Play Games - Interact - Have Fun!
We all have our own paths that led us into our present day gaming habits, some more recent and typical of your average BGG'er ("Heard about this game, searched for it on the internet, ended up at BGG"), where others - like myself, couldn't have possibly NOT ended up here - even if we had tried.
The truth is, I've been a gamer as far back as I can remember. I've always been interested in games, even as a very small child. I remember growing up and sharing a bedroom with my younger brother and having a closet full of toys as high up as we could reach (and maybe a few clothes were in there too), but on the top shelf - out of our reach, my dad had a few games stored.
These were not the games I was accustomed to. I had games like Battling Tops, The Flying Nun Game, Egg Race, Uncle Wiggily and Forest Friends; these were the typical games that 5 year olds had at the time. But up on that shelf, far from where my short arms could get to (even ON a chair), were the games I wanted to play.
I have to admit - even back then, I could pick out a good game, as there was some choice stuff up there too. These were games with titles that were out of my small frame of reference. Games with rules that weren't printed on the inside lid of the box top. Games that had HUNDREDS of pieces! I can still see most of them in my head... Feudal, D-Day, Gung Ho, Midway, Dogfight and Hit the Beach.
Occasionally, my dad would have a friend over and down would come one of the games. They'd sit at the kitchen table all day on a Saturday and play. ONE GAME! They'd play it all day long. As a kid , this was both fascinating and horrific! How on earth could they stand to sit still ALL DAY and play the same game. Even more puzzling is that they'd be laughing and having fun. This paradox was the beginning of my fascination with board games I think. For a 5 or 6 year old, my curiousity had been piqued, and from that time on, I would sit along side them. Watching. Waiting. Asking the occasional question.
Well, truth be told, I probably was asking considerably more questions than my father really wanted to answer, but he would explain what was going on the best he could for a 5 or 6 year old and it would placate me for a while. Maybe 2 minutes. And then I'd ask another.
He never sent us away, he knew that eventually, my attention would be diverted elsewhere, but he also knew that I'd be back. Unlike my brother - who could have been the poster child for ADD, I was ok to sit there for long periods of time. As the game was being put away, I would always ask when I would be able to play. With a minumum age of 10 or 12 years on most of those games, the answers were never satisfying to me. 5 or 6 years from then seemed like a millennia to a 1st grader, but my interest never waned as the years went by.
I do remember one day finally managing to get up high enough to pull down my dad'd copie s of both Gung Ho and Midway. I was NOT supposed to get into these but my curiosity was too great. I clearly remember opening up Midway and see all those cardboard counters - there must have been a 100 of them! I looked at all the ships and wondered so many things: how did the board work if there wasn't a path to move on? What did all those numbers mean on the counters? How did it all WORK? I knew then that I would someday find out.
As I moved on to looking at Gung Ho, there was a big moment of panic when I accidently spilled all those pieces out onto the floor! (Side note - this game is so rare there are only 2 pictures in the gallery and NONE of the pieces! They are all in the box at the top right in the image and they look to be drawn about life size to give you some idea of what Im'm talking about). I scrambled to gather them all up, but of course, a few escaped my young eyes. Unfortunately, my dad saw them when he came home and the games were regulated to HIS closet after that, but something had been switched on in me, and from that point on, I began to play games. I asked for them for presents and would head immediately towards the games aisle whenever I was lucky to go to King Norman's Toy's in the Eastridge Mall in San Jose.
It was there I saw all the Avalon Hill games of the time and I BEGGED and pleaded to get one of them for my Birthday year after year. On my 10th Birthday, I finally got my wish. I got a brand new copy of Richthofen's War! I vividly remember opening the box and and staring in amazement at all the cool stuff in there - a colorful board, counters, charts, a huge rulebook!. My best friend Clyde and I would stay at each other's house every few weekends or so and I took this with me the next time i went. We spent all Saturday reading the rules on our own (which was pretty tough for a couple of 10 year olds), and we played it well into the night.
I was hooked.
This was the beginning of some of the best gaming days I've ever had. From that point on, we'd take turns introducing each other to the latest Avalon Hill game... but that is another story.