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Donner
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My family moved to Albuquerque when I was in 3rd Grade.  They knew some people here from long ago and we went to visit them on a Friday night.  Apparently, every Friday night these friends played D&D or other games.  And so began my indoctrination into gaming.


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PlatinumWarlock wrote:

Ha!  I got the new question....now to write one!How did you get into gaming in the first place?  What was your first tabletop game and how old were you when you played it?

I played Decipher's Star Trek CCG all through high school, since MtG was forbidden in my house. My senior year, I discovered the newly-released d20 Star Wars RPG. It was pulling teeth, getting players, but we managed it. In college, roleplaying really took off. Mostly RIFTS, but we tossed a few other things in there from time to time (d20 Modern and Exalted were the biggest repeat games), and Munchkin at the coffee shop (can you believe there were no expansions for it yet??). After college, I tried to keep roleplaying where I moved, but it was a rough time in my life and I didn't really have the wherewithal to find new players and run games. Cue a few years of gaming break. Then I moved again and began to find geeky friends. We played Magic every week, and it snowballed from there. The first "designer game" I bought for myself was SmallWorld, and I haven't stopped since, up to a collection of 250 games. Oh, and working for a tabletop gaming publisher.


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Man I don't even know that. I've just been gaming since I was so young I can't even remember not.

I guess the first game/toy I remember playing was a drag racing game where you set up the cars at the top of the 'hill' and then sent a marble up another track, like pinball, and the first one to get all their cars to the bottom of the tracks won. I can't remember the name of the game for the life of me.

 

The first "game" game that I owned* that really required a lot of thought (not roll and follow instructions) was probably Doctor Who: The Game of Time and Space. That was a fun game with all sorts of weird interactions with the many, many items and enemies you could face off against. It was a Games Workshop game (with no minis!) and it was glorious!

 

*that is, not my parents' copy. I guess the first "game" game I ever played was Escape from Colditz, I "inherited" that when they sold the house, still got it too.


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Got Pools of Radiance for the Apple II C+ when I was...11?  Was trying to understand it better, so picked up the AD&D player's handbook for 2nd edition.  Got hooked on collecting D&D stuff for years even if I wasn't actually playing.  These days I much prefer games that can be played in an hour or so with a sense of accomplishment, so that I can either play several of those (potentially different ones) in an afternoon or just knock something out in limited time.

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It's been so long; I can hardly remember. I know there was a lot of Yahtzee and Monopoly growing up. At some point in the early '90s, I remember trying to combine HeroQuest, a chess set, and a random D&D book that I found at a garage sale (I had no idea what was going on, but I'm sure it was an excellent game). I spent most of high school playing lots of bridge and spades (I really like card games). Many years later, a friend recommended checking out Pandemic; one thing led to another and I've been a horrible monster ever since.

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I played Hero Quest as a kid with my friends. That was an awesome game.


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Nielzabub wrote:

I played Hero Quest as a kid with my friends. That was an awesome game.

I was one of those friends, and it definitely was.

I played a lot of board games as a kid (Clue, Monopoly, Yahtzee, etc.) and later got into video games after playing Sega Genesis with a childhood friend and watching my cousins play N64 when I went to family events at my grandparents'.  I didn't do much in the way of board games, but Nielzabub eventually invited me to play HeroQuest after we connected through talking about video game RPGs while we played soccer (or football, rather) together in junior high.  From there I played various D20, BESM, and White Wolf RPGs with him and some of our other friends and dabbled in Munchkin and Warhammer 40k.  I got Sentinels as a Christmas present and after that I hit the ground running with board games.  I now own a number of Seiji Kanai games, Hanabi, Super Munchkin, Fluxx, Pixel Lincoln, GSF, SotM, Sentinels Tactics, War/Devastation of Indines, and many others.  I've even playtested outside of Greater Than Games with Level 99!

To make a long story short I transitioned from video games with my family to RPGs with Niel to board games in general with Sentinels!


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Matchstickman wrote:

a drag racing game where you set up the cars at the top of the 'hill' and then sent a marble up another track, like pinball

It's called Dragster.

Probably like most people I played mainstream boardgames (Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, and card games like Rummy and Whist) as a kid with my family. Probably also like most people that tailed off and stopped as I got older (and my brother got older).

I always had a healthy interest in the fantasy genre and loved the TV show Knightmare, later discovered sci-fi and later still discovered pubs and boys and am dram.

