A few months back, I saw a couple of posts on friends blogs that got me thinking. They posted the top ten games that had formed the base of their hobbies and had taken them to where they are today. It’s an interesting exercise and took me down memory lane, the more I thought about it. I decided to do something similar but with a slight change.
Below are the top 5 games from my childhood (those that were responsible for pulling me into the hobbies I have today), followed by the top 5 games I still enjoy today (those that inevitably break out whenever I get together with friends and family).
Top 5 Games from my Childhood:
#1: MERP – Middle Earth Role Playing. A friend of the family who went to boarding school introduced me and a couple of others to this when we were about 10 years old and we would play on School Holidays when he was home. My brother and I, then introduced a number of other friends and before we knew it, we were playing in all our spare time all the way through our teens. In a nutshell, I guess you would describe it as Dungeons and Dragons in Tolkiens Middle Earth though from what little DnD I have played in my life, this felt much more “believable” and “realistic” if I can use those terms.
#2: Space Crusade – This was early 40K. It was a board game that was put out by Milton Bradley and I literally spent years playing this with my brother, father and friends. I bought the expansions for it and it started me buying the very first White Dwarf’s and then dabbling in other Games Workshop games for the next 20 years. When I couldn’t find people to play with, I would design campaigns and run missions through battle ships and space stations against multitudes of Orks, Chaos Marines and Androids (Necrons).
#3 Necromunda – After getting hooked on Space Crusade, a games store opened in our town briefly (quite surprising for such a small town in New Zealand) and even though it didn’t survive long it gave my Brother and I time to pick up Necromunda, some gangs and hired personalities. This was a 40K skirmish game for about 6 to 12 models per side with campaign rules and light RPG element. I really enjoyed this game and it was my first attempt at painting models (my Mum and Dad visited us here in the States last Christmas and after finding a couple of gangs in their garage brought them over as a “surprise” – I’m guessing more to continue to empty junk that they don’t want). I may post a pic of them on here later.
#4 Hero Quest – Another early Games Workshop game that came out by Milton Bradley. This was a dungeon crawl game based in the Warhammer Fantasy world and was a lot of fun. My Brother and I bought all the expansions and designed a lot of our own campaigns for it.
#5 Risk – The first game to start my obsession with moving armies of men around boards and strategy games in general. I played many versions of this game through the years and in some crazy places (huddled in a hut at the South Pole and under a canvas in the jungle while on Military deployment are just two that come to mind). A great game for kids to learn the beginnings of strategy and curse the luck of fickle dice Gods!
Top 5 Games that I still enjoy today:
# 1 Battle Cry – A Civil War game of strategy for 2 players. It involves cards, dice and miniatures in a way that no mission plays the same way twice. I also own and play Memoir 44 (WW II version which uses the same format), however I find Battle Cry to be quicker to set up, less complicated and more fun – in fact, it’s a slow night at work tonight and I just taught and played two games with a work colleague a little earlier ; ) .
#2 Bang – A card game for between 4 and 12 people (rules say 8 but I have expanded it to include up to 12 at times). This is the most fun you can have at a party with a few beers and some good friends and often breaks out in our house when people are over. This is a back stabbing mystery game with light RPG elements that even my friends who laugh and look down on my geekdom love. Characters identities are hidden from each other and you are entered into a shoot out while you try to figure out who everyone is.
Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game – I got into this two or three years ago and met a group of great guys (and girls) in Denver who played every week. I painted a couple of armies (Corsairs and Isengard which I will post pics of later) and had a great time. Unfortunately, with the new Hobbit Rules (I find them to be unnecessarily complicated) and the recently disgusting prices for which Games Workshop has been releasing miniatures combined with similar feelings from our group – this game looks set to join the grave yard of great games that GW has put out and destroyed through poor management.
#4 Blood Bowl Team Manager – A great card game based on yet another GW old favourite. I always wanted to play the board game and although I have played all the computer games through the years (including the mid 90’s PC game), I never got the chance. This is a fun card version for 2-4 players which sees you manage a team through a season.
#5 Settlers of Catan – I have many different versions of this game (board game, dice game, card game) and all of them are fun for an evening with a few drinks and friends who aren’t into the “geekier” games I like. A game of trading and building which always gets the competitive side of people out while trying to swap a flock of sheep for a load of wheat so they can finish that village they’ve been working on!