Thursday, 5 July 2007

my boardgaming history

I got into the boardgame hobby in a serious way around end of 2003, when I was working in Taiwan. This was when I started playing boardgames very frequently, when I started surfing boardgame websites almost daily, when I gradually started to diligently record every game I play (who I played with, who won, what the scores were), when I started accumulating my big collection of boardgames. Well, "big" is relative, but at more than 100, I think that's quite big for a "normal" person.

Before I got into this hobby, there were two distinct periods (in terms of involvement with boardgames) - the childhood/teenage period, and the Axis & Allies period.

The childhood/teenage period:

  • Ludo - My younger sister and I played a lot of this with our two cousins Bee Bee and Ah Dee whenever we went back to Tawau to visit our grandparents.
  • Scrabble - Played with family friends. I remember once when I played this at school, I beat my classmates who spoke English as a first language and whose English vocabulary was better than me, and I was quietly quite proud of myself. I think this was a period after the Form 3 SRP exams (PMR equivalent), but before the end of the school year, so students were allowed to bring games to play at school.
  • Risk - My elder cousin Edward made a home-made version, after he played this with his friends. He drew the map himself, and I think we used pieces from the Mind Reader game as armies. Later I did get the real game.
  • Carrom - Sometimes played during parties.
  • Monopoly - I actually created my own board for this, by drawing on the back of the Monopoly board. I won my Monopoly game from a lucky draw at the Teo Chew Association. I think I drew #50, and it was the last prize to be given away, so I waited quite long for it. I was pleased when I saw it was a big box.
  • Secret Message - A game that came with one of the issues of World magazine (not 100% sure about the name of the magazine), a children's magazine published by National Geographic. I remember playing this with Elaine and Elliot.
  • Pay Day - Elliot's game, which I quite liked at the time.
  • Cluedo - I owned this, but I have no idea what happened to it.
  • Others that I remember playing are Master Mind, Mind Reader, Chinese Chess, Chess, Othello, checkers, Chinese checkers, Connect Four

The Axis & Allies period started after my first trip to Chicago in 1997. This was the first year of my first job, and I went to USA for a 3-week training. That was when I bought Axis & Allies (1984 version published by Milton Bradley). It wasn't the first time I saw Axis & Allies. I remember I first saw it in Singapore when I was much younger, probably in primary school. I wanted to buy it but was not allowed to, I think (I don't remember exactly). So I was very happy when I saw it and could buy it myself now that I was earning my own money. It was like fulfilling a childhood dream.

I played it with my roommate, Puneet Karla, who was from India. I won the game, but we did have quite a number of disputes because neither of us were very familiar with the rules. I think we probably played some rules wrong. I don't remember whether I was the Axis or the Allies.

From 1997 to 2003, Axis & Allies was the style of boardgames that I liked. I thought that was the best type of boardgames around. I didn't play often, maybe around 3 times a year, because these games take almost the whole day to play. Stories from that period:

  • Axis & Allies - I remember a time when the PC version came out, and Ricky and I played this quite often at Kondo Miharja, where I used to stay. He'd bring his laptop and we play'd laptop against laptop using a serial cable. He usually played the Allies, and me the Axis.
  • Samurai Swords - I had a Samurai Swords gang: Sylvia, Kenneth, Hilda, Chune Kit, Soong, Terrence. I remember those killed Daimyo's (generals or clan leaders) forming a support group at the side of the board. When Michelle came back from UK, I asked her to play with me, and after that she had nightmares about spearmen chasing her. My bad.
  • Axis & Allies Europe - I only remember one game which Taun-Yeu and Sylvia played, but at different times (because of arriving late / needing to leave early). I don't remember who else played in that game.
  • Axis & Allies Pacific - I didn't play many times. I only remember Ricky played Japan and won.
  • Warhammer - Played only once in Hong Kong with Ben, en route back from USA after a company training. A little disappointing. Maybe we were too new.
  • Victory: The Blocks of War - This was bought at the same time as Warhammer. I don't remember whether I played this with Ben also in Hong Kong.
  • Advanced Third Reich - Bought in Hong Kong, never played, and now some of the pieces are damaged by my daughter Shee Yun. I tried reading through the rulebook twice, and failed on both counts. I didn't even start reading the scenario book. This is waaay beyond me. I had thought Axis & Allies was a highly complex game and nothing else could be too difficult for me.
  • Sid Meier's Civilisation The Boardgame - Mei bought this for me from Melbourne. I was a big fan of the Civilisation PC game. I played 2 or 3 games of this, before I found out how many people disliked this boardgame at


hiewyinchong said...

We also played "MAD" when young, remember?

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Yes, we also played the Mad Magazine Game, where the objective is to lose all your money. It is quite silly actually, but we had fun. We didn't know better.

Caleb said...

Why didn't they like Civilization? Do you still like it? :)

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Caleb, this particular Civilization mentioned in this blog entry is the one published by Eagle Games in 2002, not the one published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2010. Civ2002 is still poorly regarded. I haven't played it for a long time, and I'm keeping it only because it was a gift from my sister.

MDF said...

What Version of Axis and Allies is your favorite? I myself would like to play, which version should I attempt? Do you still enjoy A&A like you used too?

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Among the global versions of A&A, my fav is the anniversary edition, which unfortunately is out of print. I'd suggest the spring 1942 edition, which I think is the current standard version available. I haven't played it myself though.

Yes A&A always has a special place in my heart, although I don't get to play it much nowadays.