I'm a computer programmer (or 'software developer', to be more formal; I think the term 'engineer' is inappropriate no matter how many companies like to use it!) Before that I got a degree in mathematics - which undoubtedly fits in with why I like playing games.
I've played games for as long as I can remember - initially just the sort of games you can find in any toy store. I am moderately good at chess, but am equally fascinated by the other classic games of this type. These are all spoilt for me by the need to devote a lot of time if you want to really become good at them... except that I am still fascinated by Go
, just because it turns a fairly simple ruleset into an incredibly deep game.
Sometime during my childhood I was given a hex-and-counters style board wargame (Starship Troopers
, in fact). As someone who finds military history and strategy and tactics very interesting, I rapidly got hooked on this new (to me) type of game, though finding anyone else willing to play one was always difficult.
Shortly before I started University, this led me to acquire a book about board wargames, which included some discussion of Diplomacy
. Which I promptly bought. At University, I found the Diplomacy Society, which I joined, and eventually this lead to me becoming part of a Dip team at Manorcon, where I began to discover the range of other games around (which wasn't particularly big in those days).
When Die Siedler von Catan (Settlers)
came out, I quickly bought a set to play with my little brothers (I have three, with the oldest being 12 years younger than me). And I've never looked back! Even if vanilla Settlers does seem very basic and nowhere near as good a game as it seemed then...
These days I'm the mad fool who volunteers to look after the Registration Desk at Manorcon
, which at least means that there are now a lot of other gamers who recognise me, even if I have no idea who they are (I have a very
poor memory for faces). In addition to the UK convention circuit, I also attend the Guildford games group
most weeks, and (until recently moving away) the much newer Epsom Games Club
virtually every week.
I'm happy to try just about any game, though I tend to keep away from games that have attracted a lot of serious attention and analysis (e.g. Dominion
). I also prefer games that have at least some external randomness so that you have to adjust your play each game - but not too much! (Except, of course, for deliberately short, light, fun games.)
I like to think I am particularly good at picking up rules quickly - though I don't always figure out the implications of the rules for a while.
My pet hate about games is rules that are not presented in a clear logical fashion or contain lots of ambiguities or inconsistencies. I'm not sure why so many rulesets are so bad (though undoubtedly translating doesn't help); I'd be happy to help anyone who reads this and wants help with writing their rules!