50 is too young to die
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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I had some tragic news today : my best friend, and wargaming buddy for 25 years, died of heart trouble a few weeks ago.

He had just turned 50 years old, and his death makes no sense to me - he was fit and active, didn't overeat, and was thin as a rake - the opposite to me.

His family have lost a loving son and brother, and I have lost my best friend, a man I loved like the brother I never had. I miss him terribly already, and I grieve for that and the senseless waste of his death.

To honour his memory, I offer this list, inadequate though it is.





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1. Board Game: ASL Action Pack #5: East Front [Average Rating:8.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.27 Unranked]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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Our last face-to-face session was on the 25th and 26th of March, and the last scenario we played was "The Meat Grinder" from the latest ASL Action Pack. I liked it so much that I bought the Pack, and we would have enjoyed many more scenarios from it. He died a couple of days later.


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2. Board Game: The Russian Campaign [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:761]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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This was our very first game - I still have the original copy, much battered. Paul took up lodgings in the same place as me in Loughborough in 1983, and swiftly showed that he was an excellent chess player. After seeing the effort he put into the old computer game Rings Of Darkness, I figured he might be interested in the wargames I'd seen advertised in Military Modelling. In March 1984, we went down to Skytrex Models to choose our first game, and settled on this one. We chose wisely ! When I moved back to Lichfield in 1985, this was the first game we pbm'ed, and the first of many pbm games in which he kicked my butt.
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3. Board Game: Battle of the Bulge [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2876]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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Paul was a fearsomely-good gamer, far more able than me to think several turns ahead, so he excelled in games like this where position of one's pieces is supremely important. After finally gaining a defensive win in this, I swore that I would never play it again, a decision he accepted with his usual good grace.


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4. Board Game: Fortress Europa [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2417]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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The vast majority of our games in the early days were Avalon Hill classics such as this one. Of all our hard-fought battles (and there were many : we're both competitive), this was the most hard-fought. An early German victory for me outraged his historical sensibilities, and we fought many 'grudge' matches after that, once playing this for 26 hours non-stop !


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5. Board Game: Breakout: Normandy [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:574]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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Fortress Europa and Russian Campaign were superseded by this and Russian Front. We mostly played RF by mail due to its length - I don't think I ever won ! We mostly played BKN face-to-face, standing around the table to throw the dice because we were too excited to sit down. This is one of our favourite games, and we were pretty evenly matched.


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6. Board Game: Victory in the Pacific [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:875]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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As we got older, I realised that our competitive edge had dulled a little, and that we were playing games for the challenge and enjoyment of them, rather than the desire to chalk up another win. These later years were the best, when we had nothing to prove and just enjoyed the game. We tended to start a FTF session with Victory In The Pacific, because it was a nice, easy, knockabout game that set the mood for the rest of the week.



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7. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:126]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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We played many games over the 25 years, and many fell by the wayside, but ASL has endured, to eventually dominate our sessions. With so many modules released, Paul saw no point in investing in any other game, although he did like my Ardennes '44. We joked many times that there were more scenarios available than we could play in our lifetimes, and looked forward to old age, retirement, and endless balmy days of gaming. I can still look forward to retirement, but there will be no gaming fun anymore.

Goodbye, old friend, "...and forever, brother, hail and farewell".





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