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What are your (personal) gateway games?

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19 May 2008 09:09 #6657 by Schweig!
Here's my descent into gaming:

As a kid: Played quite a few Haba and Ravensburger kids games, of which I only remember "Up the River" (boat-racing), "Die Kecken Recken" (knights stealing gems from a dragon), "Sagaland" (Spiel des Jahres '82) and "Der Räuber Hotzenplotz" (cooperative game based on a children's book). Those games were christmas gifts received at times when I wasn't yet capable of writing my own wish-list.

In my early teens: Played "Trivial Pursuit", "Der verrückte Pharao" (memory type game) and Rummikub with my family. "Risk" and "Settlers" with friends. And "Monopoly" solitaire (!) :X (With like 5 imaginary players and I can't remember ever finishing a game).

In my teens: First own game purchase was "Bohnanza", because of the artwork. Started roleplaying (D&D). Fellow gamers there were active in the church youth, which had a Spielfreak deacon, who spent quite some of his budget on (as we first thought) weird board games. First things we tried out there were "War of the Ring", "Kings & Things" and "Kremlin".

In my late teens: Second notable own game purchase was "Axis&Allies revised", which we played a lot. A friend of mine then bought "Twilight Imperium 3rd", which we spend even more time on, always trying to lenghten the game by any possible means (14 VPs goal was standard). He also purchased "Betrayal at House on the Hill", "Monsters Menace America" and other AT-labelled games, althought we were unaware of this term at that time. I got myself Memoir '44. The aforementioned deacon saw us playing this game and commented that he in his teens played a similar and awesome (suggestively: better) game called "Squad Leader", of which I then though intimidated at first bought a copy off ebay. At this time the deacon also started organizing a con, which although strictly planned as 4 days of nonstop gaming, still had an opening and closing religious service.

Nowadays: The last step up was the purchase of Ambush, which a venerable game store in Munich still had in stock, and which I enjoyed much more than Squad Leader. After that I just wildly started buying and playing wargames (or consims) while still playing a lot of AT with my friends. We quit roleplaying though.

So the main factors that got me into gaming were as I think the fantasy kids games I unconsciously played as a child plus moreover the influence of the "Spielfreak deacon" and having friends who are keen on gaming.

What about you?

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19 May 2008 10:11 - 19 May 2008 10:15 #6663 by Aarontu
As a young kid, I have fond memories of Fireball Island (with my brother) and Chess (with my dad). My first own game purchase was 'Situation 4', a lame puzzle game I thought looked cool (it had tanks). Fortunatley, it was cheap (at a thrift store).

In middle school, I played Magic: the Gathering and Star Wars CCG almost exclusivley (mostly Star Wars).

Once I entered high school, I discovered D&D and A&A. By my senior year, I DM'd a regular group every Saturday. Played A&A or Risk with friends occasionally. Played Talisman 2nd ed with all expansions whenever I visited my cousin. Played some Starfleet Battles with a friend. Around graduation time, I started collecting/playing Warhammer 40k with friends. Risk 2210 came out and I bought it (it has nukes; I couldn't resist).

Went out West to Washington/Idaho for a couple years. While away from home, I bought A&A and played it some. At a 4th of July party at someone's home, I played Settlers for the first time and went out and bought it within the week. Also bought Sid Mier's Civ and played games with people every week for the next year. Mostly we played Settlers, but we occaisionally played SM-Civ, Heroscape, Risk 2210, and A&A.

Returned to Georgia, started attending GA Tech. Discovered Twilight Imperium 2nd ed, and later, 3rd ed. Discovered BGG. Bought a crapload of cool looking games and some euros. Found new favorites like War of the Ring, and games my family will actually play with me like Carcassonne.

Dated a lot and ended up getting married to someone who at first played games with me because she knew I enjoyed them. Now our "games to buy" list is mostly games SHE wants, and she found us a regular game group and she told me to sign us up for Game Fest South.

