video games however my wife has never been a big gamer so the hobby was pretty one sided. I looked into board gaming as something to do with the wife after playing a big game of 2 Rooms and a Boom at a Halloween party last year. My friend who was hosting it also told me about Pandemic so I looked into that and it's kinda snowballed from there. Within a few months I joined this club, met some cool people and have some games that my wife and I both love playing. I'd say that board gaming is now starting to replace video games in my life.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Aneurin on Sat 22 Aug 2015, 19:56

Great story Rick - but your forgot to mention your recent triumph at the Knizia'thon bow tie competition. I still have your prize by the way. Are you coming on Tuesday? I can bring it down for you.

My story - I'm now the oldest serving member of Sheffield Board Games Club... where did it all start - In a shared flat on Churchill Road in Crookes in the year 2003. I was a poor PhD student, researching by day, drinking at night. I couldn't afford to hit the pubs and clubs every weekend so Carlos (a work colleague), his flatmate Steve (Mechanical Monkey/London Steve) and I started to drink 'at home'. This would involve the cheapest bottle of whiskey we could find from a nearby off-license (Mr B's usually). To pass the time we would break out Risk, invite a few like minded friends and have a brutal war (friendships were shattered most of the time) but importantly a jolly good 'cheap' evening. On Steve's 24th birthday he received a present from his brother... Something called 'Settlers of Catan'. We tried it and were instantly hooked. Games were as equally brutal as Risk but it offered so much more strategy. That became our staple Saturday night game. But just like our taste in whiskey improved (mainly through visits to the dram shop in Walkley) to single malts (a 10yr old Bowmore) rather than cheap blends - our taste in gaming ached for bigger & better games.

In the year 2005 a company called Fantasy Flight Games (ever heard of them? We hadn't) released the epic Twilight Imperium 3rd edition. It was my first ever board game purchase - it looked like it had most of the elements of Risk (strategy, warfare) and Catan (strategy, trading, and hexes for a board) and more (technology development, diplomacy). It looked like Civilisation (the PC game) based in space. And oh boy most of us physics/computer science types loved that. Plus it lasted a age - great value for the £60. We would start playing at 8pm and often no be finished until 4-6am! That just meant we would share 2 bottles of whiskey rather than 1 (that's not a bad thing). We played this pretty much every weekend. It created massive arguments but we loved it.

It was about this time I started dating Natalie. She lived in Crookes and had 2 dogs - so we would meet up on Sunday around 9am (yes often after 3 hours whiskey intoxicated sleep) to walk them in the Peak District. I did invite her to join our games evenings on Saturday's but right from the start she was never interested (opposites attract right? She was and still is pretty much T-total too). Amazing my whiskey breath and the bags under my eyes didn't put her off. In 2005 I also got a proper job at the University, old university friends started moving to pastures new and by 2007 Steve, Dave and I were the only ones from our gaming group who remained in the Steel city. I moved in with Natalie, got married and we started our family. But I still wanted to play Twilight... But it needed 6 players... so I started the online hunt for more twilight fans.

I eventually discovered the Sheffield/Rotherham Wargames Club (Gimps) who every month had a board games session on a Tuesday evening. They were based in the liberal mans club in Darnell. It looked a little rough (based on google earth) so I took along Steve and Dave as support. We walked in, with Twilight Imperium under my arms and instantly doubled the membership of the club. It was here that I was really introduced to the growing diversity of games and my addiction started. My next purchase was Peurto Rico - this was the early days of the hobby when you could look at the BGG top 10 and find a game no-one at the club had played (how different it is now!). After that one it was a slippery slope to a wardrobe full of boards.

Eventually the Liberal mans club was burnt down (probably an insurance job) and the GIMPS needed a new home. Around 2009 that became the Park Gardeners club by Hyde Park flats. I also started to get back into a hobby I had during my teens... war gaming and miniatures painting - mainly through blood bowl which is that half way house between a board games and a war-game. The war games club was rapidly expanding at that time; but ever expanding clubs often lead to real and unfixable clashes in member personalities and the decision was made to disconnect the board games club from the war games club - Craig (Rilkyn) and I created the Sheffield board games club. We started running board games nights every 2 weeks but it wasn't very popular. There were often times I would have to call Steve to make sure he was going so there would at least be one other person there! Eventually the Park Gardeners started to demand money for the space we were using and we didn't have the membership numbers to support what they wanted... so we were forced to move - shortly after that place shut down too.

