In Memory of a Friend
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Andy posted here under the username alibera. I have been lurking here for many years, but only registered last year at Andy's urging. This is a history of some of the games we played together over 36 years.
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1. Board Game: Xiangqi [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:693]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Spring 1974

I met Andy on the very last day of exams in our freshman year in high school. He saw me in the hall and asked if I'd be interested in a game of Chinese chess. (Andy was taking Chinese at the time). I agreed, and we played a quick game in one of the classrooms. I lost, a result that I blamed on my unfamiliarity with Chinese characters. But I did discover that Andy and I shared an interest in board games, and we lived only a few miles apart, well within bicycling distance.
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2. Board Game: Gettysburg [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:8735]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1974

Andy invited me over, and we tried out his Gettysburg game (actually it was the 1961 edition, with hexagons instead of squares). This was my first wargame, and it took me a while to get the hang of it; I kept confusing the movement and combat numbers. I was the Union, but somehow Andy's army ended up on Cemetery Ridge instead of mine. Not good.
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3. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:3276]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1974

My own game collection was not nearly as extensive as Andy's, but I did have a number of 3M games, which we tried out at my house. This was the most memorable of them.
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4. Board Game: Sports Illustrated Baseball [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3301]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1974

After a few more games that summer, we embarked on our magnum opus. Andy and I were both baseball fans (a requirement of growing up in St. Louis) and he had just received a copy of the Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball game. He had already been working through a tournament before the summer began, so he included me in the final stages of it. The final two teams were the All-Time Athletics and the All-Time Braves, with the Athletics (led by me) winning it all.

But this did not satisfy us. With the foolish single-mindedness of teenage boys, we decided to play an entire season. Lacking any 154-game baseball schedules, we simply drafted all 400 players onto 12 teams, corresponding to the 12 American League franchises at the time, and began to play a 162-game baseball season. The extra players were sent to the "minor leagues", to be called up when injuries or poor play dictated that some other player be sent down. And of course we kept score for every game and Andy maintained meticulous statistics (on lined paper!) for every team and player.

Some amazing things happened that summer. On opening day, Cy Young pitched a near-perfect game, broken up by a Lou Brock single in the bottom of the ninth. An extra-inning marathon ended with Luke Appling (hardly a slugger) hitting a home run in the bottom of the 12th. Some of the best pitchers, including Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, performed abysmally, while Sam McDowell became an unlikely star. We marveled as the Detroit White Sox, a rag-tag band of good-hitting, poor-fielding players, led by Lou Gehrig, Ed Delahanty, and Arky Vaughan, pulled away from the pack in the Eastern Division, while the race in the West remained tight. We haggled over multiplayer trades between our various favorite teams.

But of course this all took a lot of time, and when the summer ended, we had barely made it through May of our baseball season. But the story does not quite end here. Read on.
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5. Board Game: Rise and Decline of the Third Reich [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1077]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Christmas 1974

My interests veered toward very complicated strategic games, so when I saw this one in the store, I snapped it up. Andy and I played a game over the Christmas break, although in retrospect we might have gotten a few of the rules totally wrong (the first-edition rulebook was notoriously vague in places). I played the Allies, and after France fell, I prepared for the inevitable invasion of Russia. Andy, however, put a paratrooper near the English Channel and dropped it right into London, knocking England out of the war. After a few more years of the Germans battering Russia, I conceded the game. The paratrooper in London later became one of the well-known "problems" of this game, to be fixed in later editions.

This still remains one of my favorites, though.
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6. Board Game: Frederick the Great [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:2294]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Spring 1975

Andy got a subscription to Strategy & Tactics (did anyone see that coming??), and Frederick the Great was the first game to arrive. We played the 1758 scenario (Andy was Frederick) and battled to a draw. It was my kind of game - lots of maneuvering and very few battles. Andy recounts part of the game here.

