Friday, September 25, 2009

What and Why: Part 1 - In the beginning..there was gaming

They say that the first step of any journey is the hardest.  Whoever said that must have known, at least instinctively, about blogging.  This being my first post here, it's probably good to lay down what it is that I hope to accomplish here with this blog, and then provide a bit of an introduction to myself, and why I own a game store. .  After all there really is a person behind these words on the screen.

So, starting with what I plan to be putting up here :

Updates about the store - what's happening, what's coming in, and other such nonsense.  I promise to not let that dominate things though.

Thoughts about the gaming industry - as a retailer for 11 years and an addict consumer for...much..longer, I have a good deal to share about this industry/hobby

Game reviews - I'm in the fortunate position of being able to play a LOT of games.  You might want to know about them.

Painting projects - Yes. I paint miniatures.  Yes. I play miniatures games too. 

The Occasional rant - I really can't say right now what I might rant about, but that's the beauty of rants.

That should deal with the WHAT adequately, but the WHY is a bit harder to answer.

I love games.

ok..maybe it was a bit  simpler than I thought.   Still though, I should at least TRY to explain a bit more.

Games have always been a part of my life.  Growing up, there was always a board game to play, and some of my fondest memories growing up were sitting down and playing a game with my family.  Chinese Chess, checkers, Life, Monopoly (which would invariably end with me reduced to tears and my dad owning FAR more property than the laws of statistics would dictate as possible), Bonkers,  Mastermind, Battleship, and probably a few others that I'm forgetting.

As I grew up, my taste in games changed a bit.  I branched out into some of the Avalon Hill board games.  Richtofens War (which to this day I still LOVE), Dune (which to this day I still LOVE MORE), and Squad Leader.  Sadly, I didn't have a lot of people to play these with as my parents really weren't too interested in the intracicies of the Fokker D VII or just who the Baron Harkonnen was and why he hated Paul.  With most of those games, I went from being a practicing gamer, to more of a gamer theorist. I contemplated playing the games, I would many times set them up, but I rarely got a chance to actually practice my imagined skills.

Around this time, (which would be 1979ish) my cousin introduced me into something which would change my life...Dungeons and Dragons.  My first character was named Kenelm, and I distinctly remember the fun, deadly, strange, deadly and lengthy (did I mention deadly) adventures we ran through.

I was hooked.

Not only was I hooked, I was VERY lucky in two respects.  First, we had a store in Great Falls, Montana that actually sold Dungeons and Dragons - Hobbyland. Second, I had supportive parents in my new hobby.  They had heard the reports out there that D&D was evil, satanic and pagan.   While we were up at Hobbytown one bright and glorious day, they looked at some of the books I was begging respectfully asking them to purchase for me.  Looking through the books, they came to the conclusion that they did NOT understand what this game was about, but were pretty sure that anything Satanic would NOT have so many charts, lists, and math.  A few minutes later, I was the proud owner of The Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. (no doubt it was the purchase of said book which made the day as bright and glorious as I remember it).  I am incredibly thankful that my parents looked at the game with an open mind and were comfortable with my playing it.

After that, I started branching out into a few other RPG's, namely Top Secret and Boot Hill.  Painting miniatures also went hand in hand with RPG's back then and it wasn't long before I had the full range of Testors Enamel paints.  Nightly, I would spend hours ruining perfectly good figures with my pathetic attempts at painting.  Some of these first figures are still in my possession, though safely under lock and key.  Eventually I was introduced to the magic of Acrylic paints and my painting skills went up considerably after figuring out some of the things acrylics allowed me to do.

During high school I joined the Chess Club.  It's quite ironic, that. At NO time did we EVER play chess, and I don't even where the club's chess boards were.  We were, in reality, the Wargaming Club.  We played Boothill, a LOT of Napoleonics and some board games. ( I FINALLY got a chance to play some of those other wargames I had been picking up for several years).  Eventually I was even the treasurer of the Chess Club.  To this day I still don't know how to play chess.

All good things must come to an end, and eventually I graduated high school and began the next stage of my life, college. 

I'll pick up with exactly how to convert a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology into a happy, successful game store in tomorrow's post.


  1. That sounds just like how my father viewed D&D when he first found out I was playing it: "This isn't evil. It's just a bunch of math. You have fun with this?"

  2. Nice start Darren, look forward to following your blog. And I do have to say it's about time you got a blog man, keep it up, people will come...

  3. Very nice Darren. I like the way you created your header, a classic look.