Since August of 2004, I have been a member of BoardGameGeek. I discovered the website through another gaming site, Gamers with Jobs. While the latter deals almost exclusively with adults who play video games in their spare time, the former is the Holy Land of Board Games. Populated by a global community of gaming aficionados, the Holy Grail content of BoardGameGeek (BGG) is its vast database of every board game ever created. Nearly every piece of information in that database is submitted by the members of the community, either through reviews of games, session reports, or photographs of the games and people playing them. I constantly send folks to the site whenever they want to know about a game, it’s that good!
In 2006, BGG started a Secret Santa gift exchange. Robin and I were living in a family housing duplex on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. We didn’t have much money, but we made sure to set aside a tidy sum for the exchange and participated in the event. That year, I received War of the Ring: Battles of the Third Age and Tempus, while Robin received Marvel Heroes. The War of the Ring expansion never made it to the table, and I have a fleeting memory of playing Tempus–a check on my “Games Played” statistics at BGG turns up squat. I can tell you that neither game is still in our collection. However, even though it was much-maligned for being too abstract and gamey, Marvel Heroes is one of our favorites! Comic book fans wanted a game that played like a story, and while the mechanic is in place for such the game really shines as a foray into team and card-hand management.
Skip ahead to 2010 when I participated in the Secret Santa Wargame Exchange. I received a very generous gift of EastFront II. A massive, fog-of-war block wargame by Columbia Games, I have stickered the blocks, read the rules, but have never played the game. It sits proudly on the shelf next to our other block wargames, someday to be played when we own a house big enough to leave the game set out for an extended period.
The BGG Secret Santa 2012 exchange was announced about two-three months ago, maybe earlier. Targets were assigned around the first week of November. My particular target has 68 games on their wishlist! So many games to choose from, almost too many! I’ve narrowed the list somewhat, and will be shipping off the games soon. Robin has her own target, as well.
Yesterday, my Secret Santa gifts arrived! I must have been a very, very good boy! FedEx dropped off a box weighing in at 10 lbs., a box which was quickly opened to reveal three games therein, including Merchant of Venus (2nd ed.), Summoner Wars, and D-Day Dice. I cannot wait to play them, either. I know that Merchant of Venus will be great, as I had the first edition and loved it, as did Robin. Furthermore, Summoner Wars looks like a wonderful addition to our ever-growing Living Card Game (LCG) collection. Finally, as we’ve only just begun playing games that utilize dice as pieces/mechanics, and coupled with its World War II theme, D-Day Dice looks very promising.
So, another year of gift giving has begun. Looks to be a good one for board games, too! Here’s to you, Santa!