It all started several years ago on a day I can’t specifically remember. It must have been around Thanksgiving or Christmas, because I was at my Grandma’s house in Michigan, and those are the times we visited there. I remember sitting comfortably in a chair in the living room. I can’t remember if I was reading or napping.
I do remember some of my older cousins setting up a strange board game on a small table in the same room. It was not monopoly or sorry or chess. It was brand new to me. It had colored, hexagonal tiles and little wooden pieces representing settlements and cities. There was wheat and sheep and bricks. It was all in german.
I remember sitting there, listening to them play, wondering what this game was. Because it sounded a lot better than Monopoly. Most board games I had ever played were either too long and boring (like monopoly) or too simple or too reliant on trivial knowledge. I’m not very good at trivia games, even ones directly related to things I am a fan of.
The game, I later found out, was called “Die Siedlers Von Catan,” the true german version of the Settlers of Catan, which you have probably heard of.
I finally got a chance to play the next summer. My mom’s side of the family goes camping every summer at Hoffmaster Park. There are usually about 7 or 8 families there (I have 10 aunts and uncles, and around 50-60 cousins. i’m not exactly sure because it keeps growing), and those same cousins had brought the game. Camping is a relaxing venture in my family – not a lot of hiking or things that require work, but plenty of sitting around campfires and beaches and campfires again just to relax and talk. And sometimes play games.
I played Settlers. It was new, it was exciting. It was in German so my cousins had to explain the rules. We called the development cards “Super Secret cards” because no one actually knew what the german word for them meant.
I knew there had to be more. I knew this game had to be just the beginning. There had to be more games out there, games that combined strategy and luck and something a little deeper and more interesting than american board games. I was intrigued, and deep down I wanted to be the next person to bring a strange new game to the family.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know where to look. The closest thing I had to a gaming store was Gamers Paradise in the mall, which mostly carried American games, not what I was looking for. They also carried Heroclix, which Bryan interested me in, and that got my attention for a few years.
Over the next few years, the world of hobby gaming became distant to me. I played a little bit of Heroclix. I tried Warhammer 40k, but when the kids who owned sets left, there wasn’t much I could do alone. I dabbled in Dungeons and Dragons but never found a group that held together.
Then the Gamers Paradise went out of business. It was replaced by a teen girl clothing store or something… that was replaced by shoes, and now i think it’s a sports apparel store. Doesn’t matter. When GP closed, we began looking for another place to satisfy our gaming desires. That’s when we found Gamer’s Plus.
It was a tiny little story about 40 minutes away. We drove there to see what it was like. The door into gaming cracked open a little wider. The store was amazing. More miniatures games than I’d ever imagined. tools and supplies for building maps and landscapes. And shelves of board games that you won’t find in your local Walmart.
The door was open, but I hadn’t quite stepped fully through it yet. I knew I enjoyed gaming, but still I held back. Home from college, I wanted to explore more board games with friends, I wanted to try DnD but never felt like I had the time.
Then, a college friend asked me if I’d go to Gencon with him. It sounded fun. I agreed. I went.
It was awesome.
I heard Wil Wheaton speak. Something inside me sparked. I got all the jokes. I was interested in everything. I suddenly felt like I found a community to which I fit in. I listened to suggestions. I tried new games. I opened myself to a world of creativity and bonding, a world of kids who were never that good at sports but had found a way to compete and have fun and build up a team.
I came home from Gencon. I’ve been excited about gaming ever since. I opened myself to being passionate about gaming and storytelling. I arranged my schedule to find a way to play DnD every week. I built up my amazon.com wishlist, and I tell you I am ready to try just about any game out there. Now I’m even working on my own, complex DnD campaign.
I love it. I love gaming with my friends. I love the storytelling and imagination of DnD. I love the strategy and challenge of Munchkin, Android, Cosmic Encounter, Last Night on Earth. This is my world. I blame Wil Wheaton. And Josh, the guy who invited me to Gencon in the first place.
So here I am. I’m part writer, part gamer, part [independent]filmmaker. I created this blog to channel some of those forces together, namely writing and gaming. I will be talking about games, and discussing DnD strategies for both the player and the GM. I’ll be throwing out new ideas and challenging old ones. I’ll be telling you about all my greatest gaming adventures.
Consider yourself introduced.
Your entry point is much cooler than mine. Mine was Overpower, an early superhero CCG, and Redemption, the Christian CCG (and response to Magic: The Gathering) with poorly written rules that caused more fights than any secular game I’ve played. After that, I played CCG after CCG (Star Wars, Star Trek [the original series one], X-Men, Pokemon, Lord of the Rings, Marvel Vs.) until I discovered awesome board games. I look forward to reading your blog.