User Profile for mcszarka
Mike Szarka
Canada
Oshawa
Ontario
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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I have been playing wargames since about 1970. I also enjoy other strategy games and even party games, but wargames are my true love. A lot of my gaming friends are Eurogamers as well as wargamers. However I have learned that I generally don't connect to heavy Euros. For the amount of effort involved I would rather play a wargame with a stronger narrative. I do enjoy lighter Euro games for quick weeknight games over beer and snacks. But the heavy ones often seem to be a mathematical exercise with everyone counting victory points all the time to wiggle ahead. I am also more of a linear thinker and so the "many ways to win" in a lot of Euros leaves me disconnected from the narrative. In wargames you have clarity of purpose - dominate your opponent with force of arms. Plus in good wargames you are playing out a historical reality that could have happened, and that makes it way more interesting.

My brother and I had a "lifetime subscription" to Strategy & Tactics magazine which as I recall we purchased for the princely sum of $200 in the early 70s. It eventually ran out when SPI changed ownership but it was a pretty good deal. We purchased many games from SPI, AH, VG and GDW in that era, before university when gaming was sidelined for both of us (majors in chemistry and physics do not allow for much free time). I later had a subscription to Command Magazine which had great games and I enjoyed them a lot, especially as I was a grad student and $30-$50 on a boxed game at the time seemed incredibly extravagant. For a while in the 90s I was a game reviewer for a few mags including Fire and Movement and Zone of Control if I recall correctly.

I was preoccupied with other things besides games for a long time but in the past few years have made time for gaming again, and I have updated my collection through BGG math trades and eBay. Much of my wargaming used to be solo but I have recently met some wargamers close by thanks to BGG so I am finally getting some FTF action again. But more than that I have discovered VASSAL and this has completely changed my gaming focus, to the point where I don't play solo much any more. I have a few friends who play lighter "weeknight" wargames and Euros with me almost once a week, and game night is often one of the highlights of my week.

My wife and I play games regularly, our favourite being Pandemic. Co-op games are best when it's just the two of us for a whole bunch of reasons! With friends it tends to be card games (mostly euchre) or party games.

Professionally I am a physical chemist and have worked for the last 15 years in "technology transfer" which is the attempt to take new discoveries from academic research and turn them into new products or processes. Along the way I have become skilled in such areas as assessing new technologies, patent law, licensing and raising capital for new ventures. Almost all of my adult life has been spent studying at or working for universities; I didn't finish my last degree until I was in my early 30s, and only worked for two years in a consulting firm before returning to work in research administration and technology management. As one might expect my personal philosophies are generally left-wing (I believe selfishness is the scourge of humanity) and uber-rationalist (I believe science and scientific investigation to be the highest achievements of humanity and the only worthwhile basis for any belief). Humanity's greatest threats are, beyond a doubt, climate change and depletion of natural resources. My professional focus is nurturing chemical technologies that alter manufacturing processes so as to reduce pollution, aka "green chemistry".

Besides wargaming my other main hobby is playing bagpipes; I played at the highest level of pipe band competition (Grade 1) competing three times in Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland, placing in the top ten bands in the world on one occasion. Now I play in a less demanding competitive grade (Grade 3) to make time for other things.

I am happily married with two daughters, and most of our summers are spent camping in our tent trailer. Living in Ontario there are beautiful places close by in every direction. And I have a few games that fit on the little table in our trailer.
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User Details for mcszarka
Registration Date: 2008-02-01
Last Profile Update: 2014-07-30
Last Login: 2015-04-28
Country: flag Canada
State: Ontario
Town/City: Oshawa
Website:
GeekMail: mail Send Private Message to mcszarka
Collection Summary for mcszarka
Board Game
Owned   450
Previously Owned   178
For Trade   26
Want In Trade   39
Want To Buy   0
Want To Play   141
Preordered   8
Wishlist   4
Commented   226
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   884
Board Game Expansion
Owned   50
Previously Owned   10
For Trade   0
Want In Trade   7
Want To Buy   0
Want To Play   2
Preordered   1
Wishlist   3
Commented   11
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   104
Board Game Accessory
Owned   0
Previously Owned   0
For Trade   0
Want In Trade   0
Want To Buy   0
Want To Play   0
Preordered   0
Wishlist   0
Commented   0
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   1
Fandom
Board Game 3
Marketplace
For Sale 1
Sold 6
Rating 16
Plays
Board Game Plays 420 Total | By Month | Last 30 Days | Chronological
Board Game Expansion Plays 7 Total | By Month | Last 30 Days | Chronological
Trades
Trade Rating (81) Propose A Trade With This User
Ratings
Board Game Ratings 301
Average Rating 6.62
10 5   (1.7%)
9 22   (7.3%)
8 41   (13.6%)
7 132   (43.9%)
6 59   (19.6%)
5 26   (8.6%)
4 14   (4.7%)
3 2   (0.7%)
2 0   (0.0%)
1 0   (0.0%)
Board Game Expansion Ratings 17
Average Rating 7.03
10 1   (5.9%)
9 1   (5.9%)
8 4   (23.5%)
7 8   (47.1%)
6 1   (5.9%)
5 1   (5.9%)
4 0   (0.0%)
3 1   (5.9%)
2 0   (0.0%)
1 0   (0.0%)
Board Game Accessory Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
10 0   (0.0%)
9 0   (0.0%)
8 0   (0.0%)
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6 0   (0.0%)
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Top 10
#1: Amateurs to Arms!
#2: Combat Commander: Europe
#3: World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin
#4: Paths of Glory
#5: Up Front
#6: Mr. Madison's War: The Incredible War of 1812
#7: Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975
#8: No Retreat! The Russian Front
#9: Pandemic
#10: Gin Rummy
Hot 10
#1: Combat Commander: Europe
#2: Amateurs to Arms!
#3: World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin
#4: Mr. Madison's War: The Incredible War of 1812
#5: No Retreat! The Russian Front
#6: 1989: Dawn of Freedom
#7: Europe Engulfed
#8: Wilderness War
#9: Pandemic
#10: Clash of Monarchs
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