The second day in the United States (not actually the second day – but before that I was too young to remember) the neighbor kid came over to see if there was anyone new to play with. I was six or seven and was first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons before going to my first FLGS (Games Plus in Mount Prospect Illinois – old location). My first D&D character was a paladin – and I didn’t know what a paladin was but it required high charisma which to me seemed important. When you are six or seven playing D&D with others the same age Charisma is NOT important.
A few years later I see “Third World War” on the shelves of Games Plus. I already own Axis and Allies which I can get my friends to play from time to time; and this one has a guy with a gas mask on the cover. I spend my allowance. I open it up and it is completely indecipherable, but I am determined. I buy some other “bookshelf games” with my allowance (by now my dad forbade me to buy “toys”). I study them but cannot teach them to my friends. We still play D&D. a few years later my father throws out all my toys including my board games (equating them all to something like “Candyland”). I get to keep my D&D books though because they are books and my father never really understood the concept.
A few years later I enter Jr. High School and my friends decide that D&D is stupid and for children. I disagree and most give me their books. I find / form another group at school to play with. Now the game to play is the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” game. I also reacquire Axis and Allies now that I have a steady group of friends to play with. Nintendo also starts to take up more and more of my time, I try to attach a hard drive to my Nintendo and break it.
I’m now in High School and moved to a new neighborhood. For a few years I do not find any gaming friends, I’m mostly into music and experimenting with being young. I do find a group of friends and we now start playing “Vampire” from White Wolf and “Magic the Gathering”. I meet an awesome girl who got me to tone down the experimenting part of my life, but I’m still late to picking her up to senior year homecoming due to playing Magic. I grow my hair long and start my strange fascination with hats. By the time I go off to college I’m no longer into Magic playing my last game at Gen Con, the same one I think where Scotty almost ran me over in a golf cart (I think they all blur together for a time).
Two years in college: I’m still playing White Wolf but added their LARP system to my games. I start and run a local game in Wisconsin, it lasts for about a semester. Tried some other role-playing games out but start getting into miniature gaming, primarily Warhammer 40k where I buy an Imperial Guard army but never finish painting them. Meanwhile I head back into D&D (2nd edition) and have the best campaign ever. A long story that ends with the police confiscating all of my D&D 2nd edition books leads me to give up gaming for a while.
Leave college, travel, no contact with gaming for two years.
Return to college. I get back into LARP gaming and find that there are people who are way more into it than I will ever be. A return to role-playing follows primarily with White Wolf, then a return to board gaming gathering a couple dozen games. Also important I get introduced to eBay and immediately buy some of my long forgotten gems. Most of this time (surprisingly) is spent on studying and working. I graduate and join the Peace Corps heading to Russia which will eventually be the final group to be admitted into that country. eBay helps me auction off most of my gaming items almost 90% of my role-playing collection and a complete copy of Supremacy net me enough travel supplies and an above average laptop.
Leave for Russia and lived in Tver. A long story follows that ends with me and my fellow Peace Corps group leaving Russia. I return and reunite with my girlfriend and move into one of the worst apartments imaginable with a fellow gaming buddy. Hijinks follow. My return into gaming consisted primarily VTES, Warhammer (both minis and the CCG), and some Euro games. Two years and a change of apartment later I move in with my girlfriend and we start hosting game nights playing games like “Settlers of Catan”. At some point I attended my “final” GenCon, I will return someday.
One day I get up and tell my girlfriend that it was time for a change, we were to move to Hawai’i. So we did. I joined an international MBA program and traveled between Japan and Hawai’i for school until my internship and graduation and my return to the United States (where I still am). Between travel and studying (ok – also WoW) gaming was set on the backburner again. After returning and settling into my career (again) was about the time I heard about “Twilight Struggle” and drive to the FLGS (Games Plus in Mount Prospect Illinois – new location). And ask if they have one available, and there was a copy in the new shipment. I wait while they unpack and buy their copy (until a reorder). Future wife and I play it and she loves it.
I find BGG and remember the games that my father threw out many years ago. I return to one of my early loves in wargaming (I buy “Paths of Glory” which the wife also enjoys). Using Meet Up I find a local gaming group playing D&D I join, I don’t click with the group and join another group trying 4E for the first time, we click. We have a good go at playing (about 2 years) some people join and leave, and eventually we start having problems getting the campaign going with the same people. Someone suggests playing board games around the same time when WoC screws with their 4E system and we realize that it wasn’t that great anyway.
So admittedly the group has stayed together and we play board games (though not wargames). I sometimes frequent the FLGS board game night. I still love RPGs (recently tried an Eclipse Phase campaign) and PC gaming (boardgaming needs Steam sales) but I still love boardgames. And here I am 200 games and expansions later: with a hobby to spend money on, a wishlist of games that will never be depleted, a secret wish to have my daughter develop into a capable wargaming opponent, and forever looking for new opponents while enjoying the camaraderie of my friends.