But at 17 my friend Lauren started dating a guy called Dave who attended a games club on Friday nights and persuaded me to go along to keep her company. I planned to go once and then tell her it wasn't for me and never go again, but as it turned out she was the once who dropped it, not me. The people there were fun, my first RPG (a diceless version of Nightlife) was a good time, pubs happened after gaming, and I made a whole lot of new geeky friends. They introduced me to LARP, which I also loved.

I'm still attending, 18 years later. Lauren's married to a different Dave and hasn't played anything for years.

With knowing a lot of gamers, I naturally played some board games. I remember thing like Diplomacy, Axis and Allies, Battletech, Car Wars, Talisman, Munchkin, and some card game about a food fight. The games club has always owned a few board games bought with any subs money left over after paying for the venue, but somehow there came a point where I realised that I want to play LOTS more boardgames and started researching what would be a good fit for us.

(Of course, by virtue of living with the club organiser and being the club's board game expert and having room to store them, the hundred or so games we collectively own are rubbing shoulders with our smaller personal collection on my shelves. It's like having a games library that I didn't pay for, but can play whenever I want (or more accurately, whenever I can persuade people to play with me)).

And Sentinels happened.


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Silverleaf wrote:
It's called Dragster.

That is it! Did you play it too? Or did you do internet google wizardry?


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Was home alone oat as a kid, so I spent a lot of time making games out of my toys, sports with my gi joes and taking old games that were no longer complete and making them work in New ways.  A game called Richtenhoff's War started my real descent, led to ghetto rigged Battletech, and that world+game made me an RPG player.

One of my favorite things about SotM is the ready opportunity for fan creation, I love designing systems and characters, and exploring the setting of games, and this game is rich in both.  Tactics too.

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Matchstickman wrote:

Silverleaf wrote:

It's called Dragster.

That is it! Did you play it too? Or did you do internet google wizardry?

Yes and yes.

I've also seen designer Tony Boydell (Snowdonia, Ivor the Engine) post about playing it with his son recently so it was kind of in my mind already.

Had to Google the name, but "dragster game" bought it up pretty quickly. I remember enjoying it a lot as a kid but I don't think I owned it, so possibly one of my cousins did.


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Silverleaf wrote:

Probably like most people I played mainstream boardgames (Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, and card games like Rummy and Whist) as a kid with my family.

It baffles me when I meet people who "don't like to play games." There are games for everyone!

I played my first hobby-ish game in junior high, and it was an excellent introduction to this whole world. One of my teachers was an old grognard who had known Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. He sculpted minis and wrote rulebooks (Check out "Quactica" for an example of his work), and one Friday he set up an after-school minis game for those of us that were interested, using a system of his own devising called "Scurvey Dawrgs." After playing as Long John Silver and leading my crew in attempting to capture the giant ruby from the cannibal tribe, while simultaneously fending off other interested pirate crews, I was completely hooked.

I played skirmish miniature games for a while, dabbled in Warhammer Fantasy, and started running RPG campaigns in college, since I couldn't get anyone else to GM (well, anyone that was any good). I'm still stuck as GM most of the time. A few years back, I played Sentinels at a tiny local con. And now I'm here.


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Older brothers played war games (Diplomacy, Risk, Kingmaker,3rd Reich, Russian Campaign, etc.) and D&D. I think they started letting me play some time around 2nd or 3rd grade.

 

I distinctly recall being about that age when my brothers had set up a seven-person Diplomacy game with their friends, but someone had dropped out, so they wanted me to play. At the same time, though, my older sister invited me to play with her and her friends. I have no recollection of what, but I'm sure it was some sort of very girly thing.

 

Even so, I chose to play with my sister, despite having begged and begged to play with my brothers previously, and they chided me for it for quite a while, but it's their own fault. I saw what they really thought of me: The country they'd offered to let me play was Austria.


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Earliest games I ever played...well, there were probably a couple on the Dragon, a computer we had that I can barely remember (apparently there was one before that called the TRS-80, but I don't remember that at all), later followed by the Atari (late '80s) which I do remember, and played many many games on, and in fact still have in my room although I haven't done anything with it for several years. Since I now have the Atari emulator STEEM on my computer that's probably not likely to change either, since I can instantly download pretty much any Atari game I want, whenever I want :D. When it comes to computer games I tend to like Fantasy-based RPGs (preferably first-person, because immersion), and also like some puzzle games (anyone else who likes them and hasn't yet played the Portal games, omg what are you waiting for?) and stuff.

