Saturday, January 7, 2006

30 (Gamer) Questions

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I'm not usually a fan of these kind of memes, but this one seemed like
an interesting one to do.

  1. How long have you been gaming? Since I was a child, when boardgames were a common and well received gift. As an adult, I've been into German-style games for about 9 years now.
  2. What was your first Euro game? Probably Settlers, though if you retroactively consider RoboRally to be a "Euro", then definitely RoboRally. Around the middle of 1997 I really discovered the whole European games phenomenon all at once.
  3. Which game sucked you in? In early 1997 I discovered RoboRally, which really struck a chord and inspired me to go looking for other, similar games. Over the years, I've played a lot of RoboRally.
  4. What is your favorite game? I don't think I can give a single answer to that. It depends who I'm playing with and many other details. Some top candidates would be Puerto Rico, Battle Line, 6 nimmt!, Lord of the Rings, RoboRally and Ra.
  5. What is your least favorite game? Again, this really depends on who I'm playing with, and further, if a game is bad, I'm not particularly likely to play it more than once. Discerning which is my least favorite among several single-bad-play games is tough. "Dog's Life" sticks in my head as an awful game (tedious, long, dull). Most of the more wargamey games I've played haven't been pleasant (Struggle of Empires, recently).
  6. Open or closed holdings? Whatever the rules specified, erring on the side of whichever approach makes the game play more quickly with the players involved.
  7. To gamble or not to gamble? Rather strongly no. I find the thrill of winning actual money is not nearly as great as the irritation of losing actual money. If the goal is enjoyment of a game, I'll just play a game. Some betting games, though, are quite fun. I enjoy Royal Turf, Manila and Titan: The Arena.
  8. How much luck do you like in your games? It varies a lot. I enjoy a great many games with no luck, but I tend to prefer games with at least some luck, and for many games, I don't even mind a great deal of luck, as long as there remains a great deal of meaningful strategic and tactical choices. Heroscape is prototypical in this way. It's got a ton of luck, but a ton of meaningful choices which are certainly effected by the luck, but not totally dominated.
  9. Last three games played? Punct, Crokinole, Travel Blokus. Not an entirely typical set for me, but fun ones none the less.
  10. Last three games purchased? Hm, not including gifts received. I bought Monkey Madness (a game for 3-year-olds) based on a few comments on the 'geek, Face-It as a gift for some 4-year-olds, and Quack Shot purchased off of eBay.
  11. Packrat or trader? Definitely on the packrat side. I own over 500 games and until last year I hadn't traded away or sold a single one. Last year, I traded one game. This year, I traded about 5 games, though the vast majority of those games were for games I had duplicates of in my collection, for whatever reason. So, definitely packrat.
  12. What game are you thinking about right now? Blue Moon. I've written a bunch on Blue-Moon recently.
  13. What's your favorite mechanic? Auctions. But not just any auctions. I enjoy pure auctions alright (like Modern Art or Medici) but I prefer the more structured and constrained auctions. Even the simple Power Grid or Princes of Florence auction approach where everyone has the option of buying something is better. Ideal to me are auctions like those in Ra where the lots not only have substantially different values to different players, but the bidding constraints are different for different players.
  14. What is your favorite Theme? I don't have a particular theme I would call a favorite, though i tend to like unusual and obscure themes. But, certain themes such as sci-fi themes are more likely to peak my interest, but it's not enough to override other qualities the game may be lacking.
  15. Who is your favorite Designer? Reiner Knizia. Of my collection, over 60 games are by him. The next highest designer comes in under 20. Of the 3000+ games I've logged playing in the past 6+ years, Knizia represents nearly 15% of the games played with the next highest designer barely breaking 3%. It's no contest.
  16. Best Gaming experience? Well, if you include the first time I went to Essen (in 2000, I wrote an extensive report) as a single "gaming experience", then that certainly wins. If you constrain it to a single play of a game or something like that, it's a bit harder. My first play at Essen 2000, and several others since then of Lord of the Rings have been remarkable experiences. I found my first play of Battlestations rather remarkable. But, if I had to pick one it would be a game of Princes of Florence played with the G8 game time. We played 3 players, who all knew each other well and with the rule that each minute of play time spent during the actions phase cost you a point. The entire game came in at about 20 minutes and was amazing. I can't entirely adequately describe it, but an adrenaline rush is not usually part of the boardgaming experience, but playing an extremely high speed strategy game against skilled and friendly opponents yields a powerful one.
  17. Worst Gaming experience? The above-mentioned "Dog's Life" and "Struggle of Empires" may be up there, though a 3+ hour game of Euphrat and Tigris with an indecisive opponent may beat out those.
  18. Favorite game for 2? A few months ago I would have unambiguously said Battle Line, but Blue Moon has been rapidly gaining and I expect it has a good chance of beating out Battle Line, but I should give it more time. So, Battle Line remains the favorite for 2, closely followed by Blue Moon. Others that are high up there include SpinBall, Knockabout, Heroscape and Crokinole.
  19. For 3? This ones harder and I'd have a hard time picking between Schnaeppchen Jagd, San Juan and Can't Stop. The latter may win out if I were forced to decide.
  20. For 5? This comes down to Princes of Florence, Puerto Rico, Lord of the Rings and Ra. I think Lord of the Rings wins.
  21. For 6? "6 nimmt!" wins here, though FFFF is rapidly gaining on it, but it needs more time.
  22. Favorite party game? Electronic Catchphrase and Apples to Apples, depending on context.
  23. Do you value Theme or Mechanics more? Mechanics, definitely, but I tend to prefer games with some theme over abstracts, but the particular theme is much less important.
  24. What color do you want to be? Red. Please. I can be yellow or gray or black or other things, but I'll probably end up moving the red pieces.
  25. What is your favorite movie? I don't like movies. The Lord of the Rings movies were very good, though. Grosse Pointe Blank was funny. I actually liked Armageddon. Let's say that. See, I don't like most movies, so it's not a great question for me.
  26. What is your favorite book? Hm. A young adult book I read in elementary school and many times since then, My Side of the Mountain is among them. In adult books, Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five is probably my favorite, though I like and enjoy a great deal of traditional sci-fi, including Niven, Asimov and Kress. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress is especially worthy of note. I recently discovered China Mieville and have enjoyed his books as well. I'm hoping to post here soon about some of the reading I've enjoyed and solicit some suggestions.
  27. Last 3 books read? Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, The Year of Our War by Steph Swainston and The Scar by China Mieville. (I may have forgotten something between The Scar and The Year of Our War)
  28. Last 3 movies watched? All on TiVo: Moulin Rouge, Enemy Mine, and Legally Blond.
  29. Favorite alcoholic beverage (or non-alcoholic if you don't drink)? I mostly don't drink, but I like a Rum & Coke fine. Some white wines really hit the spot with the right meal, but I'm not as much a fan of the reds.
  30. Who are the three most important people in your life? Wife, daughter, and Reiner Knizia. Seriously, the tie for third is too hard to break among the real candidates, so Reiner sqeaks in on a technicality.

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