Like most Americans who eventually discovered how fun and blissfully geeky boardgames can be, I grew up occasionally playing the mass market standards: Monopoly, Clue, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Risk, etc.

About 3 years ago, I was working in a job I didn’t much like. My wife and I had moved far from all of our friends and family. The town was Helena, Montana… it was colder and quieter than we were used to, being from the active and highly populated Northern Virginia. Fortunately, I liked a few of my co-workers.

One of them pulled out a game called Masterpiece: The Art Auction Game at a weekend mixer. I barely remember the game now, but I really enjoyed it. Most importantly, it planted a seed in my mind that there was a whole unexplored world of games out there.

Fast forward a few months… I had been at that job for almost a year, and I was finally fed up with the tedium of it all; it wasn’t a good fit for my interests. I took a job with a company that really has an innovative and exciting culture. Besides people who were incredibly enthusiastic to do their job, there were dogs at work, beer kegs for after work parties, a ping-pong table, and… there were board games.

One of my coworkers had Settlers of Catan on his desk. I hadn’t heard of it, so I asked him about it. He said it was a “euro-game” and that he and some coworkers played pretty often. He also invited me to join them that week. It was a lot of fun, and I became a permanent fixture at their Settler’s nights.

Eventually expansions made their way into the picture… we enjoyed them at first, but eventually they killed the game for us, and the group sort of evaporated for a while.

Now I had an itch, and no way to scratch it. So I started to obsessively scour the internet for information on board games. That’s when I discovered “The Geek”. I started reading reviews, listening to The Dice Tower podcasts, and watching Tom Vassel’s videos.

I ordered a few games: Citadel’s, Incan Gold, and Pandemic. My wife really liked Citadel’s, so I promptly ordered a few more games while I had the go ahead: Race for the Galaxy, and Cash ‘n Guns.

Around this time, I was talking to a co-worker and friend, and convinced him that it would be a good idea to start up a regular gaming group. He ordered a couple of great games and set up a mailing list. The list now has over 20 people, but between 3 and 8 people show up every week for our game night.

I still enjoy some of those mass market games every once in a while with non-gaming friends. Mostly those who are not convinced learning games they’ve never heard of is worth their time. But I would say I am at the beginning of a long “career” as a gamer.

Thanks for reading, and good gaming!

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01 June 2012