Board game-wise I played mostly stuff like Monopoly, Cluedo, Scrabble, Careers, erm...what else did we play a lot...oh yeah, I also had (and still have, in my cupboard) the board games of the Crystal Maze (which I loved watching on telly), Knightmare (which I also loved watching on telly...and was a member of the fan club for a while, I recall), and a pirate-based one called Skull and Crossbones which came with a video but we only used that a couple of times and generally played without it.

When it comes to tabletop RPGs I'd heard of them for years...well, I'd mainly only heard of DnD, and played variants of it on the computer in the form of Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and later Neverwinter Nights...but didn't get round to playing any till...hmm, I think it was probably late 2008 but I can't remember for sure. One of the forums I'm a member of (in fact, the one I've been a member of the longest, since March 2003) is dedicated to an RPG that came out in 1987 on the Atari and Amiga, called Dungeon Master. So it's the Dungeon Master forum. And a new member joined and made a post about how they'd had some experience at being a Dungeon Master and asking for advice on running games or something like that - they'd mistaken the DM in the forum's title for the other kind of DM, so some forum members posted to say hi and to point out the mistake but to say they were free to stick around and talk games with us anyway (this has happened a few more times in the past few years). That person never came back but the thread spawned a discussion amongst the rest of us about tabletop games and how I'd never played 'em 'cause I didn't know of anyone in my area who played. Ended up with someone linking a page they'd found which searches for gaming clubs in the UK, and from there I found one that was a couple of miles away and met two nights a week in the evenings, so I started going to that.

That was where I first played DnD, but was alos introduced to a bunch of other tabletop games, including all four Warhammer 40k RPGs (Dark Heresy, then Rogue Trader, then some time later Deathwatch came out, and finally Black Crusade), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (aka WFRP), Nobilis, World of Darkness,Traveller, Legend of the Five Rings, the Deadlands setting of Savage Worlds, and a bunch of others I've forgotten. Some people sometimes brought in card games and I can remember being introduced to Braggart, Ascension, and Chrononauts there, all three of which Ja'Ph' ended up getting for us to play (I'd told him about them as he wasn't there, in fact we may not have even been together quite yet) a few months or so later.

And Sentinels - someone at that club brought Sentinels, the original edition (pre-Enhanced), and Rook City, which was all that was available at that time. I found it fun, played the Wraith every time (because I thought her name was cool and I tend to like sneaky, Rogue-looking characters...so basically made my decision based on looking at her character card), and then the guy said that if anyone wanted to get it we should wait because they were gonna release an updated version in October, or something. So some months later (I think I'd stopped going to the club by this point) I remembered this and at some point I looked online (on a website called Games Lore, which sells RPG stuff) and found that not only was the Enhanced Edition of Sentinels out, but that there was another expansion in addition to the Rook City one I'd already seen, this one called Infernal Relics. Rook City was out of stock but I ordered the rest, getting Rook City when it came into stock about a month or so later. And we played Sentinels every weekend, multiple times, for well over a year. And at some point joined the forum, and hello :D.


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Nielzabub wrote:

I played Hero Quest as a kid with my friends. That was an awesome game.

Oh, man...HeroQuest!  I still have my set, sort of--the minis have been co-opted for so many other rpgs and minis games.  But, I still have everything!

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Do you have the two expansions?


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I do not, unfortunately--just the base game. 

But, even as minis for other games, my copy of HQ has seen a lot of milage!

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You can probably find the maps for those online. The expansions are Kellar's Keep and Return of the Witch King. The expansions came with extra models, and so if you decide to play those maps, you'll need to either buy more models or use proxies.


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Next question: What is your favorite and least favorite board game mechanic?


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Favorite: Variable Player Powers. Co-op or competitve, it doesn't matter. Anything that means you have to gear a strategy towards what you are playing rather than a generic strategy for everybody. [TI3, SotM, Netrunner, Ogre, Myth]

Least favorite: Player Elimination, no question.

But that's low-hanging fruit, so:

Second-least favorite: Commodity Speculation [Merchant of Venice, Navegador, Glen More, Archipelago]


...yeah, me too.

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Favourite: Co-Op Games. Followed by Player Characters with Special Skills (rather than just being 'Green' or 'Yellow') and by Narrated Encounters, like you get in 'Tales of the Arabian Nights' or to a lesser extent, 'Arkham Horror' (I play RPGs, so I guess that's why). I also rather like Traitor Mechanisms, but not in every game obviously, and only when they are really well designed ('Battlestar Galactica'- yes, 'Shadows over Camelot'- less so)

Least Favourite: Diplomatic Negotiations, Pacts, Treaties etc. - the short-lived kind which is always really far open to interpretation that you make in Diplomacy, Machiavelli or even Game of Thrones. You know, you and another player make a pact to attack a third player next turn, but when you move your troops in, you notice that your 'ally' is moving a sizable portion of his troops towards your now-weakened borders. I know, that's how you win the game and totally within the spirit of things, but I just can't bring myself to do stuff like that, especially not to my mates. I prefer the treaty mechanism that 'Twilight Imperium: Rex' uses (or Dune), where it is clear when you can make a treaty, when you can break it and what either party gets out of it. 