The Riverside Café near Kelham island became our home in 2010... and it was a great choice - the club started to expand - perhaps aided by our online forum which was attracting more and more interest. The hobby was growing. But as we grew we took up more space in the Riverside and the new management clearly started to resent us taking up space from people that would buy meals etc. Our normal reserved space was lost and we were shoved upstairs out of the way... It was dark, the tables were sticky - it wasn't great... we moved on to the Three Cranes on Queen's street 2011. That pub eventually shut down and after a short stay at Patriot Games we made the moved to the Redhouse on Solly street in 2012. The rest of the story most of you know.

The club has always been my main gaming stage - its been a great journey. I have made some great friends over the years - some don't come down anymore, some do. I hope to continue meeting new people and playing some great games. Guess with a non-game playing wife I need something like this club to feed my addiction.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Kes on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 00:32

This is fun.

I grew up playing games to some degree. My dad got us loads of old Waddington games from charity shops and car boot sales so I had played stuff beyond the normal games of monopoly, pictionary and scrabble. In my teens, I got into warhammer a bit but mainly necromunda, sci-fi gang warfare tabletop skirmish game. One of the first of its kind it was riddled with issues but I loved it.
A few years later, after uni, I started up again with a friend. Necromunda works best with a group, not just two people, so we kinda played it to death. Eventually he lost interest and my gaming life ended...
Then a friend got a copy of (you guessed it) Settlers of Catan, ultimate gateway game. I loved it.
Over Christmas break the following year, I went to a nerd meet up in London. I've been to a few of these due to an animation site I used to frequent. I introduced a bunch of people to Catan and we played...a lot.
A spent a few great days playing loads and then got back home and it all stopped. Tried to get others to play here but they weren't bothered. The switch from lots of games to no games was more than I could take. I googled Sheffield board games in January 2013 and have never looked back.

One of my main plans when joining the club was to find new recruits for necromunda. Instead, Aneurin tricked me into played essential the cowboy version of the same game, Legends of the Old West. I prefer the necromunda theme but LotOW is a far better game. We played that a fair bit and I was enjoying it however, I was working on some scenery when I sliced my finger open with a dremel and it kinda killed my enthusiasm for it. During the short break from Cowboys, I finally got a chance to play a game is heard a lot about but never played, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. Wow, that was great! About a week later I went to the UK board games expo for the first time and saw a really great deal on a whole box of x-wing, £120. I figured, that's a lot to spend on a game but if I don't play it, I can just sell it on, it was such a good deal I could even make money.
As it turns out, I did play it. A whole lot.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Ste on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 07:44


Kes, I've played Necromunda a few times, I've got a friend who lives in Mansfield who has about 4 gangs and a boat load of scenery that he makes himself.. If you ever get the itch for a game let me know and I'll introduce you to him. Assuming you don't mind travelling to Mansfield.

I'm the mean time take a look at some of his stuff on YakTribe, his username is Clockwork Orange https://yaktribe.org/community/posts/66010/
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Ste on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 07:45

In* the meantime.... Damn you auto carrot...
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  DaveB on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 08:39

I fit pretty closely to the mould of a lapsed gamer - when I was a kid we played lots of the old Waddignton and MB games (Cluedo I remember being a favourite of mine). This featured a lot of Monopoly, which I went off in a big fashion (and also has a lot to do with my abiding dislike of houesruling games).

Then followed the dark time, a 10-15 year period of playing nothing except for occasional card games or Draughts.

About 8-9 years ago a friend of mine invited me round - they were playing a boardgame and they wanted a fourth. That game was Settlers of Catan and was something of a revelation to me. This turned into a regular thing and a couple of years later I made the jump to Battlestar Galactica (I was a fan of the show, and a review on one of the videogame sites I frequent made it sound *awesome*) which was a big hit whenever I could arrange enough people to play. After that it was a pretty slippery slope - we bought a copy of Carcassonne on one holiday that was a big hit - both the friendlier 4-5 player games and the surprisingly cut-throat two player game. At the same time several other friends were rediscovering their love of boardgames too, and we would get together at a friends pub every so often to play. This eventually had to come to an end when the friend had to leave the pub so we started casting around for other places to play.

A couple of friends each independently found this club and we went along. This was a bit over two years ago and I've been coming regularly ever since Smile
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Kes on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 08:44

Ste - Blinky wrote:
Kes, I've played Necromunda a few times, I've got a friend who lives in Mansfield who has about 4 gangs and a boat load of scenery that he makes himself.. If you ever get the itch for a game let me know and I'll introduce you to him. Assuming you don't mind travelling to Mansfield.

