My Most Recent Plays
Some Random Games From My Collection
I have been a gamer for about as long as I can remember anything. I grew up playing lots of games with my family, the usual ones for that era, Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo (Clue US), Totopoly, Railroader, Spy Ring, Scoop and lots more. For all of my childhood I thought the only real games companies where Waddington's and Parker Brothers.
In around 1975 something very special happened. I was in Hamley's (A large toy shop in central London) browsing through the board games and I came across something I had never seen before, Avalon Hill games. In that instant my world changed for ever. I was totally captivated by the games, Midway, Stalingrad, Afrika Corps, Battle of the Bulge and dozens more I had never heard of. Though they cost 4 or 5 times what Monopoly cost I just knew I had to have some of them (or maybe all of them
I saved up my money until I could actually afford one. Then came a real dilemma, which one? I must have stood in Hamley's for an hour or more, picking up first one then another. So hard just to choose one. I finally did choose Panzer Leader and it was a great introduction into War gaming. I did eventually get or at least play pretty much all the games they had.
For the next 10 years or so I was pretty much a dedicated War Gamer, buying most games Avalon Hill produced. It wasn't so much that I only wanted to play War Games, more that there were not many non war games that looked very interesting.
Soon after my girlfriend of the time (now my wife) introduced me to Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. Who had just formed their own company called Games Workshop. At the time Games Workshop was the back room of a house in Sheppard’s Bush. They were producing a fanzine called owl and weasel (later renamed White Dwarf). They introduced me to Dungeon and Dragons. I bought a copy of the first edition rules from them, three thin booklets with very minimal content.
I then started buying role playing systems until I realised that buying them was all I was doing, not playing them. So back to the War Games. There were some non-war games. I got Cosmic Encounter when it first came out and all the expansions. It's a game I still play now, though the fantasy flight version.
In the early 80's I moved to Los Angeles and caught Dodger Fever so started getting a lot of Avalon Hill's sports games. I also bought a lot of SPI games, but with a few exceptions they were not as good as Avalon Hill. While in the States Victory games where launched, very deep complex strategy games. I loved them and bought lots of them.
I returned to the UK just before the launch of Advanced Squad Leader, which I got just as soon as I could (Squad leader being my favourite ever war game). I got the first 10 expansions for it, but you know what? I still prefer Squad leader.
In the early 90's I just sort of drifted out of board gaming. I had been spending more and more time playing video games on a variety of systems, Atari 2600, Commodore 64 and Amiga, Sega Mega-Drive(Genesis), PS1, 2 and 3, PC, Dreamcast, Wii, PSP and just got out of the habit of playing board games.
I did get hooked on CCG's in the 90's. I was soon collecting like mad, Magic the Gathering, Legend of the 5 Rings, Deadlands, Star Trek, Star Wars and many more. I got so into them that for a while I ran a part time business selling CCG's, booster, boxes and singles. As I was buying these trade I did buy a few board games for myself, the most noticeable one being Settlers of Catan. This helped me to realise there was a growing market for more mature games that were not War Games, but I stayed very much on the periphery.
My serious return to Board gaming happened in 2008. It was my birthday and my mother gave me some money to get myself something. My initial thought was to get a video game, but then I thought no, how about getting a new board game?
So I took myself off to Playin' Games (London games store) to look for a game. The first thing I realised was that I did not know hardly any of the games apart from Settlers. What did catch my eye was all the various Ticket to Ride games. If there were so many versions of it, it must be a good game right? After much debate I bought a copy of Ticket to Ride Europe. Took it home and loved it. Next week I went back and got Thurn and Taxis and Candimir: The First Settlers.
That was it, I was back. I found gaming had changed in my absence. Avalon Hill was dead.
There were so many more non War Games that looked really good than ever before. Although I had Settlers and had played it lots, I really had missed the Eurogame phenomenon.
I have spent the time since trying to catch up. I had quite a purge of my war games collection, getting rid of a lot of the games I admitted to my self I would never play again. I sold most of them on ebay. I purged my Avalon Hill collection selling off War and Peace, Guns of August, Republic of Rome, Blackbeard and many more. I also sold most of my Victory Games, a lot of which were actually unpunched. Sales of these games helped finance the purchase of a lot of the newer games.
I do find as I have got older my tastes have changed. At the height of my War Gaming phase I basically thought the more rules the better. Now days I generally go for much simpler games. My most played game of the last year is Transamerica and you can't get much simpler than that. I do still like some heavier games, I recently played Twilight Imperium III for the first time and I have quite a few 18XX games.
If you want to know anything else, drop me a note.