Puck Goes Pop

Sebastian Vidmar: ‘Monopoly mastermind’ and music lover

Sebastian Vidmar
Even with a helmet cage, Sebastian Vidmar has a hard time hiding his exuberance on the ice. It is that much harder when he is having a proud moment in a board game. (Photo credit: Robert Dungan)

Sophomore Sebastian Vidmar enjoyed a breakout season on the ice for Union College, scoring 41 points in 35 games after posting 10 in 27 during his freshman year. Off the ice, however,  he has plenty of hobbies to keep him busy.

Both in his youth and at college, he has enjoyed playing board games. He grew up in Sweden playing Monopoly with his friends and family, and proudly lets everyone know that he has never lost a game. While he doesn’t play that at college, he often plays another similar strategy game with his classmates.

Aside from board games, Vidmar is known amongst his teammates for having a great taste in music, particularly dance music. He is most definitely the team DJ, and enjoys making mixtapes and finding new music to share with teammates and friends.

Vidmar discussed his off-ice interests with Pucks and Recreation.

When was the first time you played Monopoly?

SV: “I come from a big family, so I don’t really have a memory of the first game. We are a big board-game type of family. I grew up with two of my older brothers and we loved competing in every aspect, and that included board games, so it’s always been a thing in my family.”

Is it a popular game in a Sweden? If so, are there at major differences in the Swedish version?

SV: “It’s the same thing, kind of. Different street names, the high-end street names in Stockholm and you have street names from all over Sweden. But the structure and the dollar worth of all of the places is the same.”

There are many different versions of Monopoly, do you like any of the fancy, newer versions like the one with electronic banking? Or do you think the classic version is the best?

SV: “Classic, 100 percent classic. I like the old school.”

Speaking of the classic version, Monopoly recently announced that the boot, wheelbarrow and thimble would be replaced with a rubber duck, T-rex and penguin. What do you think of that?

SV: “That’s horrible. That’s bad news. That is not good news. I didn’t know that. I’m the top hat, though, so it doesn’t really affect me, but I know some players like the wheelbarrow. I can’t even imagine how this might affect their playing style. I would be devastated if they took away the top hat.”

How did the top hat become your piece?

SV: “I’ve always liked top hats. We have a top hat back home and I always used to wear it. I don’t know, it’s just always been my go-to piece.”

You mentioned you play a lot with your family and your brothers growing up. Is there a particular game or memory that stands out from playing with them?

SV: “Not really. I played with friends, too. If you’re playing and you kind of have an edge and you’re winning and you see someone, we’re talking about the later stages of the game here, you’re playing with friends and say you have a hotel on one of the more expensive roads and they are about to roll the dice and you’ve already calculated what they need to land on your piece and it happens it’s just an unbelievable feeling. To see them just lose all hope in their eyes. For my part, I’m just laughing and having fun, you know (laughs). That feeling is hard to beat.”

Do you play with any of your current teammates?

SV: “No, we haven’t played Monopoly. I think Monopoly is too long of a game. You need a lot of patience for it. We have another board game that we play, especially our sophomore class. We play a game called Settlers of Catan, have you ever heard of that?”

No, I haven’t. What’s that about?

SV: “It’s kind of a strategy, but mostly luck-based game. There’s lots of dice rolls. There’s also some strategy involved. It’s not the same as Monopoly, but it’s the same idea. You build an empire and you gather resources and build to a certain amount of points and you win. We play that a lot.”

How does playing games like that help the team build chemistry off the ice?

SV: “It’s downtime and you’re spending time together, so that’s always good. In a sense of team chemistry, just having all the boys together and having fun definitely helps.”

So, you mentioned strategy. You don’t have to give away your big secret here, but do you have a particular strategy that you like to follow while playing Monopoly?

SV: “(laughs) Orange. Orange streets.”

Interesting.

SV: “Those are the moneymakers. Also, win-win trades are good for everyone.”

Have you ever gotten into any arguments about the fairness of trades? How do you work them out?

SV: “Oh, 100 percent. If someone is losing on the trade, I’m going to let them know. That’s really it. As long as they are not losing to me. If they are giving someone else an advantage, I’m going to let them know.

“I feel like I’m coming off as some kind of Monopoly mastermind. I don’t think I am. It’s still a lot of luck-based.”

Well, like you said, you’ve never lost, so you must be some kind of mastermind.

SV: “Yeah, I’ve never lost, so…”

What do you think is the longest game you’ve ever played?

SV: “When I was younger, we just stopped playing. We got to a point where ‘This is brutal, let’s go to bed.’ The games can get up there, like three to four hours.”

To what do you attribute your success in playing?

SV: “Part of the reason I haven’t lost is I haven’t played regularly. If we would play Monopoly regularly, I would definitely lose.”

I was looking at your Twitter, and it looks like you’re pretty big into music.

SV: “Yeah, definitely.”

It looks like you’ve made some warmup mixes and pregame soundtracks. When did you originally become interested in putting things together like that?

SV: “Oh, I started early. I would say middle school. I listen to EDM now, which is kind of like mainstream, but back then  back then, jeez I sound old  I listened to techno, like 140 BPM, whatever it is, like ‘bam bam bam’ that kind of stuff when it wasn’t very popular. I’d play it a lot I loved it, and it started really young. We were on a team and you had a boombox in the locker room and I would always burn CD’s and put techno music on them. The guys liked it because it pumps you up.”

Yeah.

SV: “Since then, I got a version of FL studio music-making program. I wanted to become a DJ in my spare time, but I found out pretty quickly that I had no musical talent (laughs), so I stuck with just mixing together songs and making mixtapes. When I first came here I remember I had a lot of downtime and I started making a monthly mixtape but I stopped that for some reason. I like finding new songs and sharing them. I do that a lot here.”

How long does it take you to make a mixtape, for example your team’s warmup soundtrack?

SV: “I find the songs, or I get a list, this year I got a list from the seniors with what songs should be included and then I found some songs on my own. Then I figure out transition cuts, what point in the song I should mix in the other song. Then I figure out all of those transitions and then I just do it in one, or usually two takes because I usually mess up. So maybe two, three or four hours depending on how long the mix is.”

How did you end up being chosen to put together the warmup playlist for your team?

SV: “I’m a big music guy, my phone is usually plugged into the aux cord. Last year too I would always have my phone plugged in. I often in my spare time go on the web and just look for new songs coming out and songs coming up soon. As soon as they come out I have them on my playlist and I play them and usually people appreciate it. So I guess it was my love for music, dance music I should say.”

Do you have a song or two that are on your radar that other people might not know about heading into the summer?

SV: “This one I really like, it’s from Two Friends, it’s called ‘Emily,’ it’s got the really catchy melody. It’s not out there yet. There’s a song called ‘Hallucinations‘ by R3hab. Then you have Kygo’s new song with Ellie Goulding (‘First Time‘) that is really good. They are not really out yet.”

Thanks, do you have any other unique hobbies or things you do off the ice?

SV: “I’m kind of a gaming nerd, but I don’t game. I don’t play games. Are you familiar with twitch?

Yeah, I’ve heard of it.

SV: “It’s a streaming website where people stream playing games. It’s not just the gameplay I’m interested in, it’s the characters streaming. Really funny guys and it’s like a little community. I shouldn’t say little, there’s like thousands of people watching every time they go in. Sometimes I just like to watch them play games. I’m a huge youtube guy too. I could be on youtube for hours. Start out watching some hockey highlights and end watching, like, cats (laughs), it’s a vicious cycle.”

Follow Sebastian Vidmar on Twitter @vidmar22 or on soundcloud.

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Andrew Wisneski

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