I started gaming long long ago with family games like Battleship, Risk, Chess, Rack-O, Gin Rummy, and Pinochle. Then Dad brought home Avalon Hill’s Outdoor Survival which was pretty cool. I got further into war games and got Richthofen’s War which is one of my favorite wargames. Wooden Ships & Iron Men is another of my favorites. Other war games I got in to were Luftwaffe, Blitzkreig, and Kreigspiel.
About that time I joined the military. I went to the local military recreation center and played a few games of cards and even went to a war gaming convention where I did pretty well with Richthofen’s War.
As it happens, one evening after finishing a game of double pack pinochle, I wandered over to another table where a group of folks were gathered around a map. Specifically I remember little periods in front of line drawings of city streets. At one end of the table was a thin yellow cardboard screen. Two the right of the screen, the guy had a large briefcase opened and on end. When I started to see what he had, he chased me away I didn’t know it then but I suspect it was the original City State adventure.
After several games, I went out and bought the new D&D boxed set. Blue book, Dungeon Geomorphs, and the Monster and Treasure tables. I created some dungeons using the geomorphs and populated them with the monsters and treasures from the tables.
About that time I was transferred to Erlangen Germany. That was where I got fully into gaming. I played wargames with the gaming group and copied a bunch of articles from The Dragon magazines that were stashed in the group room.
I got a gaming group together and we played quite a lot of AD&D. I’d picked up the DMG (with the misprint so I had to send it back to get a replacement), Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual. I also picked up lots of other interesting gaming books.
Once back in “The World”, I got gaming again. AD&D. Car Wars. Cosmic Encounters. Talisman. Nuclear War. Tunnels and Trolls. I picked up modules and rules from other games. We organized into a club and with the help of the Rec Center staff, we hosted a couple of conventions.
When I got out of the military, I hooked up with a gaming group after we moved. I wrote the group newsletter and organized a get together with another AADA chapter.
The next time we moved, the gaming community was much lighter. I was able to get some games together but it didn’t happen often. I got deeper into computer gaming. My friends at work and I got into LAN parties. First at work then at home. My last gaming group consisted of my older daughter’s Rifts group. After burning and pillaging my gaming city and minor destruction in my home, I basically hung up my gear.
One good thing about gaming happened several years earlier after returning from Germany. I used computers to manage my games. I learned to program to create character generation and monitoring programs. I got a programming job after I got out of the military and then moved to LAN installation and administration. Novell, 3Com, Microsoft, Dos and OS/2. It’s a big reason I moved into LAN parties. I already had a home network. I got into usenet and enjoyed using Mosaic to retrieve information from the new World Wide Web.
I downloaded Slackware Linux to floppy disks and mucked about with it. I changed jobs again from a Windows admin and became a Solaris Unix admin. Irix, AIX, HP-UX, Tru64, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Red Hat, Slackware, Mandrake, but mainly Solaris.
I’d tried bringing folks into gaming but everyone seemed to be a the level of parlor games and card games. Uno for example. I couldn’t even get a good game of Cosmic Encounters going.
I’d considered selling my gaming gear to Titan Games. I packed it all up, got a listing of what I had and submitted it but they kicked back a far too low value and I’d have to pay to ship the 8 or 10 book sized boxes to them. So I just held on to them.
In Dec 2006, after much pestering from my wife, I unpacked my gaming gear with an eye to selling it all to reduce the number of boxes kicking around the house. I got them all out, organized them, and got rid of some miscellaneous papers, and then got to rpg.net. I created an inventory of my games and noted which ones I want to sell and started poking around in the sites that were associated with the games I like. Dumpshock for Shadowrun, Paranoia-Live for Paranoia, SJGames for Car Wars, etc…
In part because I was working from home and didn’t have anything in the way of social interaction, I signed up for a new local Meetup group owned by Jon. I went to a game at his place where they’d just finished up a Shadowrun game. Since they were going to start a DnD campaign, I didn’t go to any further meetings. In August 07, a Wednesday Shadowrun 3rd game started and I started attending that game.
In September I ran a Shadowrun 4th Edition game at a local FLGS, my first time running a game in 14 years. I was totally nervous and a little fearful. I’d run a Shadowrun 1st and 2nd edition game or three back when it first came out and didn’t do very well. But the SR4 game actually went very well. The players were quite patient and helpful. Quite unlike my experience when I stopped playing.
Dec 07, I ran a one shot Paranoia game that the players are still talking about. I ran the 5th or 6th Shadowrun session not long after and we’ll be heading off into uncharted territory. I ran a Shadowrun 4th game at Tacticon 2008 with much success.
I’m still running and playing. I mostly run Shadowrun but have a good group that lets me dabble in other games so we’ve played Rogue Trader and Call of Cthulhu as well as All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Paranoia. This year I’ll be running an All Flesh Must Be Eaten game, My Life With Master, and Paranoia XP along with a Pandemic + On The Brink board game and a bunch of card games on Sunday.