Started gaming in '66; using H.G. Wells' “Little Wars” with ordinary army men and Johnny Eagle rifles.
Played a few turns of Tactics II shortly after and got the sim bug – Risk, Chess, Stratego, Strat-O-Matic, and finally Strategy & Tactics magazine – it literally changed my life. I wrote my first computer game (bowling) at 12 years of age, designed a statistically accurate baseball game at 14 (which Parker Brothers passed on - damn the luck), and taught my old Commodore 64 to play Strat-O-Matic football and baseball against me - and it played to win.
Subscribed to S&T in high school and started a wargames club, playing Richthofen's War at lunch and mostly PanzerBlitz after classes. Every weekend my friends and I would get together for one game or another; I brought the latest SPI magazine offering, another friend was an Avalon Hill devotee who ordered games for the bookstore he worked at (my first FLGS).
Got into RPGs with the original Dungeons and Dragons (still have it!) and about half of my gaming group came along to run in primitive dungeon adventures while I worked away at my wilderness campaign world of Rhye, which was largely based on Tolkien, and other fantasy novels, and Queen songs from the mid 70s. Painting fantasy figures (just over 400 at last count) opened up the artist in me that I didn't know existed.
Still in high school, I was introduced to Napoleonic miniatures and spent my senior year painting Prussians and Orcs while designing wargame and fantasy campaigns. We played with 25mm figures back then mostly from the collection of the Air Force Lt. who got us into it. I sold off my few hundred strong 25mm army shortly after High School (still regret it), and switched to 15mm. To date I have amassed nearly 7000 figures (French, Prussian, British, and Russian mostly), who unfortunately rarely see the light of day.
I tried my hand at game design over the years and produced some serviceable, if somewhat amateurish, efforts, all while eagerly awaiting the next SPI or Avalon Hill title. My collection grew in fits and starts over the years as my zeal for gaming waxed and waned. I would turn from games, to RPGs, to miniatures as my main interest many times over the years, but I never completely abandoned any genre. I currently own more than 700 titles. A spare bedroom has been sacrificed to my hobby.
My hobby became my life when I started work writing simulation software in the '80s. I bought a lot of games just to see how the game's designers solved certain problems, and I was sometimes able to take a cue and incorporate the solutions into my software. Because of the type of work that I do, I have always been able to find at least a few other gamers willing to get together for wargames, or RPGs mostly. Just after I graduated from college I helped a friend run a gaming store which was mostly devoted to role playing games and aides. For some years we based a cooperative RPG campaign in N. Robin Crossby's Hârn
using SPI's DragonQuest (1st Edition)
- still some of my fondest gaming memories. Lately some relatively young devotees at work are drawing me into Euro style games. I don't have any strong aversion to them, and they are a nice change of pace, but I still am a wargamer at the core and prefer the games with more of a wargame aspect to them. For their part, the guys are generally open to wargames as well but if it's got more than 8 pages of rules I start seeing their eyes glaze over.
I've moved around a lot (26 times so far) and as a result play most of my games solo, which I now prefer, but I still like a good F2F when I can find the time and the right game - seldom more than once or twice a year. I like larger, longer games, which makes finding new opponents a little more difficult, but as I am mainly a solo gamer this doesn't really concern me. I prefer operational level games, and when a friend and I played the original SPI War in the East (First Edition)
I found that I had a weakness for monster games, and a penchant for turning small games into larger games (see PanzerBlitz below). I also have a fondness for naval games, though I don't know why, since I've never lived anywhere near the ocean, especially the Avalanche Great War at Sea, and Second World War at Sea series', which lend themselves to monsterfication in my hands.
I also prefer campaign games and have developed quite a few methodologies for solo gaming and campaigning, with miniatures or board games – most often tactical games like PanzerBlitz or, lately, Panzer Grenadier. These days I spend as much time designing fictional campaign rules as I do playing the games. You're as likely to find my game table set up for a Napoleonic skirmish as you would a PanzerBlitz divisional clash over a map of Gettysburg. My affection for PanzerBlitz is based on my familiarity with the system and the way I play it (I have a long running campaign game which has occupied the second deck of my gaming table since October 2009), and continues unabated.
You won't see too many low rated games on my lists; I can usually tell from a look at the components and a read through the rules whether or not I'm going to like a game. My ratings really start at:
5-which is a game that I probably played once and got what I wanted out of it.
6-is a game that passed muster and I would be willing to play again
7-is a game that I intend to play again
8-is a game I tell people about and bring with me on game nights
9-is probably set up on my gaming table, or waiting for another '9' to finish
10-The perfect game, everybody loves it and wants to play - does it exist?
Top 10 = My all-time list
Hot 10 = Played most the past year
I like a good soliloquy.