So, I’ve signed myself up for the Reddit Secret Santa gift swap again this year (even though I was mightily stood up last year by my Secret Santa AND my Re-matched Secret Santa… and because I have found it is so much fun sending presents to strangers, I have signed up for the BoardGame Geek Secret Santa too!
Today, my BoardGame Geek Secret Santa sent me a message… seems I have some hoops to jump through before Christmas.
Thank you for sharing some information about yourself on your profile page. It was most helpful, particularly the bit about Australian retailers. If left up to our own devices, it would take quite a long time to travel across the world to Australia and I do not want you waiting for Christmas cheer.
Before I ship off your gifts, (yes I said gifts!!), I ask that you become a little more involved here in the BGG Community. They truly are a wonderful group of people! If you could create a Geeklist detailing your personal foray/history into the boardgaming hobby and culminating into finding BGG and whatnot, that would make Santa very happy indeed.
I promise to be in touch shortly!
So, first things first… what’s a GeekList? And second things second… how do I make one? Time to call in the expert – Big Sal to the rescue. She came over this afternoon and showed me what they were, where they were on the (incredibly counter-intuitive and convoluted) website and gave me some advice on what to put in the GeekList. I have just finished writing it and I’m guessing that poor old Secret Santa is probably going regret asking me to write something… it’s a bit long winded – as is my usual habit! :S
“Not so long ago, my sister, BigSal, convinced me that I should join a community of BoardGame Geeks. It seemed like a grand idea, because once she showed me the site I could see there was lots of fantastic information here. When Secret Santa time came around, she convinced me to sign up too. Because I have participated in Reddit Gift exchanges in the past, it didn’t take much to convince me. Sending presents to strangers is awesome fun! 🙂 So, here we are, Santa has asked me to make a GeekList about how I ended up playing boardgames, someone probably should have warned him that brevity is not one of my more prevalent virtues! 😀
… ahem …
Once upon a time, when I was just a wee little girl, the first games I remember playing were card games that I used to play with my Grandma. Grandma was one helluva card player – she played Euchre and Bridge with a bunch of other wily old ladies at least a couple of times a week. and you’d have thought that she’d go easy on her granddaughters, letting them win one here and there… but not my Grandma! If she was in, she was in it to win it.
She taught us to play Canasta… ‘A quick game’s a good game, girls!’
She taught us to play 500… ‘Every little piggy’s got a heart!’
She taught us to play Cribbage… ‘That’s 15/2. 15/4. 15/6 and one for his hat!’
She used to beat us mercilessly, and I swear the dear old duck could count cards – she always knew when we were reneging, ‘I know one of you girls has the six of diamonds left, you have to follow suit you know. Those are the rules!’ We couldn’t pull the wool over Grandma’s eyes, no matter how hard we tried.
Other than cards, most of the games we played as a kid were fairly solid late 70s and early 80s staples…
UNO: My family used to camp a LOT when I was a kid and I don’t just mean a week away here, or a week away there. When we went camping, my parents would pull us out of school and we would pack up the 4WD, the tent and head Outback to some unheard of destination on a well planned three month holiday where we spent our days exploring National Parks and climbing mountains and our nights around the campfire. On days when it rained, my Mum would pull out the Uno which was easy enough for even my 6 year old sister to play, and we’d play for hours, laughing and ganging up on my Dad. To this very day, playing Uno reminds me of the smell of wet canvas. 🙂
SCRABBLE: My other favourite board game as a kid was Scrabble. I’ve always been in love with words and language – oddly for an Aussie, I actually used my dictionaries for something other than squashing spiders, and would frequently read them… for fun! I loved learning big words and clever, high scoring little words. But I remember getting frustrated when I pulled crap letters out of the Scrabble bag and so I used to roll the bag around until I thought I glimpsed better letters to pull out. I always wanted the x, J, Q, Z and harder letters for higher scores. Sometimes when I was bored, I would cheat by taking letters off the board and swapping them with letters from my tray when my sisters were busy studying their trays. Strangely no one ever noticed when a word changed from ‘wander’ to ‘wanter’! Nowadays, I’d never cheat at Scrabble, but I still can’t get people to play with me because people have been calling me a walking dictionary since I was a teenager. (I love Words With Friends if anyone wants to play – search for me: borysSNORC)