Every two months after that we would eagerly wait for the next Strategy & Tactics game to arrive.
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7. Board Game: 1776 [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2056]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Spring 1975

Andy got this for his birthday. I took the Americans, and we agreed to add two optional rules: Andy would receive the optional combat bonus for the British regulars, and in return, I got the Continental Navy. Andy got the better of that deal. The Continental Navy had a combat strength of 0 and quickly sank beneath the waves. My entire army was soon reduced to a single unit shuttling between two cities in western Pennsylvania. Andy squashed it like a bug.
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8. Board Game: Blue & Gray [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Spring 1976

Andy had a deep interest in the Civil War, and he soon pulled me in that direction, too. He bought both of the SPI Blue & Gray quadrigames, and we played all eight of them in a row.
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9. Board Game: Kingmaker [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1378]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1977

Ah - the summer between high school and college - a time of maximum freedom and minimum responsibility. We had formed a wargames club at my high school a year earlier, and six of us, including Andy and me, continued to get together through the summer after our graduation. We played Kingmaker quite a few times.
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10. Board Game: Invasion: America [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:3772]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1977

And this was another perennial favorite that summer.
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11. Board Game: Sports Illustrated Baseball [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3301]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1978, 1979, 1980

I went off to New Jersey for college in 1977, while Andy stayed in St. Louis, but we still found time to play a few games of our continuing season during holidays and summer vacations. When the computer revolution of the 1980’s arrived, I toyed with the idea of writing a computer simulation to finish off the season, but that idea seemed to undercut the whole point of the game. Andy computerized all of his paper records and continued to maintain meticulous statistics. We watched in dismay as the players in our league began to die in real life: Carl Hubbell, Lefty Gomez, Ted Kluszewski. Meanwhile, our league was frozen in the year that the game was produced (1971); there would be no room for Mike Schmidt, George Brett, or Mark McGwire.
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12. Board Game: Saga [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1982

After college, I went to Cambridge University on a Marshall Scholarship, while Andy got an honest job in St. Louis. Andy came to visit me during the summer, and we drove around England and Scotland for a few weeks (visiting, of course, the Imperial War Museum). Andy was a semi-avid golfer and wanted to play at St. Andrews, the world's original golf course. At the time, it was a public course, and we were able to simply show up and sign up for a tee time (albeit late in the afternoon). By the end of the day (which was pretty late at night, but still light enough to play because of Scotland's northern latitude) we had each lost all but one of our golf balls to the overgrown rough lining the fairways. I shot 163 - the only 18 holes of golf I have ever played.

Andy purchased this rarity in the St. Andrews area. It was a memorable trip, but not a memorable game.
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13. Board Game: Armchair Cricket [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:4816]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Christmas 1982

I brought this back from England. Although it is a card game, it provides a surprisingly accurate simulation of cricket, in which the runs are routine and the outs are the highlights of the game - exactly the opposite of baseball. Andy often said that people who complain about baseball being boring should be forced to watch a cricket match.
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14. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:578]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1983

Andy visited again next summer. It was a less memorable trip, but a much more memorable game. I had just purchased this game, and we sat down to play it in my "sitting room" in Trinity College, only yards away from the lawns where Isaac Newton used to stroll. After reading the rules, we settled down in the afternoon to play - I was the Confederates. Things went well at first, but we got carried away and played late into the night. Around 3 a.m. my army was reduced to scattered bands of guerilla fighters roaming Alabama and Mississippi. Andy attacked one of these tiny armies, commanded by General Joe Johnston, and in the ensuing combat Johnston was killed. I couldn't take it any more, and said, "You shot him! You just took him out back and shot him!" Andy recounted the same incident elsewhere on this website.
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15. Board Game: Trivial Pursuit [Average Rating:5.22 Overall Rank:11073]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1984

