When I bought my first wargame, MIDWAY, I actually got my Dad to play it. He was mildly amused by the game but didn't share my new fascination with this hobby. Still, the first Christmas after I began playing MIDWAY like a fiend saw RICHTHOFEN'S WAR, PANZERBLITZ, FAST CARRIERS, and THIRD REICH under the Christmas Tree. The next year they got me WAR IN EUROPE. So I'd say they were encouraging me!
I would like to add to my original post that while my Dad was not interested in wargames he never told me to stop playing. He even bought me several over the years. Now (I'm 36) when we get together he sometimes tells me to go buy a game and he pays for it. Also, for Xmas he usually sends me a card with some $ in it and tells me to buy something.
My Dad used to wok 60+ hours a week to support the family. That caused him to have a stroke (12 years ago) which darn near killed him. When he got home he was usually too tierd to do much. Since then he has turned over a new leaf. He now plays Bridge as much as possible and is trying to become a Bridge Life Master. Hes into games, just not the wargame kind.
His love of WW2 history got me started in it though....for that I am always grateful.
As with some other people who posted, when I grew up pretty much every man we knew had been in World War II in one capacity or another. We grew up playing with toy guns and soldiers. So wargaming was just another kind of board game that happened to have a war subject. My parents never said a lot about it either way. I think they were pleased that I was doing something that involved thinking and history. They were mystified why I found such complicated games fun. They never discouraged me from playing.
My father was an army officer and a teacher in tactics at the Armoured combat school when I took up gaming and he actually took a few games home (they had a captain at the school who was a wargame fanatic and had managed to persuade the school into buing a few games) for me to try out. The games were all Avalon Hills designs: Afrika Korps, Panzerblitz, Arab-Israeli wars and Cross of Iron. In fact I use Panzerblitz/Panzerleader/Arab-israeli wars for a similar purpose today at the Land warfare center (tje successor to the armoured combat school). Today my father (retired) is my main face to face opponent.
I grew up in a gaming family. We didn't have a lot of money to go out and buy the coolest and latest board games, so we had to make a lot of them up as we went along. I remember one such game was invented on the linoleum floor of our garage-turned-bedroom in Ft. Worth, Texas. One of my older brothers (Tom) and I took our pipe tobacco can full of odds-and-ends checkers (you know, the sets that were missing one or two pieces) and divvied them up by color. Looking at the various brands and types of checkers, we noticed that there were wooden ones, thicker heavier plastic ones, really light plastic ones with saw-toothed edges, etc. We also remembered the spring-loaded shooters from our defunct Mattel shuffle billiards game.
Well, we put these disparate components together and devised a naval battle game, where the different types of checkers represented different types of ships (cruisers, destroyers, battleships, PT- boats, etc.). We'd arrange our checkers into fleets on the floor of the bedroom, and we'd use the pool shooters to fire the checkers at the opposing fleet. If we hit a "ship" on the other side with our shot, we sank it. If we missed, we were sitting ducks for the return fire! We had some rules about PT-boats not being able to sink the battleships by themselves, but it was pretty much a game of "Shuffleboard in the Pacific." We had a blast with that game, until both of the shooters crapped out. I was about 9 or 10.
Yeah, and when I was younger I played with army men and model tanks in the backyard dirt, played "real" army with the neighborhood kids, with our wooden "guns" and crabapple "grenades," assaulting tree forts and clumps of bushes defended by the "enemy." Funny how that's always interesting to 7 & 8-year olds; it was my son's favorite pastime then, too.
But the first real wargame I ever played was when Tom brought home a copy of Avalon Hill's Anzio game a couple of years later, sometime in 1971. If you've never seen Anzio, it might escape you that this is/was a _hard_ game to play, especially for a 12-year old. I think it was one of the first "tournament level" games Avalon Hill put out, along with Jutland and a couple of others. Well, Anzio and Jutland were my first introductions to gaming. (And I really sucked at playing them. Tom is 3 years older than I am and he'd figure the games out by himself. He'd then talk me into playing, but wouldn't give me all the lowdown on the rules. Hell, I probably didn't care at that point, those were "real" ships we had on the floor!)
I dabbled with Tom and his wargames for a couple of years, but still would be drawn to just about any type of game. I even learned to play Canasta, so I could join in with the adults in their game evenings. I didn't really have any favorites, I just liked to play games!
I didn't buy any wargames for myself (being in junior high school had a way of ensuring I was poor, paper route notwithstanding), and I really didn't have a specific interest in any type of game until one Christmas morning a few years later when we were stationed at Chanute AFB in central Illinois. My interest in the wargaming Tom introduced me to was rekindled when I received a copy of Avalon Hill's.......................Outdoor Survival. (?!?!?Outdoor Survival?!?!?)
Somehow, Outdoor Survival got me into wargaming for myself (before, most of the time I played really to humor Tom--he was too good for me to ever win, and he got pissed when I "acted like a kid"). It certainly couldn't have been the Outdoor Survival game itself that made my "army urges" come out again. That was a game of dying of thirst in the woods. Perhaps it was the catalog of other Avalon Hill games that came in the box, with promises of military grandeur and power beckoning from its glossy pages. Yes, I'm certain that was it.
Anyway, I was in high school by then, and I learned how to save up a little of my money. So, after playing the hell out of my Outdoor Survival game (which I still have, BTW), I
This made me remember making up my first game. I as about 7 or 8 and had no one to play with I did have pretty big baseball card collection and when it was raining out one day I made up a game.
Since I had a lot of baseball cards (about 300 or 400 or so in an old plastic bread box) I spit them up by National or American league. Then if the National or American was on defense (out on the field) I would line them up by position on the diamond and outfield (my bedroom floor). You know catcher was in the middle by my Indian crossed legs, pitcher out about 4 or 6 inches, first base on my right, second behind the pitcher, shortstop, and third base on my left (all within easy reach). Then the outfield (I had to stretch a bit) was placed. Then I'd have the other team set aside (with 9 guys per team (I'd create my own teams based on stats or what not, it was an all star game) for each side). As the coach I would pick the batting order and place them on deck off to my left/right.
Now for the bat and balls. I had a special pencil that was brand new (I was supposed to use it for school but I found a used one and kept this one as my special game bat, we were poor) and this pencil was the bat. To make the balls my mother was a data operator somewhere (it was in eastern Washington when I invented this game) and she would bring home the old printer paper scrapes (you guys remember the green and white paper I am talking about?) and I was tear these up into little bits and roll them into a ball and wrap them with a bit of tape. I would have 5 to 7 of these in the 'ball bag'.
I followed the rules of baseball and with my left hand I would pitch to my self and with my right hand I would bat if the player was right handed or switch hands if he was a lefty, if he was a switch hitter I would use which ever hand was the hottest at the time.
That was it. I used the rules from base ball and keep track of the score on a piece of paper. I'd have hours of fun swinging at balls and hitting them. I would get so excited when say Johnny Bench hit a home rum (my bed marked the stands) or when Cecil Cooper struck out or when Jim Palmer (in my games) once pitched a shut out (I never had a no hitter and figured one day if I was a Major leaguer I show them how easy it was to be 10 for 12 in a game until I hit little league lol).
I never seen nor heard about them, do you still have any left? I bet they would be worth a lot. It would be interesting to see what they looked like.
I also used to have tons of those HO/HO Halifax (?) plastic miniatures with German WWI infantry and stuff. I only remember the WWI German and British MG crews carrying ammo. They were tiny like the size of my finger nail now.
I used to set em up and use little rubber bands to shoot them each stand that flipped was dead. Great fun.