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I was 12 in 1958 . my Mother saw a ad for TACTICS 2 in the nyTimes. said did i want the game for my birthday. I said great. I always liked history. I have been playing sfter then. Little did they know.
My parents didn't think much about it. My father dislikes games of all types and couldn't figure out where he went wrong that I loved them so much!
My parents, particularly my dad, encouraged me. They bought me Tactics II for Christmas 1961 which started my collection. Every Christmas for the next several years my favorite present was the newest AH game so I have now been playing for over 50 years thanks to by parents.
Yeah, my father seemed pretty disturbed that I kept playing after 14 or so.
Since I was the last of six, my parents were worn down enough not to bother me too much about wargaming or just about anything else…
One of my older brothers enjoyed Risk and Diplomacy and even let me play with his college-aged friends, because let's face it, a kid brother as a seventh is more interesting than Italy in civil disorder. Another older brother was definitely into wargames, mostly Avalon Hill: 1914, 1776, Blitzkrieg, and others of that era. He and I went shopping for my first game: AH's Gettysburg.
My father died before I started playing wargames. But I recently asked my mother when I saw Jim's question. She said she didn't care one way or the other. I tried to get my brother interested, because he was rather keen on the ACW. But it was just not his cup of tea.
I recall that the father of the guy who introduced me to wargames used to threaten dropping an "atomic shoe" on the map. One of my strongest and embarrassing memories is of looking at my friend and asking him "what's a ratio?" :)
I think it started with some plastic soldiers, cowboys/indians stuff. Then at 12 discovered the table-top wars through Airfix (uk), so played Napoleonic, WW2 era. Started with lead and white metal figurines that opened other periods. At 16, outgrew the figurines en masse and found the games of AH & SPI being available. Now the complexities of real gaming came to forefront, hence why (like others having 1,000 games plus) - and today?
Finding great games from likes of GMT, MMP and others, even laser chess Khet 2.0 !
What did my mom think/do? In the house so no worries of where at, playing games in being occupied - she loved it.
What do I think/do? Is there ever going to enough time / friends to play all the myriad of games with? How many re-tries to do on some wish to go at again?
Like many things in life, it is for YOU to explore and find enjoyment within and that's the secret that parents and peers do, giving the space to develop, delve and delight. So to mum, matthew, roger, martin, nigel, roger, frank and new friends - let's be parents to a new generation ..
Dad got me started in the fifth grade, Christmas 1977; we'd already played Stratego & this tank game that was sort of like Stratego, but you had olive-green plastic Shermans and tan Panthers with different numbered values in back. At any rate, he decided to graduate us to SPI's "Borodino," then "Austerlitz: The Battle of Three Emperors" and finally "Napoleon at Waterloo."
For whatever reason, Dad quickly lost interest, but my best friend Danny down the lane was equally entranced, and barely a week went by that we didn't pedal down to Viking Hobby to ogle Ken's wares and hang out at the Dairy Queen next door. Although we dabbled in D&D, the obvious superiority of Metagaming's Melee & Wizard more wargame-y combat resolution sort of inoculated us both, I suspect.
I ended up getting a subscription to Strategy & Tactics (first issue: No. 77, "Paratroop"), which I dropped -- or was it got dropped by TSR? -- with issue 90 ("Battle of Monmouth"). I gave most of my collection to Danny when I left for college, but decided to get back into the hobby last year when I saw all of the cool stuff that had been done in the intervening years.
I started about five years early, and as I said earlier, my dad was not supportive. I found out not too long ago that he chewed out his own parents for buying me one of those horrible wargames. I agree about Melee and Wizard; they are great, and more wargame-like than roleplaying. My own involvement with S&T started with Number 67, Stonewall, and ended with Monmouth, when TSR lived up to its name of "Those Subscriptions Revoked."
The one wargame that my father and I played was the same one you mention Christina, with the plastic Shermans and Panthers. We used an Atlas of Europe and mapped progress from Paris to Berlin, starting in between. My dad won nearly every game we played, kicking my a** all the way to Paris (he was the Germans).
Although my dad doesn't like games, he did buy me a beautiful photographic copy of "Little Wars." I'd have to say that one book had a disproportionate impact on my life (based on the size). My friends and I went from random army-man scrambles to totally rules based. And from there, it was on to wargames when we got a little older.
As for people with deep dislike for wargames, I have to put forth my HS English teacher, Mr. Jones. In the late 70s, he was already in his 50s or 60s and had come to teaching from working in industry.
He gave us an assignment to teach the class how to do something. One stipulation was not games. Not trying to be a smart-ass, I asked whether I could show / teach Wacht am Rhein. I patiently explained that it wasn't a game but a military simulation. He got extremely angry at me and I couldn't figure it out at the time.
Looking back, I think he fought in WWII and found it extremely upsetting that anyone would trivialize what the men who fought went through by turning it into a "game."