10 October 2005

Growing My Own Gamers #1

Welcome to Growing My Own Gamers! As I have expressed earlier, I have been researching the boardgaming hobby for the past several months. ABM and I used to play games quite often before we were parents, but I understand now that these weren't "serious" games. My contributions to our game collection were party-style word and trivia games like Taboo and Outburst. ABM is a fan of card games like Spades and luck-based family games like Monopoly and Clue. Now we are both interested in games that are a bit more challenging, but most of our friends are too busy to get together on a regular basis. Cultivating my own game partners from among our four kids seems like the best option. Although they are young I think they are ready because these four will analyze their moves after a round of Pit, which isn't exactly heavy on strategy. I'm going to take you along on my journey to try new games and improve our skills, mainly because I've got to write about something to keep this blog going!

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In keeping with the title of this blog, I want to bring my love of pop culture's past into my recreational life more prominently. One way I plan to do this is by playing vintage games. Since I don't have any truly vintage games in my collection right now (unless you count my anniversary edition of Pit with the original 1901 art), I did a little browsing on eBay.

I have a house full of girls so I thought that Mystery Date might be a fun game to play with them. True, it is heavily based on luck which would cause a serious gamer to sneer, but I thought it would be a fun warm-up title for game night. Although the game was updated recently with an electronic phone that gives clues, I wanted to get one of the older copies of the game because the artwork is so charming. I figured I could get one for about $30.

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! The 1965 version of this game is going for $100 on eBay. I am not looking for one in mint condition; I just want all the pieces to be there. I guess people don't try to sell games if they aren't mint. I may end up getting one of the modern versions, after all.

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Another more pleasant surprise was the expansiveness of the Board Game Geek database. I only expected to see entries for games from the past 20 years, with the exception of perennial favorites like Scrabble. Who knew that I would find not only entries but also reviews for obscure 40-year-old games like Ten Commandments? The BGG site is a bit intimidating to a newbie but once you get used to it can be really helpful. I've heard gamers comment on BGG's weaknesses on different podcasts, but I think it is a great first stop for anyone who wants to get a sense of
how big the hobby is.

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I didn't play any games with the kids this weekend, unless you count Jimmy Neutron Checkers online with DJ. The downside of playing checkers on the computer is that most programs force you to take your jumps. This meant that it was difficult not to beat poor DJ by a wide margin. He didn't seem to mind; I think he was just happy that I played with him. We do need to get some pieces for our checkerboard soon, though, so that I can give him some pointers on strategy (if you knew how bad I am at playing strategically, you would realize how funny that is!)
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