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The next main board game that had a significant impact on my formative years would have to be Trivial Pursuit – the original version, of course. I used to love that game! We played it a lot when I was a teenager. I always used to pick the Green (Science) and Blue (Geography) questions… and I always struggled to win the Orange (Sports) slice of pie. Unless I got a random question about darts, snooker or horse racing, I could never win the Orange piece of pie. It would frustrate me to no end. Actually, we pulled out the original Trivial Pursuit game not so long ago and tried to play it… I did much better with the History and Literature questions than I used to do but it was weird how many of the questions were no longer relevant any more – and none of us could answer them. Equally weird was how fast I could still move the pieces around the board in rapid 3s and 5s to keep the players landing on the ‘Roll Again’ spots. 😛
PICTIONARY: Another favourite game we used to play a great deal was Pictionary. I don’t know who invented Pictionary but I’d be very interested to find out just how many relationship spats they are responsible for! We had (still have!) a rule around here – no playing Pictionary with your spouse/partner. For some reason, the menfolk of our acquaintance simply can’t draw to save themselves (perhaps because many of them are fantastic IT geeks rather than artists!) and this has led to many occasions where a couple find themselves getting so frustrated with one another that a huge row will ensue about the state of each others drawings. We also have another rule around here – I am not allow to team up with my sister Salaberge… she and I draw too well and always wipe the floor with our opponents! So to keep things fair, we don’t play together anymore. 😀
ARTICULATE: Now that ‘no pairing up with Salaberge’ rule, goes double for Articulate! We are similar in age and have had sooo many shared experiences that once we start playing Articulate, the clues are often so obscure, and so full of in jokes, that no one else can understand how we can possibly convey the answers! For example, I remember one time we were playing and I had to describe to her the people: ‘Rogers and Hammerstein’. Some people might have launched into a list of their musicals. I didn’t. These were the clues she got: ‘First name, “Slow down I’m frightened!”. Second name, ‘You hit a nail with it and you drink beer in Germany from this!”.’ My sister Salaberge was on it in a heartbeat and yelled out ‘Rogers and Hammerstein!’ so quickly it left our opponents literally throwing in the cards and refusing to play any further… and left me explaining a story about our mutual friend BluddyMary had a driving instructor that told her to say that to speeding boyfriends some twenty years earlier! Yeah… I wouldn’t play against us either. 😛
CARCASSONNE: In more recent years we have taken to playing more strategy type games… I have Carcassonne and love to play it with my brother in law who has actually been to Carcassonne and loves the region. Carcassonne is one of those games that we *have* to play with plenty of red wine in stock. We like to sit in comfy chairs, drink some nice shiraz from the Hunter Valley paired with an elaborately made up cheese board and settle in for a night of games with good friends. We also love games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, and a whole host of other games that my friends have. One game I have to say, I absolutely abhor is Ankh Morpork. ‘Tis quite the worst* game I have ever endeavoured to play in my entire life (*perhaps a slight exaggeration, but nothing else comes to mind!). You have to have the conditions to win met at the BEGINNING of your turn, so the one and only time I played it I had won and lost it four times over dragging out the inevitable victory until I had no satisfaction in winning it at all. It is very tedious indeed! Never again!
CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY: OMG… Have played this a few times, and with the right friends and the right amount of alcohol and you find yourself in a card game version of American Pie – it is so absurd and so absolutely lacking in decorum, good taste or sensibility and yet you find yourself laughing so hard that your sides ache and your cheeks are sore. Your quiet and respectable friends are suddenly surprising you with the levels of depravity that are coming out of their imaginations. Your louder and more gregarious friends are absolutely excelling themselves at providing the most groan-worthy and appalling juxtapositions of concepts that you’re not sure you can survive another hand. Your best friend who you have known for a lifetime comes out with some of the most rude, and deliberately insensitive combinations that you find yourself thinking, ‘Who are these people!?’ And before you know it, you’re working hard to try and top them in the depravity stakes… it’s like you suddenly found yourself on the bad side of the internet – and for some reason, instead of running screaming from the room, you find it hilarious. You’ll laugh until you cry, and then you’ll feel guilty at having found amusement in such abhorrent phenomena!
Today I came home from holidays and found a present under the tree (well, in a DHL shipping box, but you get the idea) from BoardGame Geek’s Secret Santa… and I received these!
BigSal assures me this is an awesome fun game and no doubt we will get to give it a go over the holidays at some point. I had a lot of fun sending stuff to my secret santa who was in the US. As well, as stuff I sent to my Reddit secret santa who was in Germany. So much fun sending presents to people all over the world. Get amongst it. 🙂