Philip Slater
Malta
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Hello everyone from a cold UK.
It's been a while since I posted on here despite visiting the site on a weekly basis. I continue to read and digest every article, review and opinion with the same interest and enthusiasm that I held at the start of my 'war gaming life' in the early 1960's.

How things have changed since I started this great hobby, which has served me for over 50 years and given me so much pleasure and satisfaction, whilst at the same time readily parting me with vast sums of money.

From the start of the 1960's my sole interest was gaming on huge diorama tables using vast numbers of Napoleonic 12mm figures, all painstakingly painted, along with brilliant terrain and landscapes. An inch thick 'Shock of Impact' rules manual together with a huge array of specialist measuring devices, all accompanied by 4 tool boxes of Napoleonic figures, all based and landscaped to an incredible degree of reality.

Reality that in those times, sometimes demanded that both players, a referee, an adjudicator and officials all retired to study and evaluate the legality of just one move, fire or sight line query. Those were the days! Very often adjudicated by high ranking military men, 2 hours debate on any particular issue was not unusual. No wonder our hobby, at that time, wasn't the magnet for youth it has since become. It was filled with elderly men, mostly of military stock, who would insist on accuracy of detail if it took all night to get there....and it often did!!

Marriage and kids (x2) came along and my hobby was literally shelved for a few years and whilst I would still pass a few hours, most pleasurably, in painting a regiment or two, my interest in wargaming diminished and came to a natural halt for a few years.
The battalions and regiments, the equipment, scenery and landscape were almost given away at a local car boot sale and along came computers!! with their insane graphics and annoying beeping noises.

Within just a few years, I yearned for a gaming environment once again and I really chastised myself for getting rid of my superb Napoleonic hoards. Companies like Avalon Hill etc were moving into serious gaming territory and a few purchases were made. My memory fades now but I do re-call Ambush, Mosby's Raiders and Raid on St Nazaire all being quite early purchases (amongst many others)

A divorce and re-settlement in Gozo in no way prevented me from steaming ahead with my new found and newly anticipated world of gaming. I really cannot think now of many games that I have not played. (especially war game genres) Most were shuffled around to be played solo, an experience that in my opinion, opens up a game to real and proper analysis and scrutiny and provides a base for historic learning like nothing else in life does.

In Summer 2014, I fell ill with a breathless condition. I had been to India for 3 months doing some charity work and I presumed that I had brought back an infection but after a while in a coronary ward,
then suffering a stroke, I was informed that my Heart, it' badly leaking Mitral Valve, it's AF condition and it's Coronary Vessel disease may be prevented from fatal arrest only by a complex 3 pronged surgical open heart procedure, a triple by-pass, an ablation and a new Mitral Valve.
The risks have been explained to me and really, there is no choice for without the op there can only be one outcome.

Gaming and BGG have been massive factors of enjoyment in my life. I have my fingers crossed for more of the same after my operation.
I would be more than happy to know that I have the support of my fellow gamers.

Non of us ever know what's around that next corner and many of our problems are really nothing at all.

Thanks for permitting this lengthy and quite personal message.

EDIT...SORRY I WANTED TO POST THIS ON A MORE GENERAL BOARD> CAN IT BE MOVED PLEASE
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Ron H
United States
Washington
Missouri
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I play Memor 44,Tide of Iron, and Axis and Allies:1942!
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I will be praying for you. I got into war gaming in the 70's playing Luftwafe at a friends house. I currently really enjoy Memoir 44 (have all expansions except the bag), I just got Tide of Iron (been wanting this one for a while), love all Axis & Allies Board Games. (haven't played D-Day yet). Plus I have "invented" some of my own war games, Archipelago of Gold (which uses POSM and beyond ships), Quick War (which uses 1:144 armor and infantry), and a space combat game that uses cardboard chits and hex space maps (I started working on this one in the late 70's and want to get it published some day).

