as I have so far managed to resist ANY blogging, anywhere.

As a matter of course, I have not EVER kept a journal, diary or blog. I am afflicted with Rheumatoid Arthritis, very badly. So badly, in fact, that I have had my right hip replaced in 2004 and I will have my left hip replaced, as soon as my surgeons return from over-seas assignments. (I am a 13 year veteran of the US Army, so all my medical is done by the VA and the VA Medical center Ann Arbor, Michigan.) And once the hip is done, then I have to have my KNEES replaced!!! As part of the management of the RA, I take huge amounts of various medications. To help prevent any sort of problems with all of my prescriptions, I was told by my doctors to keep a log of What I take and When I take it. And I find even that small of a chore to be annoying.

However. I consider ConSimWorld to be one of the finest things to happen to
Wargames. I first started Wargaming way back when I was in 7th - 8th grades. My sister bought me 'Tactics II" for Christmas, followed by Panzer Leader. Then I had some money from a summer job I was working at and I went down to the Strategy & Fantasy World in the Colonial Arcade in Downtown Cleveland and bought - all at the same time- SPI's "Terrible Swift Sword", "PanzerGruppe Guderian", and the folio game "Wagram". And I was utterly hooked! At the beginning of Sophmore year in high school, I was talking to one of my friends who was also a Wargamer and we decided to start a "WarGames Society".

An incredible stroke of good fortune accompanied our choice of a teacher-moderator. Since we went to a Catholic high school, the school had only recently began to receive Federal Grant Money. And as was/is usual with Federal Money, you MUST USE ALL OF IT, if you want to get the same amount -or more- in the next round of funding. So when we went to the teacher and asked him to be our moderator and described to him what wargames were, he said "Oh, you mean like these?" as he opened a Floor-to-Ceiling locker FULL of SPI WarGames -all unpunched !!! Yes, the school found it had extra money that it HAD TO SPEND and someone (we never found out who) had knowledge of SPI and bought pretty much their whole catalogue of Historical wargames.

There were ten or so of us who had subscriptions to "Strategy & Tactics" ( my subscription started with issues #77 and #78 "The Chine War" and "Paratroop" ) and we all owned various numbers of other wargames, like Avalon Hill and some GDW. But having all those Unpunched SPI wargames was absolutely magnificent !! Every meeting of the Society involved a Barnd New Wargame. We started a treasury. The Student Government gave each school club or group $50.00 and we charged 25 cents per week (usually 36 or so members, sometimes more sometimes as few as only twenty.) and with the money we voted on the games we would buy.

All together, that time was a true Golden Age for me. Plenty of wargamers, many opponents, many, many opponents after we had made contact with Other High Schools' Wargaming groups. We had a definite "Community". And I was always recruiting new players. We also welcomed the D&D players (The Best Way to get the two groups -wargamers and D&D-ers- together was R.H.Berg's "The War of the Ring", the multi-player game of "The Lord of the Rings" with the Character Game as well as the Army game. It also even used Cards!! ). Since we had S&T subscriptions and some also had subscribed to "Moves", we all kept up with the interesting and amusing news coming out of SPI and New York City. We KNEW we were part of something larger.

And that had a huge effect. I managed to get people interested in wargames due to the 'Community' aspect of it. Having alot of us walking around with the magazines, having great weekly meetings, going to conventions, and having our own 'mini-conventions', made a big impression on those not involved. Of course, the games themselves were also a major recruiting tool. Since all of the Audio-Visual people (A.V. Dept) and most of the 'Library Aides' were also wargamers, we were on very good terms with the nun who ran the library. So when we asked to use a conference room to set up MonsterGames, we got the room to use for the rest of the time we were there. And we set up and played as many monstergames we could get our hands on !

