It's 1978, I'd just moved from Scotland to SE Michigan, and noticed a very interesting store in downtown Farmington Hills - Joe's Hobby Store - nothing like THIS back home in Glasgow.
Popped in for a look inside, and noticed a couple of shelves of....bookshelf games. Very interesting, must be some new American thing. By the purest coincidence, I was reading Heinlein's Starship Troopers, and there before my very eyes was the AH game. Clearly the universe was telling me to BUY THIS GAME. So I did. Coralled an expat friend of mine into playing (where are you now, Chris Williams??), and we wore out the copy within a month - man, I hardly saw daylight.
As you all know, once you've caught the virus.....
So, Avalon Hill makes good games, right? Next trip to Joe's netted Gettysburg 77 (Waddaya think, Chris, why don't we give a battle game a go?) Even that early I had all the symptoms - "basic games are for wimps, let's try the advanced game." So we did. For 36 straight hours, while our wives, girlfriends and children talked, played, fed us, slept, got wakened by a ghost, ate some more etc - nothing disturbed us.
After that, I was hooked, big time. Bought a book on the Civil War, made the connection between gaming and history, and never looked back.
I guess I must have read considerably more than 10,000 pages of rules since then - hey, there's no beauty without pain - but I keep coming back for more. I'm struggling through the Winter Storm rules (again) as I type this, but I imagine I'll be gaming till they finally put my counter back in the box. In fact, my kids have threatened to bury me in a giant ziploc baggie.
Your favorite game(s):
) Operation Crusader (GDW) - this one is the daddy, absolutely the best game ever published (IMVHO, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way, except maybe the absence of air units in the Battleaxe and Brevity scenarios
2) Gettysburg '77 (AH) - the advanced game transformed me from a dabbler into a wargamer and set me on the road to 25 years of hobby fun
3) Statis Pro Football (AH) - if you can have two Scots in Glasgow utterly absorbed for 4 hours in the 1980 Oilers vs Lions...then you truly have got a game on your hands
4) Ney vs Wellington (SPI) - Wellington's Victory is like an Armani suit - great to have but not for every day. Ney vs Wellington on the other hand is like a pair of Caterpillar boots - my copy will wear out before it goes out of fashion
5) Wrasslin' (AH) - I played this with my kids more than any other game (including Snakes and Ladders) - just great fun altogether
Top 5 most played in 2007:
1) A Fatal Attraction
2) Twilight Struggle
4) Napoleon at Bay
5) Trial of Strength
Most played in 2008
2) Close Action, Fighting Sail
3) 1960, Making of the President
4) Epic of the Peloponnesian War
5) ASL (VotG)
What game(s) are you currently playing (solitaire, FTF, PBEM, etc.) or wish to play next?
Currently have Close Action (RS20, Rebel Seas) going by PBeM - in Andre van Gils' epic 43 player worldwide phenomenon.
What game(s) have you played recently?
GMT's Battles of Waterloo is on the table. Before that was To the Far Shore, Downtown, Unhappy King Charles and The Devil's Cauldron (Campaign game.) And a 12 player Close Action scenario is scheduled for Saturday.
In general, how much time do you spend gaming?
Not nearly enough
How big is your game collection?
Your local game club(s) and/or where you reside (let's network!)
Paddington Bears, Sydney
Twice married, three kids, loud, opinionated, fond of a wee drink, as they say in Scotland, sports lover, especially Celtic, world traveller, but you can take the boy out of Glasgow...
Personal Interests (favorite activities, movies, shows, books, music, etc.)
Life is full of great pleasures, and I try not to deny myself any of them
Comment Wall (5 comments)
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I trust you received your F & M's in the post...? Thanks again for your understanding regarding the costs. I'm convinced the bugger behind the counter at the post office didn't know what the hell he was doing. Let me know if they arrived safe and sound. Regards.
Had to smile at your listing of Statis Pro Football as one of your favorites. That game was a gem! I spent many hours with it; adding house rules and soloing. Always was a great treat when I got in a FTF game. Truly one of the under-appreciated games ever.
I used to go to cons when I was a teenager, and I'd see the older men there. They struck me as crabby and retentive. Now that I am one of the "older men" myself, I see that my impressions were spot on. ;-)