I started my gaming life at the ripe old age of 13. I happened to be in Southwest Plaza Mall in Denver and walked into a game store loaded with Avalon Hill. After window shopping a few times I finally dropped the 15 bucks and bought B-17 Queen of the Skies. I was a fan of WW2 and loved the Bomber. I think my parents were a little surprised to see their 13 year old studying a manual. I remember my dad asked to see it and after looking through the typical rules format for AH he asked "This is a game?" At 13 I developed my rules reading system. Read all the way through, reasonable fast putting little tick marks next to those things I didn't understand and erasing them along the way as the light bulb finally turned on. After my read through I tried to make since out of my tick marked areas and then did a set up and play through. After the first run I re-read the rules to make sure I had everything right. As a kid I had never been that thorough but was so into wanting to play the game and wanting to get it right (lesson to parents, get your kids involved with gaming). I remember when I got into HS and college, reading text books seemed easy. I didn't realize I had been training myself to read, comprehend and put into action some fairly complicated material. I lived in the Colorado mountains and didn't know anyone who played the games so I stuck to solitaire games mostly. Boy I wish the Geek, podcasts and message boards had been around then, all I had was the General.
As I aged I still pulled out some of my games but didn't play them too often and had been playing a lot of PC games. In one of my PC magazines they had a section called 'Cardboard Corner'. They did a review of Ticket to Ride. I bought it in hopes my wife might join my hobby, I knew war games were not her cup of tea. She liked Euro's better then me and wanted more games. She organized her co-workers and had them come over to the house for game night. Next thing you know she wants to set up a regular game night. About this time Marshall Phillips appears in the local paper talking about how board games have changed and references TTR. We joined the local board game club he organized and now spend most of our leisure time with friends and family gaming. We even went so far as to attend the WBC a few years ago. My wife was turned off by the high cost to just attend the open gaming and we haven't been back since but I've attended the BGG con in Dallas and it will be perfect.
Here's to 1983 and all the wonderful time spent playing and making new friends.