That's basically my life story (from a gaming perspective). A good bit of my gaming histroy I probably owe to a single friend I've had since high school (the one who introduced me to D&D, Starfleet battles, Risk, and Twilight Imperium, and was a long time Warhammer40k gaming buddy).
Last edit: 19 May 2008 10:15 by Aarontu.

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19 May 2008 10:32 #6664 by Shellhead
My dad was kind of a gamer before gamers were identified as a species. I think I was maybe six years old when he taught me how to play Acquire, because he loved that game and always wanted to play. When I was 7, he bought me Battle Cry for Christmas, but I was too young to learn it, so he taught a couple of the other dads in the neighborhood how to play.

When I was 9, he bought me Dogfight, and that was probably my first AmeriTrash love. Neat-looking board and very cool plastic World War one bi-planes with spinning propellors. Fly out across no-man's land and then back again in order to refresh your hand of manuevers. Get in dogfights to take out enemy planes and win medals (bigger handsize, I think), or strafe enemy airfields to take out planes before they get in the air. There was even a nice touch of chrome with the anti-aircraft emplacements around the airfields. My friends and I played it over and over until the cards were wrecked.

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19 May 2008 10:41 #6666 by Shellhead
Come to think of it, Dogfight wasn't really my gateway game, because I still could have grown up to be a typical non-gamer. Dungeons & Dragons was my real gateway game, because that got me into a real gaming store, The Boardroom. It was a place that primarily handled war games, but also a good selection of the first wave of rpg games, D&D, Tunnels & Trolls, Gamma World, and Traveller. And they also had some odd boardgames in stock. So I think that my first real gateway boardgame was probably The Awful Green Things from Outer Space, but it took Dungeons & Dragons to get me in the store. And oddly enough, my first role-playing experience wasn't D&D, it was Gamma World. I guess that I was more into science-fiction back then.

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19 May 2008 11:33 #6672 by maka
I remember playing loads of different board games and card games in the summer by the pool with my friends when I was a small kid. The one I remember the most is Colditz Escape which was quite a hit in Spain in the 80s. A friend had it at the time and everyone loved playing. The other games I suppose weren't much interesting because I don't remember most of them :) I did also play some chess with my dad but I remeber it being frustrating...

A few years later we started playing D&D at School (I was 11) and that was the real start I guess. A couple of years after D&D a friend introduced me to wargames (through the Cry Havoc series) so all my first board game purchases where wargames too: Battle Hymn was the one that lasted until today, but I got some other AH titles.

It wasn't until my RPG group broke up when I got interested in thematic boardgames (around 10 years ago) when I started looking for a boardgame that would have the feel of an RPG with no need for a GM :D

Anyway, a constant through all those times has been card games (with a standard deck). In Spain there's a great tradition of playing card games and I think most people have a deck at home and play at least from time to time.

-Jorge

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19 May 2008 14:14 #6696 by moss_icon
I think it was when I discovered Risk and Escape from Colditz. Woah, games about cool things!! I was so enamored with Escape from Colditz that I used to play it solo. That game was so good. I need to see if it still holds up, or if I even played it correctly, I think I invented my own rules. I played every single nationality and the Germans, probably for hours on end. I then did a bit of RPG (MERP and Rolemaster, though the latter I never really got round to playing properly).

After that it was Axis and Allies and Games Workshop. And then Red Storm Rising. I tried an Avalon Hill game (Flight Leader, as I was obsessed with planes) but it was a bit much. So I stopped gaming until last year, when I stumbled across Battlelore and got reinvigorated before finding wargames and deciding that was all I wanted to play.

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19 May 2008 14:32 #6702 by Thaadd
Grew up with my mom and I playing (with sometimes sullen sister, who seemed to be stuck in her teens for a good 15 years) Clue, Yahtzee, Solar Quest (far cooler than Monopoly), Why, and alot of cards. I think I learned poker when I was about 10. Pennies, Nickle, Dime, or crackers. I still think texas hold'm is dumb. Great memories of playing sitting at the tiny table and chairs at the preschool she was a director at, with the other staff and kin. Drinks and cards and bright primary colors everywhere!

