Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An introduction of sorts...

Ahhh, after push-pushing, prodding and prodding, I've decided to follow the advice of others and try and find a non-social networking - non-BGG place to start my writing career about my favorite pastime/addiction. I thought a little introduction/disclaimer may be due when starting one of these dealies, so here it goes!

(Feel free to skip this if you already know me or don't care to know any background about myself. This post will contain some non-gaming content. Eventually I may start more a general, "journal" style blog in the future, but as of right now google+ satisfies my itch.)

I am a 29 year old caucasian male. I was born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan in March of 1982 to two wonderful parents. I still live in that suburb, although I maintain a somewhat gypsy-like migrant lifestyle. I always have and probably always will. As far as Detroit or even Michigan as a whole are concerned, I love it here. I would feel like a traitor if I left. It seems like the thing to do these days as a relatively youngman in this area that isn't pinned down to employment that you leave. At some point you've had enough of "feeling the seasons" to know that winter blows. ha. I just don't think I could. I have a very close and connected extended family, several friends that I just couldn't see... not seeing, and some sort of irrational love for the city of Detroit proper.

As a kid I remember playing a few boardgames/cardgames with regularity. Some of those I remember best include many classics I'm sure you'll all remember too - Uno, Sorry, Risk, Stratego, Euchre, Rummy... and then it happened. Magic The Gathering that is. I used to casually read comics and on the way home from school there was a little comic shop that I passed through on my walks home to buy some fresh ink and maybe a little candy or a cold pop. One day I noticed all of these awesome cards with cool comic-book style art in one of the display cases. 3rd edition had just come out and I remember some packs of unlimited still on the shelves. That started this.

I began playing in tournaments in the area, at friends houses and FLGS's whenever I could get the chance. All those who have played in a competitive environment know that this game gets expensive fast. I really enjoyed the sense of community at the stores, the competition and seeminlgy endless tweaks and refinements one could make to their deck. I think one of the most amazing and brilliant aspects of MTG that I didn't notice until way after was just how though provoking the game was. I remember trying to fall asleep running through all the combo's, proportions and game histories I could find in my current decks, past decks, and even matches I had played months ago in crucial times during the competitions. Gradually the fever died down with the increase of music's role in my life. As well as I imagined hormones kept me out of the stores and clubs for awhile.

After high school my life shifted, putting music in the spotlight. I had always been in bands growing up, messing around with friends and acquaintances in what seemed like never ending good times. After highschool I began playing in bands that were a little more serious. After playing in a few of them, playing several shows a month, it just started wearing on me. It's a tough balancing act of minds, ego's and expectations. I still very much enjoy listening and playing music. I have several guitars, a very nice array of vintage and modern equipment, hand drums... and even the dream of someday being able to express my musical creativity at some point down the line.

...blast forward sometime.

In recent years I had some struggles. I've dealt with what I feel is crippling depression, alcoholism and a general frustration with people that I am not already close with. This last part is in stark contrast to my usual social ways. I quit drinking. Checked myself voluntarily into rehab and started looking for ways to remain social without becoming bitter and frustrated with my situation. As of late I've written and thought about this period in my life in great and exhaustive details elsewhere. Just know that it was incredibly difficult, is incredibly difficult. For the year or two prior to rehab we began playing Settler's of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Powergrid. How exactly? I'm not quite sure. How exactly I played these games with any sort of focus being smashed on whiskey all day, is incredible. I just knew I loved it. It was reminiscent and new all at the same time. It brought back memories of playing Stratego and Risk in my basement as a youngin and it just seemed to fit in. By this time I had setup a BGG account, probably to start looking up our various questions concerning PowerGrid... After I got out of rehab and began to get my health back it was clear that this was my way to "reactivate" socially and mentally. It was my chance to control something from the beginning to end, it helped my need for competition and helped me re-open my analytic mind.

I play games mostly with two different people. Sometimes heads up, sometimes all 3 of us get together. I'd like to say something short and sweet about these guys.

Nicole - Nicole is my best friend. She knows me better than anyone around, been there with me through the best and worst. We usually play games 3-4 times a week. Some of her favorite games include: Macao, Endeavor, Agricola, Navegador and Carcassonne.

Kris - Kris and I have been pals for a long time. He played trumpet in one of the bands I was in growing up and our friendship has evolved to permanence in recent years. He is one of the nicest people you'd ever meet. We generally play games once a week, sometimes with Nicole. Some of his favorite games include: Caylus, Modern Art, Ra, GO, Tigris and Euphrates and Manoeuvre.

Here is a list of some of my current favorites:
-Through the Desert
-Carson City
-Twilight Struggle
-Washington's War

My writing style is sometimes sloppy. I tend to over use the few literary devices I know. I'm a sucker for flowery language and urban slang. One of my latest passions in the area of gaming is photography. I try and upload/take as many photo's I can from our sessions. Right now quality is kinda low, but I am trying to make improvements in areas I can control, such as framing the photo's better and capturing interesting images where I can. If I thought I could adequately "get out" everything I'd need to in a photo blog, I would. But sadly I have more to say. haha. I actively am trying to show restraint when it comes to emoticons... there still aren't many better ways to express yourself smiling, but I try. :0)

So what am I gonna try and do with this? Well for starters I am going to keep the format pretty loose. I'd like to have photo posts, reviews, general impressions and just ramblings on gaming culture. I may or may not include links to outside articles... I haven't quite decided. I was going to try and stockpile a collection of posts to start this whole thing rolling, but that never really worked. I'll probably post the couple of blogs I've written on BGG so I'll have everything in the same place. One of the problems I've had with BGG with concern to writing is that it builds in a writer's block for me. It seems that there are far too many well written reviews on there for me to want to clog up the site with more reviews of games where I've missed the "hotness" threshold. User interest on the site is so fluid and for every decent article there are 20 that are terrible, or the very least, don't contain information that I want to see. Another stumbling point I've found is in talking from the perspective of authority. I am still wet behind the ears in this hobby. I have only played 4 years worth of games in 2, not 20 years worth of games in 8 years like most of the respected pundits present on the intrawebz. It always seems like a struggle for perspective when it comes to reviews. For example, up until a few weeks ago I hadn't played a single game in the Wallace "Steam series". This alone cause me not to want to write reviews. I gradually am getting over the realization that I am not going to be able to play every game prior to my evaluations. This is tough for me to deal with, but like it or not, I make my valuations right now anyways, just in private. I think they're still valuable although maybe a little naive... maybe you will too...

Thanks for your interest!

Tony Bosca
BGG = blakstar

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