When is your surgery going to happen? I wish you all the best, and you will be in my prayers.
Ron
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Phil McDonald
England
Staffordshire
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Hi from another Phil in the UK.

Are you cold? I thought we were having a mild winter... Gozo must have made you soft.

I shall be 60 this year so I have a lot of gaming to look back on too, but the 60's were more about Monopoly and Risk for me. Wargame miniatures in the early seventies, D&D in the late seventies, Games Workshop, SPI and Avalon Hill in the eighties, a break in the nineties and then CDG's, Civ games and Ameristyle games this century...

Rahdo, who does excellent (if breathless) game videos is in Malta, but I expect you know that.

As a wargamer with no ready opponents for the longer CDG's that I enjoy most, the vassal gaming system has been an absolute lifesaver for me, mostly by email. For instance I have played over 40 games of Paths of Glory by email using vassal, and it looks exactly like the boardgame.

If you haven't tried it I highly recommend that you do so...

http://www.vassalengine.org

Edit: I changed next year to this year... forgot the new year... it's my age
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Ruben Rigillo
Italy
Roma
Rm
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All the best for (with?) your surgery!
I wish you 40 more gaming years!!!
...I just have 30 under my belt...
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Philip Slater
Malta
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Ron,

Thanks so much. My surgery date has yet to be fixed. Between the end of Jan and March...but it could be at ridiculously short notice if either a cardio-thoracic surgeon or a theatre becomes unexpectedly free at the last minute. I have a bag prepared at home for such a phone call.

Phil
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Philip Slater
Malta
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Ruben,

Many thanks. Right now, I'd take just a couple more years!!
Fingers crossed and god bless and guide the surgeon.

Phil
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Philip Slater
Malta
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Phil McD

Thank you for you support. I have considered Vassal on many occasions but never did I have the 'courage' to jump away from hard copy games with a physical map or board.
I.T. has left me behind a little and I do regret that.

You are quite correct about the Ghawdex (Gozo) weather spoiling me. I'd still be there were it not for my illness and family.

I coached pro-football in Malta & Gozo, having obtained my UEFA coaching badges sometime ago. That would seem to be at an end now!!

Phil

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Lewis Karl
United States
Vienna
Virginia
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I wish you the best of luck Phil. Gaming is something we all have in common and it was nice hearing your story.

I too have a life-threatening heart condition that will eventually require major surgery, but not as immediate as yours. In the states, they like to wait until the last possible moment to do this type of operation, probably because insurance companies are footing the bill.
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Roy Hasson
Israel
Kfar Saba
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Hi Phil,

What a great story.

The best of luck in your operation - I am sure you will come out the other side all the better for it ready for many more war-games.

Feel better soon, and let us all know how the operation went!

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P. Fowler
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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Good to hear from you. Maybe you can get a few of those referees into the OR and have them make sure they put everything in the exact spot with some of those "specialist measuring devices"?
 
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Paolo Desalvo
Italy
Country side area north of Rome
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GozoPhil) wrote:
Hello everyone from a cold UK.
It's been a while since I posted on here despite visiting the site on a weekly basis. I continue to read and digest every article, review and opinion with the same interest and enthusiasm that I held at the start of my 'war gaming life' in the early 1960's.

Hi Phil,

I entered the wargame world in early 70s, a really hard thing for an Italian leaving in a little province town. To do it I searched for months the 100 coupons from a bubble gum. I till have it somewhere.
I came in contact with the AH and SPI wargames in 1977, when they started to be imported, and from that moment I enjoyed them as I could, As you said I tested many of them in solo games that allowed me a better performance when a true opponent was available. I've a lot of titles, several of them to compare the differences in the systems used to recreate a situation, that allowed me to create many new scenarios and areas. Among the other things that I made there is the Indian Ocean Map for Flat Top and other things, but I till keep the wish, as we said to each other with Ruben Rigillo/Qwirz, to try to play each at least once.
For this reason, in this difficult period of your life, feel me on your wing. Then Malta is not so far away from Italy, you never know. cool
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John Eldon
United Kingdom
Verwood
Dorset
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I'm also from a similar time period

I started out with 25mm figures
Usually i played either Ancients or the renaissance rules created by WRG (Wargames research group)They went from version 1 to version 6 (My favorite) before concentrating on 15mm versions (Version 2 for the renaissance period was the version to play!)