I got into RPGing when I was about 14, with White Wolf Games, moved onto ADnD, Rifts, Shadowrun, with regular helpings back to White Wolf titles. Gaming equaled RPGing until people started settling down, and a weekly line up was not guaranteed, or even common. Early 20s.

Then someone brought in Settlers of Catan, which we modified the hell out of the rules for - and played weekly for almost 2 years. We mixed things up, with Mayfair train games, Aquire, card games, and a much-house-ruled Solarquest (we made our own cards). Gaming group quietly imploded when one person went off to University (second career) and I split with the person I had been gaming with/dating/living with for 4 or 5 years. (We still hang out and game, but not often. Got my ass handed to me in British Rails 2 weeks ago). No gaming for me for about a year, then I changed employement, and a solid stream of gamers materialized :)

Now I play Descent once a week, random work games, Warhammer Fantasy RPG every other week, and try to get big games going every other weekend. Living la vida geeka....

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19 May 2008 15:27 #6708 by ChristopherMD
Regular card games and dice games were my earliest. Along with making up rules for my GI Joes to fight the Masters of the Universe in order to free Optimus Prime from Castle Greyskull. Mainly using strict movement and line of sight, but I don't recall the specifics now.

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19 May 2008 15:47 #6710 by LilRed
Very hard to settle on this time cos the periods in which I gamed, has had many ups and downs. Earliest boardgames include: monopoly, amazing labyrinth, game of life, cluedo, stratego, chess. Guess there it started and I suppose Jurrasic Park was my first Ameritrash title :P. But that was more cos of the movie than about the boardgame.

Then at 10-15 years of age I played a LOT of settlers. At 17-18 we played Risk and Settlers on a regular basis. Then a quiet period again. Then got interested in boardgames again by Munchkin (of all games). Made a short Eurotrip when I was influenced by the hive mind of BGG. Got Puerto Rico thought it was a good game. Then came Thurn & Taxis and was terribly dissapointed. Then it was WoW:FA(I love WW1 aviation) and Doom that brought me to AT.

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19 May 2008 20:05 #6731 by jeb
As a youngin' I made my sister cry while kicking her ass in MONOPOLY. This still gets mentioned from time to time 25 years later. It's not my fault she sucked.

I played some CROSSBOWS & CATAPULTS with the neighbors, along with RISK, PAYDAY, and every card game known to man. My parents played CRIBBAGE weekly with their friends before the divorce, and I know my Dad had TWIXT, though we never played.

I got burned out on TRIVIAL PURSUIT at my Grandma's house because:
1) I was better than everyone else by the time I was 12.
2) I was better than they were because they were fucking drunk as hell and yelled a lot. I am very uncomfortable playing this game to this day.

It wasn't until grad school that I really started playing games. I lived at the AXE House in Berkeley and there was a pile of gamers there. TALISMAN (3rd Ed with expansions out the yazoo, we banned Chaos Warrior), MAGIC:THE GATHERING, MYTHOS, EURORAILS, AXIS & ALLIES (two sets, we'd play with fog of war and recon missions), SETTLERS OF CATAN, DIPLOMACY, MAFIA (when did this become WEREWOLF?), and HEARTS--tons of this.

HEARTS was serious business. If you fucked up while playing HEARTS, you would not be invited back. None of the Jack of Diamonds BS, dealer calls the pass, first blood, queen breaks hearts. This was my AT intro--games were for trashtalking and kicking each other's asses. Co-op games were not easily found in our house.

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19 May 2008 20:52 #6735 by Gary Sax
Thaadd wrote:

Now I play Descent once a week, random work games, Warhammer Fantasy RPG every other week, and try to get big games going every other weekend. Living la vida geeka....


Is Warhammer Fantasy RPG any good? Seems like a much, much more amenable setting to RPGing that 40K.

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19 May 2008 21:37 #6740 by Steve Bernhardt
1914 was my very first hobby game. I'm sure we played it wrong because I was in grade school at the time, but it sure was fun pushing chits around. We played correctly in junior high. High school and junior high were spent on the chess team, playing AD&D, Squad Leader + expansions and Third Reich. Dabbled with Gamma World, Morrow Project and Traveller.

