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Link Stryder’s Personal History with Board Gaming: Part One

-In the Beginning there were the Classics-

My love for board games starts when I was young. I can remember a few points in my childhood, that for some reason, standout more than others. Though the order in which they happened and age I was at the time of the memory might not be accurate, I assure you the love for board games was there.

The earliest memory I can recall is playing Chutes and Ladders with my parents and sibling. I remember us paying the game in my parent bedroom at the farm in the years before school. Also around this time we took a trip to my Aunt’s house in upstate New York. There I discovered a game that although my young brain could not understand the rules at the time, still fascinated me.

The game was gigantic and had numerous pieces. my imagination ran wild with thoughts of how it all worked together. That game was RIsk. My Aunt’s copy had plastic roman numeral in a rainbow of colors to represent each army. The board was faded and yellow with age. I would later have this copy along with others games in my Aunt’s collection while living at the farm, but they are now lost to time. I will come back to one of those games later in my life but for now I will focus on the elementary years.

For some reason, during this time, I do not have any memory of playing board games at my house. I do remember spending a lot of time at my sister’s friends house because her house was close, just on the other side of the woods. She had a few games, but the game I remember the most from there was Hi HO Cherry-O. I believe we were a little too old for the game at that time, but we enjoyed our selves anyway. Also, during this time, I remember playing Monopoly with my cousins and friends when visiting my Grandma’s house. We would get together and play for hours at a time.

We were just having fun with the games. The rules did not matter too much as long as we were enjoying the game. We would take all the money paid in Monopoly, place it in the center, and the person who landed on free parking would take it all. It was like winning the lottery. Our excitement manifested in jumping around screaming when the dice showed the exact number to reach free parking.

My last memory from this time in my life is going to a thrift shop with my friend. There were these plastic Link figures posed with plastic scenery. I believe they were from the 80s Cartoon. I can’t recall if I bought some during this trip, another trip, or even at all, but my friend obtained a copy of The Mad Magazine Game. As young as we were, it felt taboo to play, but again we had fun doing it.

I played many more mass market games during this time of my life, as I believe most young kids of that age do. A few that stand out are: Battleship, Trouble, and Sorry. Most of these again, played at my Grandmothers house. I’m sure there is a lot more, but these games discussed are the ones that for some reason or another are vivid memory’s of my starting point in this hobby.

Check back soon for Part 2 where I will discuss my middle school years and where I have my beginnings in roll playing, CCGs, and a few abstracts. If you would like to comment and share your childhood games, please visit our Discord and look for Baked and Board under the conversations thread.

Written By: Link Stryder