BGG 2014 in-progress schedule:
Wed 1pm-6pm Age of Conan w/ Dave, David, Brother of David, main room
Wed 7pm-9pm Wargamer's Meet and Greet, Johnnson
Wed 9pm-? Age of Conan w/ Jon, Dave, Gnomish Mustard, main room
Thu 8am-11am Churchill w/ Joe Miner, location TBD
Thu 1pm-6pm (setup @12) EE 1 map w/ Geoff, Hobby
afternoon also observe Gunslinger and Flying Colors
Fri 9am-5pm (setup @8am) EE 2 map w/ James, Daniel, Hobby
Fri 7pm Hannibal w/ Alexander, location TBD
Sat 8am-5pm (setup @7am!) Republic of Rome w/ TM, ?, Alex, Cory, Bill, Hobby?
Sat 7pm-12pm (setup @6pm) WotR w/ Grant, Hobby
Sun 10am-close (setup @9:30am) Successors w/ Chris, Geoff, Alexander, location TBDFillers in car:
Junta Viva El Presidente (my variant)
Arctic Scavengers with expansion
A Few Acres of Snow
Duel in the Dark
Merchants and Marauders
The avatar is Kyoshi, our Shiba Inu we adopted from Shiba Scout Rescue in Colorado.Geek of the Week #353 - chargetheguns
I've been enjoying Geek of the Week since it first started, so big thanks to Jan for asking me to join this excellent tradition. Jan has been a longtime fan of my Napoleon in Europe variant, and for reading through that monster it's the least I can do to accept his GotW invitation.
As a somewhat eclectic wargamer, I'm not exactly in the mainstream at BGG, so I expect to hear from some new-to-me folks this week, which is great. I'm not as active here as I was say from 2005 - 2007, but I still check in at least once a day and on ConsimWorld. Despite all its controversies, BGG is a fantastic lifeline to the gaming community, and I'm thankful for Aldie and Derk and all the other people here who keep it going.
I came to the world in the usual way, playing Monopoly and Risk pretty obsessively whenever I could. I was born in Denver, moved to Seattle, then moved to Texas in 1972. I remember getting my elegant grandmother to play Risk when I was about 8, which was no small achievement back then. A few years after moving to Texas, a neighbor gave me his copy of Panzerblitz, and another his copy of Luftwaffe, which fired my early interest in wargames - but I knew nothing else about them until high school. I read a lot though about the American Revolution, WW I & II. I probably read more than anyone else I knew, and I still pretty much keep that up today. I was definitely "the game kid" in the family. Also pre-high school, I remember finding this curious box called "Dungeons and Dragons" at the local hobby store. I was deeply hooked from the start on D&D, and GM'd for an active group for many years. I'm more into theme than mechanics, so I still take a kind of role-playing approach to games, even though I haven't sat down for an actual RPG session since about 1982. D&D and Tolkien were huge for me; at 14 I got to spend a long summer in Britain. As you can imagine it was all castles and Oxford and Roman ruins, oh my. That summer led to studying Latin and reading things like Beowulf and Dante's Inferno in my spare time.
In high school we played Illuminati, Junta, Advanced Civ. and Nukewar, with some Diplomacy thrown in, and one memorable game of Squad Leader. After losing my scholarship at my first university (could it have been the excessive computer games?) I slowly finished up my Math/C.S. degree, while teaching Fencing, at a pace that allowed lots of gaming. I wanted to do full up World in Flames, but most of the time with that group it was Axis & Allies, Shogun, Fortress America or Cosmic Encounter. I think we finished over 200 full games of Axis & Allies in the mid '80s. I also played a ton of the play-by-snail-mail "Hyborian War", which - amazingly - is still in operation today. We were in severe dire need of German games and CDGs back then, but no one knew it.
After college I married my wife, who has put up with my gaming habit from high school to today. She is, by the way, my most successful opponent - she has an eerie way of winning nearly everything we play. After a honeymoon backpacking across Europe for a full summer, I settled down in the aerospace industry doing 3D CAD modeling and consulting, and didn't play board games much for many years, although I kept notes on some design projects and made it to Origins '93. I never stopped with computer games, playing flight sims and X Wing and Shogun Total War, etc. We have two boys, the oldest is starting university next year, and the youngest turned 16 last week. They're both awesome musicians and all around incredible kids. They enjoy games occasionally, although less so than I had hoped for. Truth be told, I'm pretty glad they're not as focused on gaming or military history as I am. We still do all kinds of things together; for example, my youngest and I just finished a long project overhauling and rebuilding a 16' catamaran.
Social gaming for me kicked in again in about 2001, with a few years of intense focus on online Diplomacy. I found BGG.com around 2003 while first getting into Napoleonics, which I had never studied before for some reason. This led to a renewed interest in board games and reaching out to find more people to play them with, principally at first victims, er I mean play testers for my variant of Napoleon in Europe. While my Napoleon in Europe efforts have never quite worked out the way I hoped, getting back into board games in general has been a resounding success.
I never buy games just to collect them (that way madness lies, imho). I try to buy only the best in a genre. I'm always on the lookout for games involving both politics and high level military strategy. I'd much rather study one or two games in depth, getting all I can out of them, than try to learn and play a lot of different games. I've backed off playing Euros lately in order to get around to playing some of the more interesting wargames I've had sitting on my shelf for too long.
I guess you could say that the most unusual thing about me as a gamer is how much effort I put into studying, and usually fixing, rules. I just don't like playing games with any holes in the rules, ever. I had a lifetime's worth of arguing during games in my Axis & Allies days and in general I just hate in-game rules discussions, even when I start them. So I've gained a bit of geek-fame over the years for the number of games for which I've collected an FAQ, contributed to an FAQ, or partially or completely re-written the rules. My background in software, process control, and technical writing (and sheer obsessive bloody mindedness, some would say) seems to give me unusual insight into what a set of rules needs to be complete. Anyway I've had some success with this, most notably with Guns of August, Napoleon in Europe, and 1805: Sea of Glory. I've also put together some well-received variants and scenarios; a few of these have been published in gaming magazines. While some game designers appreciate this kind of thing, it's also put me at crossed swords with some of the biggest names in wargaming, whose egos unfortunately often exceed their play testing and proof reading skills.
Since about 2004 I've been part of gaming groups in Texas and South Carolina that expanded my gaming horizons quite a bit. I've gamed with people 40 years younger than me and 40 years older (I'm currently 46). I'm finally to the point where I have face to face folks for about any game I'd like to play. Odd as it sounds, being semi-retired since 2009, the main limit to my gaming is finding the time for it. However you can always find me now at BGG.con, since I live very close to Dallas. I also spend too much time on the MMORPG "Pirates of the Burning Sea".
Two things I'd like to change about my game playing are - I often forget rules (even my own!) in the middle of games, and I'm sometimes prone to analysis paralysis. On the other hand, I'm not usually patient enough to enjoy PBEM.
I'm really quite close to finally trying to design and publish an original game. It's going to be an interesting ride.
Besides games, reading, and history, I'm into water sports of all kinds (certified life guard), aviation, travel, snow skiing, racquetball, Scouts, and playing bagpipes and piano. I make some awesome blueberry scones, and yes I really do have a working trebuchet.