The Story of SodakLady or How I Found BGG
Posted by sodaklady on April 18, 2007
There are several Lists on BGG asking “How did you find BGG?” so I thought I’d write about my path to that wonderful site. Some people find these stories interesting; if you don’t, then just click to the next Blog on your list.
I’ve always enjoyed playing games, board games and card games alike. I grew up with the usual array of kid’s games: Sorry, Monopoly, Mouse Trap, the Pop-o-Matic games, and our favorite at the young age of 10 or so, Barbie Queen of the Prom. When I got a little older, I learned Euchre (I’m a native Illinoisan; what else would I play?) and Cribbage.
My first husband taught me Spades, Hearts and double deck Pinochle. After that, Euchre seemed kinda tame—no offense to those who love the game; it just didn’t seem very challenging after dealing with Pinochle. We didn’t play board games but being in the Air Force meant there was always someone around to play cards so I didn’t miss them.
My second husband taught me Risk. In fact, he taught me how to win at Risk. We played constantly for about a year while we were stationed in England. There was always a game going, left on the kitchen table in whatever state it was in when we got tired.
When my son was old enough (5 or 6?), we started buying games we could play with him, one of which was Can’t Stop. It just seemed a simple, fun family game then and now I find that it’s one of the favorite fillers of many gamers. That’s when it became a tradition to buy one game a year—the Christmas game.
There were some stinkers bought and quickly disposed of, most of them purged from my memory, thank goodness. One I do remember is Jumanji. What a disappointment! There were also some good ones like Screaming Eagles, which I still have. Another one, Quarto, is probably the real beginning of my journey to BGG.
I think it was 1998 when I bought Quarto out of a catalogue which contained games, dexterity puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and cute nick-knack items. This obviously put me on some mailing list for a lot of catalogues I didn’t need or want but one caught my eye: Turn Off Your TV. It was full of games I’d never heard of and got my heart racing just to read the useless blurbs and look at the beautiful boards and pieces. Some of the prices also got my heart racing!
From this large selection, I chose a game with a small price tag but a wonderful sounding theme. It was an exploration game, sending your expeditions to the Himalayas, the Brazilian rain forest, the desert, ancient volcanoes and to Neptune’s Realm. Cool! Of course, I’m talking about Lost Cities.
What a surprise for this newbie when I opened the tiny box—a big-ass set of cards and a pathetic excuse for a board that you don’t even put any tokens on. Even after reading the rules, I wasn’t very impressed. “Crap, another dud!” But I talked my husband into trying it and, of course, we were very surprised with how much game could be had from a simple set of cards. “Wow, there are some tough choices here!”
The next Christmas, I again looked through the Turn Off Your TV catalogue and found Tikal. I don’t know why I chose it but it turned out to be a bad choice, as you might guess. This was just too much game for us and I think we didn’t even finish the game the first time we tried it.
The next year, there was no catalogue; I think they went out of business. Back to the usual crap that one can find in the big box store. I don’t remember what I bought so you know it wasn’t a hit. In fact, we went through a couple more boring Christmases before I discovered the internet. Yes, I’m a late bloomer. Shut up.
When it was time to find “the Christmas game” for 2003, I went searching for Turn Off Your TV but what I found wasn’t a board game site. I don’t recall what it was now but I was very disappointed. What I did find was the Fun Again site. Ooooo, look at all the games! And people who have played them and commented on them. Thank you, thank you.
As you can guess, my browsing inevitably brought me to Board Game Geek time and time again. Between the comments on Fun Again and all the information on BGG, the game for that year turned out to be Puerto Rico. I was so anxious to try it out, we didn’t even wait for Christmas. Richard, Cori and I tried it out right away and hey!, they liked it! They even asked to play it again. It was an amazing revelation which sent me back to the internet looking for more; give me more!
By Christmas day, I had bought a total of EIGHT games: Puerto Rico, Age of Steam, La Citta, Stephenson’s Rocket, Domaine, Scarab Lords, Castle and Mystery Rummy: Jekyll & Hyde. It has become known as The Year Of The Games. My husband couldn’t quite grasp what had come over me and wondered if we didn’t have enough games now. How could I explain that I’d been bitten by the gamer bug; I was addicted?
My husband’s a great guy and after three and a half years (and over a 150 games bought), he’s learned to accept my addiction. After all, he has one of his own—old Yamaha motorcycles—which I don’t understand any better than he understands mine.
Now, as an added bonus for those who have read this far: an explanation of my user name on BGG. It is not soda k lady, nor soda klady; it is sodak lady. The nicknames for the Dakotas around here are No. Dak. And So. Dak.
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