I'm all about x-wing now. If he wants to buy any models, let me know
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Ste on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 08:55

Cool, let me know what you've got and I will ask him. PM me or something to save clogging this thread any further.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Aneurin on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 09:04

Kes wrote:
One of my main plans when joining the club was to find new recruits for nec. Instead, Aneurin tricked me into played essential the cowboy version of the same game, Legends of the Old West. During the short break from Cowboys, I finally got a chance to play a game is heard a lot about but never played, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. Wow, that was great!

I've introduced you to some great money burning games... Wink

Looks like quite a few of us were into Games Workshop stuff in our teens. It was always Warhammer (high elves) and Bloodbowl (human, Orc, Skaven) for me. The latter was my staple game. My miniature painting was awful back then. I didn't have the patience back then I have now. Uni came along and those games were put in the loft at my parents house - didn't want all these new people I was going to meet thinking I was a proper geek... But then decided to study physics... Somethings are just destiny/fate right? It was the GIMPS club that eventually got me out of the war gaming closet.

But I'm like Kes - I've always had unusual board games. Helps having parents that were into D&D. I had all the waddingtons games that are now 'cool'... Escape from Atlantis, Valley of the lost dinosaurs etc. Heroquest, fellowship of the ring... Those VHS board games - Star Trek and Star Wars - not those atmosphere ones. It's no wonder I love this stuff it was trained from a very early age.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Kes on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 11:31

Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs is awful. I remember realising that as a kid. We had to add a bunch of house rules to make it playable.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Aneurin on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 11:35

I seem to remember adding a lot more lava than we should have to make it more difficult...
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Kes on Sun 23 Aug 2015, 12:01

Same
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  paulyg on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 16:30

Good topic and interesting stories!

For me, I got my start in vaguely related things when I was a teenager at school. I got the Dungeons & Dragons box sets (basic, expert, companion, etc.) over a series of birthday and Christmas presents and a group of 4 or 5 of us would play fairly regularly at weekends. We also tried little bits of other RPGs - Rune Quest, Paranoia, Call of Cthulu, Doctor Who RPG. A little bit after this started, one of my friends discovered Warhammer Fantasy Battle and we started to play that sometimes too (I ended up with orcs & goblins, a bad choice for someone who didn't want to do much painting). My cousin had Space Marine (the epic scale 40k game) and I ended up getting that too, and Blood Bowl. Much of the lunchtime discussion at school was around min-maxing our armies and teams. I got pretty good at estimating the distance between objects in inches.

But I got fed up of all of that when I was doing my A-levels, and everything ended up in the loft.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago and myself and my ex-university friends got into playing poker. There were a whole bunch of us living in London and we'd host the odd night and play when we met up. It was a good, fun, social activity and nobody took it too seriously. Meanwhile, two of my good friends had moved to San Francisco and had discovered some very interesting board games. I went to visit them and ended up playing the 'triumvirate' of Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket To Ride. These were amazing games and, back in London, I converted some of my poker-playing friends and got them to play these games with me too.

When I moved back to Sheffield it became more difficult to meet up regularly, but we still played board games when we could and I slowly grew the collection (Puerto Rico, Power Grid, Dominion...). Heading back from a weekend playing games in London a few years ago, I looked online and discovered the Sheffield Board Games Club! I even signed up for the forum, but never quite plucked up the courage to head out and play with strangers. It sounded amazing, though, with this immense game called Twilight Imperium that was played occasionally in someone's shed...

In 2013, amazingly, Kathy suggested that we could go on the next Jonathan Coulton cruise (JoCo Cruise Crazy 4). She knew it was something that I'd wanted to do for a while, since I was a big JoCo fan and general geek. On board, as well as lots of amazing performers and fun activities, there was a 24-hour board game room filled with friendly nerds eager to play games! I think it was this, more than anything else, that convinced me that playing games with people I didn't know was fine. Actually more than fine, it was great fun! I came back from the cruise and was immediately taken really ill for about a week. In the time off, I found loads of board-game related sites (I must have watched hours of Shut Up And Sit Down reviews) and vowed that I must finally join SBGC.

Once I was well again, I joined and Kat came along with me to the first couple of meetings. Everyone was super friendly and there was this incredible selection of games that I'd never heard of before, let alone played. My games collection has grown "quite" a lot in the past 18 months, I've been to some conventions (including a second JoCo) and I've met some wonderful people and had some great times at SBGC. In time I even managed to get to play the mighty Twilight Imperium. Man, I wish I'd joined when I lived literally round the corned from the Redhouse!
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  Scott_Fryer on Thu 10 Sep 2015, 12:08

Fantastic thread, and a good read... my story goes like this..