"Campaign for North Africa", "War in the Pacific", "Korsun Pocket", "Terrible Swift Sword", "Bloody April", "Drang Nach Osten/Unentscheiden", "Operation Typhoon", "Invasion:America" (BIG HIT, that one), "Battles ofr the Ardennes", "Napoleon's Last Battles", "Flattop", ,"The Next War", "Highway to Reich", and others I'm sure I forgot. There were the usual coments "That looks too complicated", but when you see so many others doing it and having fun (and BELONGING !! -a Major Part Of High School), you're much more enthused about joining. There were also the usual Multi-Player Games, also a major factor in the 'Fun' department: AH "Kingmaker", "The War of the Ring", SPI "Conquistador", "The Crusades", "Demolition-Derby Wooden Ships & Iron Men" and, witout a doubt: "Diplomacy". We had a display case in the front of the library with "Diplomacy" set up. We did turns at the end of the day -you had to have your move in to me by 2:30PM and then I and several other people would go and carry out the orders and make the changes to the map. Great Fun and Great Advertising.

So, while it is the games that matter to me, my main,initial experiences in the hobby was with the 'Community' of wargamers. And here on ConSimWorld, I once again have the 'Community'.

I had gone 'inactive' during the mid-1990's; I still played my games from my rather large collection, but except for a couple of "Andon conventions" I really didnt have much to do with the wargames hobby. I didnt keep my subscriptions up and didnt know of too many other wargamers. So when I discovered CSW, it was with great delight to see so many other Wargamers, the newer wargames, the clubs, and all the activity. I went to Origins in 2005 (Twenty-Five years after the last Origins I went to in 1980!!) and have been immersing myself fully, once again.into the hobby. And, I can definitely say All Because of John Kranz and ConSimWorld.

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Comment by Richard Berg on March 19, 2008 at 1:55pm
Interesting story, Daniel . . . always wondered - as I mentioned to you several times - what you thought of GERONIMO.

Comment by Andreas Ludwig on March 19, 2008 at 12:21pm
Jeez Daniel,

both hips replaced and both knees are going thru hard times it seems. All the best for you!
Comment by David Mignerey on March 10, 2008 at 12:34pm

Looking forward to further battles on the Steppe. Minimally, Origins and Buckeye Game Fest!
Comment by John Kranz on March 7, 2008 at 11:48pm
Daniel, thank you for your service and for what is a truly insightful and delightful post to read. I love the background and story you provided -- the experience you had in school with the locker filled from floor to ceiling was terrific...that must have really been something! It's also amazing the sheer number of games you got to play and experience during that time. I know no matter how much time I have on this earth, there will be so many games that I will never had experienced that I'm sure I wish I had. I look at games now with the realization that I will probably never crack open the rules or play that game, and ponder what I may be missing. Of course, other life experiences take the place of this as we all have a real world and real life to deal with, but I certainly wish I could have a "re-do" when it comes to putting more time into gaming when I had the opportunity.

What I do remember about gaming in high school, etc. was the great sense of community of being excited about a game and having a complete blast. Fortunately, thanks to the internet and our online communities, I can still feel the sense of that which is only surpassed by experiencing it live at an event, such as CSW Expo (WBC, Origins, etc.).

Thank you for a great post...we will all benefit should you find yourself now finding enjoyment in blogging or keeping a journal/diary which you have not yet done. And, of course, you are amongst friends here.
Comment by Eric Walters on March 6, 2008 at 4:35pm
Wow, great story...I hope all those games at school were taken care of through the years (and didn't disappear!). I got some of mine from teachers/professors who either never got to play them or just had to unload them. Some real gems...the flatbox SPI "Austerlitz," the early-version SPI "Franco-Prussian War," "Frederick the Great" all in mint/unpunched condition....

Regarding your RA, I'm guessing you are doing some of that intravenous drug therapy. I had a deputy LtCol who got RA really badly and it has helped tremendously. He could barely get out of bed some days and now--three years later--he's in much better shape. His wife had to drive him to the hospital every week then every other week for the drip. Really expensive, though. This was overseas and they had to special order the drugs. Some days it didn't come it and they wouldn't tell him until he showed up at the hospital (an hour drive to get there)...had to drive back. Well, that's military medicine for you. And that's not even the VA!!!! He can't run a full Physical Fitness Test (no running) but he can do pull ups and sit ups again almost as well as he used to. Wish that would have happened for you. Hip replacement AND knee replacement? Oh, that simply sucks...

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