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20 May 2008 02:29 #6763 by metalface13
As a kid through elementary school: Everything. From Guess Who to Trivial Pursuit to Risk. My older brothers and their friends were always playing Dungeons and Dragons, Axis and Allies and Rail Barons, so that definitely had an influence on me. My older bro did run me through a totally awesome DnD mini-campaign. OK, so it really was just a one night session and it probably wasn't that great but it seemed totally awesome to a 6- or 7-year-old. Also this particular gem got many plays http://boardgamegeek.com/game/12030 . During the end of my elementary years is when I learned to play chess. I also played a little bit of DnD with my friend. But we only did like one campaign and we cheated a lot. Hey, it was fifth grade.

Middle school: Lots of chess. Not that I was a prodigy or read up on strategies or anything, I just liked to play a lot with my friends. Then started to play some Conquest of the Empire, then late in eighth grade I started playing Axis and Allies and Magic: The Gathering.

High school: Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k, Star Wars: CCG, Middle Earth CCG, Shadowrun RPG (we bought the book but never really played), Epid: Space Marine (bought it but never played it) Necromunda, Gorkamorka, Shadowrun CCG, Blood Bowl. I also had another group of guys that I played Axis and Allies with probably once a month all throughout high school.

College:
Not much of anything my freshman year. That first summer I went home, my buddy and I played the Pokemon CCG. Best CCG I've ever played. Then towards the end of college, one summer my friend and I played Axis and Allies about every other day. Then, after I met my wife and we'd been dating a while we went and visited my brother and his wife. My bro introduced us to Carcassone. My girlfriend (now wife) had to buy it when we got back from that trip. So it was Carcassone that really turned me to board gaming. Then we tried out other games like Bang and Robo Rally, but then it was the big daddy of them all, Descent that brought me to Ameritrash.

Now I'm done with school. Ameritrash games just really connect to my past of RPGs, miniatures games, CCGs and Axis and Allies with its themes and conflict. I also enjoy good family/puzzle games like Can't Stop, Ingenious, Qwirkle, etc. But I just haven't been that interested in heavy Euros like Puerto Rico, Caylus or Agricola and the like. If I'm going to play a meaty game then I want some player vs. player conflict and some sci-fi/fantasy/war themes.

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20 May 2008 09:42 #6780 by mikoyan
Hmmm....Probably one of my first games was chess. I played with my dad until I managed to beat him. then I didn't play for a long time until I played with one of my professors. But then I haven't really played since.

Then there was the summer of Monopoly and the summer of Risk. Played either Risk or D&D for a few summers in a row. Then I got Axis & Allies. Then I went to college where we played Risk quite a bit, then Axis and Allies and then a bunch of other games.

I'd have to say the game that led to a wider world of gaming for me was probably Axis and Allies. cool theme. Not bad playing. And Fun.

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20 May 2008 19:12 #6808 by Thaadd
Gary Sax wrote:

Thaadd wrote:

Now I play Descent once a week, random work games, Warhammer Fantasy RPG every other week, and try to get big games going every other weekend. Living la vida geeka....


Is Warhammer Fantasy RPG any good? Seems like a much, much more amenable setting to RPGing that 40K.


Well, I have played a whole *ONE* session so far (the DM is running 40k one week, Fantasy the next, switch off) - but it seems pretty fun. I like the character generation. I wish there were perhaps a few more races, but perhaps that will come :) The dice system is a bit backwards from what I am used to (*rolling equal to or UNDER a DC)

I rolled up a smuggler halfling, we've got a pirate ship set campaign (with a hook that the ship is one we are making payments. I'm the minority owner of it, another player character is the majority, and the rest of the players are hired on crew...)

Having a bit more fun than I should tormenting one of the players. Our art wrangler has a sweet young thing character (in all games. sigh. She would make a liche sweet and innocent) - the player wants her 16 year old human magic user to be all useful and helpful and I keep shutting the door in her face when we discuss pirate matters and making her swab decks. Ah, roleplaying, indulging the nastier parts of ones psyche... (well, for me in any case)

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