Growing up, I played a lot of traditional boardgames mostly with my brothers/sister/parents/grandparents etc, I saw a lot of Monopoly, Game of life, Scrabble, Boggle etc, but when I started secondary school in the early 90s, I was introduced to 40K, this prompted a visit to games workshop, which was a very different place in those days as they sold more than 3 games back then Smile. I was then exposed first to Talisman ( which I still love.. ), then space hulk, and things like rogue trooper, car wars, etc etc.. However as I went to college and university, cardboard gaming disappeared from my life, mostly due to a lack of people to play with, until a few years ago..

Whilst on a camping trip, Munchkin appeared, also CAH, this prompted some discussions, and it turns out, one of my good friends is also a fan of talisman, this had never come up in conversation previously, and its this point where I re-discovered how much wonderful board gaming goodness I've been missing out on.

I manage about one good gaming session a month with my friends, work commitments amongst other things can make it quite difficult to do anything more often, and we play mostly gateway games, pretty much anything with too much direct conflict is out, and anything vastly complex or with an abundance of miniatures is also an issue it seems. Saying that, Dead Of Winter, Last Night On Earth & Betrayal At House On The Hill have all been massive hits. My desire to play other things and more complex games, led me to google, and this club..

To steal Ricks words from earlier though, as his words sum up my feelings perfectly...

RikTheChief wrote:The thing I like best about board games isn't actually the games themselves.  Its the people who play them.  There's a connection in Board Games that you just don't get in other activities like Video Games or watching tv or a movie.  You spend time with your friends, like-minded people that you respect and admire.  If you're playing a cooperative game you can ask 'Errr...OK, what would *YOU* do in this situation?'.  If it's competitive you can applaud the winner and admire their strategy (if it's not you) or you can feel good about winning (if it is you!)  

I've been lucky enough to meet some fantastic people while board gaming.  I've been invited to strangers houses, I've got to know people better and hopefully call them friends.  This is why I enjoy introducing new people to the hobby.  Hopefully they will experience the same excitement I did.
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Re: Playing games - my first steps

Post  steveygee on Tue 15 Sep 2015, 13:08

Great thread!

We played games as kids, a lot of Cribbage and dominoes with my grandad, who'd played crib in pub leagues in his younger days, plus the usual assortment of Risk, Cluedo, Monopoly etc. As a teenager, like a lot of people it seems, some friends and I discovered Games Workshop. Warhammer Fantasy for us. I had an Undead army on the basis that painting a load of skeletons bone coloured was a lot easier than, you know, actually painting things. It was very expensive though and, parallel to this, we had discovered Magic the Gathering, which was a much smaller time and cost comitment (well, compared to Warhammer). A bunch of us at school hid from the other kids at lunchtimes and played the crap out of that game. Soon booze and girls entered my life and my limited funds went on those new hobbies instead. I shudder at the memory of selling my undead army at Wargames emporium, soon after it opened I think, for beer money. The only tabletop gaming in my life was our monthly poker game.

After a while I met the woman who would become my wife and things settled down. I was still friends with a bunch of those nerdy kids from school lunchtimes and our monthly poker game became a weekly poker game. A friend of mine, who along with his dad was a member of the aforementioned Gimps, used to occaisonally bring a game called Zombies!! along and we'd play that and all have a good time. We all became sort of aware of boardgamegeek and people began picking up different things. Arkham Horror, Descent 1st ed., Puerto Rico and Doom the boardgame all made appearences during these nascent game nights, which our poker night was slowly morphing into. We liked them, but recognised elements in all of them from our teenage years playing, Necromunda, Heroquest and various other things that made occaisonal appearances in our Warhammer days. Nothing really hooked us. It wasn't until the triumverate of Settlers of Catan, Battlestar Galactica and, especially Race for the Galaxy, that we really went full tilt into the hobby.

Even at this time, I only owned a couple of things. Then in, search of new people to play these things with, I discovered this fine community of addicts. I quickly realised what a fantastic group this was and have been coming, on and off, with greater or lesser regularity, ever since. Since 2012, when I first ventured into the Redhouse on a Tuesday night, my boardgame collection has exploded from one or two to well over a hundred. I've become addicted to Kickstarter. I've become a late blooming and avid RPG player. I sometimes even sleeve cards. I blame you lot.

Cheers.
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