I went to Chicago for graduate school, and after a tedious summer in a required lab course, I took a trip with Andy to the New Orleans Worlds Fair. The Fair was a bust, but we saw a number of Civil War sites on the way there and back: Vicksburg, Shiloh, and Fort Jackson. We tried to drive to the mouth of the Mississippi but turned back when the road ran out. We played Trivial Pursuit in the car - a good way to pass the time on a long trip. We were both trivia fanatics, but my Achilles heel was the dreaded "entertainment" category, as Andy noted here.
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16. Board Game: Hit the Beach [Average Rating:5.13 Overall Rank:10300]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1985

Andy met his future wife shortly after the New Orleans trip, and they were married the following summer. I was the best man. We played Hit the Beach at his mother's house the night before the wedding. It was a good game for a bachelor party.
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17. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:578]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Summer 1986

This again? To celebrate the completion of my Ph.D., I took an extended trip back to St. Louis, and Andy and I had a rematch. I took the South again, and things seemed to be going pretty well until I decided that Richmond wasn't really all that crucial to the strategic position of the Confederacy. It was all downhill from there.

This remains one of my favorite games, and was one of Andy's as well.
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18. Board Game: Winter War [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:3247]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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1989

I took a job in Ohio that year, and Andy drove up for a short visit. We had planned to play computer games on my brand-new Amiga (with 1 Mb of RAM!!) but it conked out as soon as he arrived. So we played this instead. I was the Finns, but could not withstand the onslaught on the Mannerheim line and lost the game (does anyone see a pattern developing?)
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19. Board Game: Kadesh: Mobile Warfare in the Ancient Middle East [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:5601]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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1991

I got Andy a subscription to Command Magazine for his birthday. He really enjoyed it, and we got a chance to play Kadesh. I think it was one of the best Command games. I regret that we didn't get to play more of them.
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20. Board Game: Western Front Tank Leader [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3201]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Fall 1994

Andy was transferred to Texas, and I flew down for a brief visit. We were able to play a few games, including this one. I lost.
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21. Board Game: Victory in Normandy [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:3346]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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1999-2000

I had tried a few pbem games over the years, but this is the only one I was ever able to play to completion. Andy was the Allies, and I took the Germans. It's an excellent game for email play, since each side has only a few moves per turn (of course it is 80 turns long). The game was a real nail-biter, going down to the very last turn, when Andy won. I never made an attack during the entire game. Very exciting, although Andy's wife pointed out that our game lasted longer than the campaign it was designed to simulate....
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22. Board Game: Sports Illustrated Baseball [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3301]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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Fall 2001

When Andy's oldest son was old enough, Andy introduced him to this game. He took to it enthusiastically, and they set out to complete the season that we began long ago. By 2001 they reached the All-Star Game, which I participated in by phone. The Eastern Division narrowly defeated the Western, 3-1, behind three no-hit innings and an RBI single by Sandy Koufax, who was only batting .093 in the regular season. (See Andy's comment here).

A few years later I published a short SF story, "Extra Innings," in Analog Magazine. It's a highly fictionalized version of our never-ending baseball season.
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23. Board Game: Across 5 Aprils [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1760]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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2005

We moved to Tennessee, and Andy managed a brief visit in 2005. We were able to finish two of the games in this collection: Bull Run and Shiloh. While not perfect by any means, this is a worthy successor to the Blue & Gray quads. And we also played...
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24. Board Game: Pretty Pretty Princess [Average Rating:4.37 Overall Rank:11043]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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This! My girls really wanted to play Pretty Pretty Princess with Andy and me, and he was a good sport about it. The game lacks strategic depth, and neither Andy nor I looked good in plastic jewelry.
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25. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:6]
Robert Scherrer
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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2009

Andy and his wife visited us to celebrate my 50th birthday. I had gotten into Eurogames several years earlier - my sons enjoyed them and they were much more compatible with family life than my old Avalon Hill war games. We played a four-player game. I won, with Andy a close second (despite his never having played before, while the other three of us were Agricola veterans).
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