One day I was talking to someone about war games that I played in my younger days. I decided to add section with my thoughts on the games I played as I was growing up. This section has the potential to grow to a monstrous size. This is merely the beginning of this section.
Somewhere around 6th grade, I purchased a copy of Hoyle's Rules of Games, Signet edition 1965.
This book is pure gold! I spent months trying every game that I could. When I saw a James Bond movie with a game of baccarat, I was able to look it up and see what the rules were. Not until years later, when I purchased the Hoyle's Card Games and Hoyle's Board Games for a Windows computer, did I see so many card games and board games.
Here is a wonderful tip, download a free version from Google books! There are many editions that are out of copyright and they are through and very interesting. The ancient editions don't have new games but there are not all that many new games anyway!
I recently, 10/2012, read the reviews of the Hoyle's computer games on Amazon. It does not look good. From what I've read, I assume that the Hoyle's computer games are no longer the quality games that they used to be.
I consider this book to be the real beginning of my love of games.
Pong was the first mass market video game success. It was released in 1972. I was born in 1964, so I was eight years old when Pong first appeared. By 1977, the Atari 2600 came out. I ended up buying the pong game at a local Radio Shack off of the odds and ends table. I played it for hours.
During my senior year of high school, 1982, I purchased my first personal computer, a Sinclair ZX-81. I ordered the assemble-it-yourself kit. They sent me a letter stating that they had run out of kits and were sending me a fully assembled unit. I was quite happy with their substitution!
While in college, I squired a few more computers;
After graduation, I had to work for a living. I acquired a Packard Bell PC 286 in 1989. MS-DOS was the OS of the day with 512KB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive.
On the C64, my favorite games were Jumpman, Gorf, Asteroids, and all of the Infocom text based adventures that I could get access to. I liked Zork 1, Planetfall, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. A few years ago, I purchased the Infocom collection for the PC. While I enjoyed playing them, I was never any good at solving the Infocom games. I spent more time just kicking the tires and seeing what options were available!
On the Amiga, my favorites were;
Later I learned the joys of arcade emulators. I currently enjoy; Galaga, Galaxian, Space Invaders
My favorite boardgames of the time were;
I played quite a few microgames back during the day. Microgames were inexpensive ($2 to $3), counter-based, turn-based strategic simulations. Everything from starship combat to Roman infantry to caveman wars were covered! I remember one that was called The Creature That Ate Sheboygan, it was fun. I still own one microgame titled, They've Invaded Pleasantville. Ogre and G.E.V. were considered by many to be the absolute best of the breed. The caveman war game was called Sticks & Stones. I remember playing it.
In junior high school, I started playing Dungeons & Dragons. In high school, I was one of the MANY founding members of the Dungeons & Dragons club. I played a lot of Role Playing Games, RPGs, during those years. We were fortunate enough to have a visit by James M. Ward at one of our gaming sessions.
The RPGs I remember playing most are, in order from most played to least played;
I remember meeting one of the authors of Space Opera at a GenCon. He was good people and autographed my manuals. The gaming system for Space Opera was detailed and nicely done. Traveler was a tad bit simplistic but very playable as long as the game ref was willing to improvise.
Our high school gaming club had a visit from James M. Ward, creator of Metamorphosis Alpha. He was a nice fellow.
Empire Enhanced is a simple and fun turn based counter game.
I almost never win any of the Mahjong games, but I enjoy playing them. I originally became interested in Mahjong when I saw the insane number of Japanese video gambling games based on Mahjong in the MAME emulator. It is a very interesting game with lots of variants. Both pieces of Mahjong software listed above are top flight high quality gems.
Even though Casino De Lux came out during the windows 3.11 days, I still play it. I have not found any other software that has Red Dog included. Red Dog is a simple game where you are betting against a third card being between the values of the first two cards drawn. It is my favorite gambling game but it is also the one with the best odds for the house! I think it is easy to see why I never gamble with real money!
A few years ago, I picked up a copy of SSI's (Strategic Simulations, Inc.) Twenty War game Classics. I use DOSBox to run it. The following old school counter turn-based strategic games are included;
I have tried and enjoyed MS Train Simulator. I may put a little time into it, if I every get any free time.
I also want to play with Nine Men's Morris. Nine Men's Morris potentially has its start in the Roman Empire. It is a board-game that I intend to look into maybe even write a simple computer program to play it. The last I heard, it is the oldest known board game in the world. At least from the Western World's perspective.
I have tried the Vassal game engine at http://www.vassalengine.org/ It is a very interesting piece of software. It has over a 1,000 modules. There is even a Warhammer 40000 module for those so inclined. I found Ogre, Car Wars Deluxe edition and other goodies. This is an interesting game engine and I am seriously considering addapting some of the old board games form Murray's A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. With luck, someone else will do it first! I am also considering a few pages showing the old boards with a summary of the rules... Creating the summary pages would give me a nice starting point for deciding if it is worth the effort to code the VASSAL engine games.
For those looking for a great book on the history of war games and role-playing games, Playing the World by Jon Peterson is the gold standard. It is the definitive tome on the subject.
H.J.R. Murray, wrote two books during his lifetime. The first, A History of Chess, first published in 1913, is the definitive book on the subject. If you want to know how the game evolved, this is the book to read. Seeing just how important the Queen's evolution was is fascinating reading! The Japanese variants are boring but the Chinese, India, and Arab variants and histories are very interesting! I modeled some of the boards in Blender 3D and created a couple of animations of the variants. Maybe I'll put the animations on this site one day.
Murray's other book, A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess, is very difficult to acquire. I obtained a 1951 edition. It covers board games from around the world with some real depth. I'm thinking about modeling some of the boards and running through a few games, using Blender 3D. Some of the games would also make nice do-it-yourself programming tasks... I'm thinking about it. I have only finished half of the book. I keep delaying finishing the book. I want something to look forward to!
Both of H.J.R. Murray's books are absolutely essential additions to any gamer's library. Add the Jon Peterson book and you have the best books in three different major areas of interest to serious gamers.
Any one wanting to keep up with current gaming trends absolutely must subscribe to: http://flashofsteel.com/index.php/three-moves-ahead/. The three moves ahead podcast covers a lot of ground.
This is an area that changes often, so don't hesitate to search for other interesting podcasts.
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