My earliest memories of board gaming go back to playing Monopoly with my brother and sister on Saturday mornings. I can recall a few heated games or two from those days. But I soon tired of Monopoly, Candyland, Sorry, Clue, etc. type games and had a couple friends who got interested in chess. We would play chess all the time in high school. During lunches, study halls, assemblies or whenever we could get a chance. The three of us were pretty equal after a while and most games would go back and forth and the winner was always a toss up. After high school we all went different ways and I went down to the University of Illinois for college.
In collge I started playing alot of backgammon with a roommate. We had a few marathon sessions at times and kept tallies of who was winning the most games. I also had friends who I would play hearts, spades, cribbage, euchre and other standard card games. We went through a phase of spoons, scum and a few others that we all seemed to enjoy. Shortly out of college I was introduced to a few other card games that I hadn't played before; Phase 10, Milles Bourne, and Rook. Alot of the standard type of games you will find at toy stores. After getting married my wife and I would play 500 Rummy, Mille Bourne or Phase 10 ocassionally. We have another couple we know who love to play games and we would play Phase 10, Rack-O, Euchre, etc. with them. But it wasn't until August of 2000 when an old roommate and his wife visited my wife and I where we played a game of Settlers of Catan. It was at that time when my additiction/obsession really set in...
After playing Settlers for the first time I was amazed at how well the game played and how enjoyable it was. I was not familiar with the game before playing, or any of the German gaming industry for that matter. My wife enjoyed it enough that she wanted a copy (I had no problem with that!). I started looking online for the game and soon found the Funagain web site. I was amazed at how many games were out there that I had never heard of before. I started looking into all of the Spiel des Jahres winners and alot of the other popular games at Funagain. I soon bought a copy of Settlers along with Torres, Lost Cities, Verrater, and Rage. After we bought the games the favorite thing for my wife and I to do was invite other couples over for dinner and play a game of Settlers. Every group we had over had a great time playing and many of them ended up purchasing copies themselves. We soon ordered Bohnanza and now have alot of our friends addicted to "the bean game", as its more affectionately known in our group. I soon came across a gaming group in my own area, Chambana Board Gamers (now defunct) and one of the members even worked at the same place I did! I got to know Justin Berman and Brian Keenan from the Chambana Board Gamers and started playing games with them.
With many of our friends interested in playing these games we decided to start having a monthly game night. With the help of Justin and Brian (who had lots of games to bring) we started The Barlow Board Game Bash. I have continually been trying out new games and buying games, lots of games (too many games). You can take a look at the games I own here.
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