I majorly used to hate Auctions in games, by the way, but I got over that. Now I feel a bit meh about haggeling, but it's no dealbreaker for me.  

And I agree, Player Elimination is terrible.


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Favorite:  Player Cooperation.  My three favorite games, all-time, are SotM, Arkham Horror, and Dead of Winter.  It might be the rpg-er in me, but I love working together towards a common goal, particularly when the game smacks you around, but you can still come around for a win.  Ghost Stories is another great one, as is Pittsburgh 68 (but I'm biased on the last one; I edited it).

2nd Favorite:  Unique player/character powers.  Again, it's the rpg-er in me, but I want my player to be different than yours.  Games that feature individual player powers really do it for me.

 

Least Favorite:  Lack of player interaction.  I hate games where what I do in the game has no bearing on anyone else, or our interactions are passive at best.  Most Eurogames have this as a hallmark, particularly worker placeent games, so I tend to avoid them like the plague.  Settlers of Catan, Lords of Waterdeep, Galaxy Trucker...yeah, keep those away from me.

2nd Least Favorite:  "Stock Markets" in games.  I find the stock market droll in real life; why would I want to play a simulation of it?

 

And, for the record, I actually don't mind player elimination.  Ca$h and Gun$ is a fantastic game that features player elimination, as is Cutthroat Caverns.  I much more deeply loathe the sorts of games where you're "effectively eliminated", such that you have 1-2 units left, but you can't actually leave, because it messes up the game dynamic for the remaining players.  Sitting there, unable to affect the board or play competitively, makes me angrier than being eliminated entirely.

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PlatinumWarlock wrote:

Least Favorite:  Lack of player interaction.  I hate games where what I do in the game has no bearing on anyone else, or our interactions are passive at best.  Most Eurogames have this as a hallmark, particularly worker placeent games, so I tend to avoid them like the plague.  Settlers of Catan, Lords of Waterdeep, Galaxy Trucker...yeah, keep those away from me.

I completely agree with your point here; playing four separate games of solitaire isn't much fun. But Settlers of Catan isn't really the best example of that trope; there's plenty of interaction between the players. The Firefly boardgame, as much as it pains me to admit it, is a much worse offender (apart from the PvP elements of one of the expansions).

PlatinumWarlock wrote:

I much more deeply loathe the sorts of games where you're "effectively eliminated", such that you have 1-2 units left, but you can't actually leave, because it messes up the game dynamic for the remaining players.  Sitting there, unable to affect the board or play competitively, makes me angrier than being eliminated entirely.

This is why I developed a deep and abiding loathing for Risk.

As for me...

Favorite: In-game storytelling. Losing because you drew the wrong card isn't much fun. Losing because your underpaid workers sabotaged your nuclear plant, causing radioactive mutants to overrun your town, is pretty fun.

Least Favorite: Slow turns. If I can make and eat a sandwich in the time it takes for my turn to come around again, you've pretty much lost me. Especially if there's no reason to pay attention during other players' turns.


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PlatinumWarlock
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metlarcturus wrote:

 

PlatinumWarlock wrote:
Least Favorite:  Lack of player interaction.  I hate games where what I do in the game has no bearing on anyone else, or our interactions are passive at best.  Most Eurogames have this as a hallmark, particularly worker placeent games, so I tend to avoid them like the plague.  Settlers of Catan, Lords of Waterdeep, Galaxy Trucker...yeah, keep those away from me.

 

I completely agree with your point here; playing four separate games of solitaire isn't much fun. But Settlers of Catan isn't really the best example of that trope; there's plenty of interaction between the players. The Firefly boardgame, as much as it pains me to admit it, is a much worse offender (apart from the PvP elements of one of the expansions).

PlatinumWarlock wrote:
I much more deeply loathe the sorts of games where you're "effectively eliminated", such that you have 1-2 units left, but you can't actually leave, because it messes up the game dynamic for the remaining players.  Sitting there, unable to affect the board or play competitively, makes me angrier than being eliminated entirely.