My favorite period was the renaissance and my mighty Russians (Well maybe not so mighty, when compared to the poles ETC)

I had armies for just about all of the Byzantine variants and periods for the ancient period as well as Vikings and Cossack's

Unfortunately finding people who are still alive with 25mm armies is almost impossible, so most of these armies have been sitting patiently on specially made display shelves in the garage (Well actually the garage of the last 5 houses that i have lived in!)

Like you i have tried all types of games over the years from D&D to war hammer before moving on the the more traditional type board games that now dominate the market

BGG has been a superb resource and aid over the years

Today i belong to a really good wargames/boardgame group that originally was almost all figure games but today is all board games.

We all like to try out new games so most of the time we will have a new game make the table for a couple of weeks and every now and then we will roll out one of the old classics or a game that were previously well received.

Kickstarter is a boon for those of us that unfortunately do not live near to a FLGS although i have also supported many FLGS online

The hobby is growing fast with bigger companies taking over the smaller ones (Asmodee/Days of wonder is a good example) The extra money and new technology available can only improve the range and quality of the games now available.

This a a very interesting period for those of us who have been around a few years and have seen these changes start to happen!

I hope your medical issues can be successfully resolved and that you have many years of good gaming ahead of you

Regards
John


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Tom Thomas
United States
Houston
Texas
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Phil,

I was touched by the personal narrative that you described so eloquently. It seemed to vividly put in context, the satisfaction and joys of gaming across the backdrop of a life lived.

I would say that I will be praying for you if I believed in prayer, so instead I will say what I can honestly say.

You have my support, my well wishes for a full recovery, and my respect for someone who seems to have it in all in the right perspective.


Tom
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ROGER DEAL
United States
Oak Ridge
Tennessee
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Hi Phil. I have just finished an eight week cancer treatment that took everything I had just to endure. When I could I turned to Vassal to get me through this ordeal. If you haven't tried it you should give it a go. It is easy to find opponents and even easier to play most games solitaire (which is what I do).

I discovered the world of wargaming when I saw and bought a copy of Avalon Hill's STARSHIP TROOPERS in 1979. I also got into miniatures (28mm) and had a dedicated game room with a large game table fully loaded. I built mountains, castles, towns and all the other goodies that make miniature gaming so enjoyable. In the late 90's I moved to a smaller house and had to give up my game room. I gave all my terrain to my nephew and sold most of my miniatures on eBay. How sad that was. I got into computer gaming for a while but deep strategy titles were being replaced with twitch games and soon all I had was X-Com and John Tiller games. Then a couple of years ago I stumbled upon BBG and a whole new world of gaming opened up for me. I loved the new games that were coming out from LNL and Two Hour Wargames and many others. Last year I learned of Vassal and have had a blast playing a lot of games I missed in the past few years. There are hundreds of games represented on the Vassal web site. I even got into creating my own modules of favorite games and designing a few original games. It's a great hobby!

I wish you the very best and hope for your speedy recovery. There's a lot of gaming to look forward to!

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Steven Packard
United States
Palmdale
California
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Wow.

Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into your life. I love reading about people's passion for gaming, in whatever form.

I think it was brave and insightful to reach out to other gamers right now, especially since you're not a prolific poster on BGG. I'm glad you did.

You will continue to have my prayers, and those of the Bible study group I host. I'll also be praying for Lewis and Roger. May all of you quickly and fully recover to good health and good gaming.

I hope all of you keep us updated on how things are going with you.

 
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Stevenson Junior
Czech Republic
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Good luck Philip! May everything in your life become great once again!
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