 

This is why I developed a deep and abiding loathing for Risk.As for me...Favorite: In-game storytelling. Losing because you drew the wrong card isn't much fun. Losing because your underpaid workers sabotaged your nuclear plant, causing radioactive mutants to overrun your town, is pretty fun.Least Favorite: Slow turns. If I can make and eat a sandwich in the time it takes for my turn to come around again, you've pretty much lost me. Especially if there's no reason to pay attention during other players' turns.

I'm right with you on Risk--it simply takes so long to play that being eliminated sucks, but being effectively eliminated is even worse, because you have no impact on the game and can't leave.

You're right that Settlers of Catan isn't probably the best example of my loathed mechanic, but I've played so many games where it boils down to "I need clay.  No one else has clay, because the 6 has been blocked for the last 9 turns and the only other numbers that have clay are 2 and 11.  Next player..."  That's mind-numbing anti-fun to me.  That said, I did write a "Nuclear Catan" variant that I gladly toss in anytime someone suggests Settlers...

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Favourite - Co-operative stuff, especially when one of those "Hang on a sec...you do that, and I do that, and then that happens, and then...ooooh we win! :D" kind of moments come along, everyone pitches in and stuff just works. Okay so this pretty much just applies to Sentinels (okay it's not a board game, but several other people have mentioned it ;)) from my PoV because I don't play much else, but still ;).

Least favourite - Players ganging up on each other or deliberately trying to mess each other up. I don't mind playing against someone, but I don't like a game that gets mean-spirited about it.


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metlarcturus wrote:
Least Favorite: Slow turns. If I can make and eat a sandwich in the time it takes for my turn to come around again, you've pretty much lost me. Especially if there's no reason to pay attention during other players' turns.

Once the digital version of Brass came out with asynchronous online play in became sooooooo much more fun. Waiting 30 minutes so I can play 2 cards on my turn used to be the worst. Much better when I can get on with my real life while waiting. :D


...yeah, me too.

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Favorite:  Challenge.  I like a good challenge.  If I want to win easily I can play a video game and shoot 8 billion zombies with my fully-automatic rocket launcher with infinite ammo.  I play table games to be challenged.  Also this means a challenge that involves thinking and hopefully interaction with others, not just a high chance of losing.

Least favorite:  deck building games.  I haven't played one yet that connected theme to gameplay in any meaningful way.  They are disguised resource drafting games, I'd rather play Pit.

Bonus least favorite:  Victory points.  Largely intersects with the first.  We're fighting off the horde of monsters bent on destroying our land in hopes that we can score more points than the other fighters, and the monsters aren't even the source of the points?  WTF.  Games where points are a thematic conversion of success work alright, like ticket to ride, don't love the game, but the victory points work in that game, because your goal needs to be quantified.  Dominion is the worst game in the history of games.

Side note:  I have played Pittsburgh 68, because I'm from Pittsburgh and I love horror movies.  We were drunk, couldn't follow the rules and I'm not sure if we finished it or not.  It was at magfest, and drunken table gaming is most of my weekend there.

Bonus Side note:  Cash and Guns is the best drunken table gaming time I've had in a while, that is exactly how player elimination can work well.

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phantaskippy wrote:

Least favorite:  deck building games.  I haven't played one yet that connected theme to gameplay in any meaningful way.  They are disguised resource drafting games, I'd rather play Pit.

Might I recommend Mage Knight? Admittedly, it's not a 'pure' deckbuilder, instead integrating deckbuilding into an epic RPG-like experience, but it is a fantastic game, and I find the deck-building element works really well within it.


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phantaskippy wrote:

Side note:  I have played Pittsburgh 68, because I'm from Pittsburgh and I love horror movies.  We were drunk, couldn't follow the rules and I'm not sure if we finished it or not.  It was at magfest, and drunken table gaming is most of my weekend there.Bonus Side note:  Cash and Guns is the best drunken table gaming time I've had in a while, that is exactly how player elimination can work well.

P68 is awesome--I'm actually running a playtest of the sequel game, Roswell 51, next weekend!  

And if you like Ca$h and Gun$, try out Hex Hex from Smirk and Dagger Games.  As a drinking game, that one is built for a wild night!

phantaskippy
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I've heard Mage Knight does that well, and I'm not opposed to deck building as a game element when it works thematically, for example Mr. Card Game has a great little bit of deck building that is you advancing your character, it works really well in that kind of role.

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I don't think I have favourites (or at least nothing springs to mind now that I'm sitting down to answer the question), it's the combination of mechanics that make (or break) a game for me.


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