Hello all, like Alan and Travis, Jason has asked me to contribute my $.02 worth to the Fort Sackville Gamers page, blog, bulletin board, web page, whatever this is (as you can see, I am prehistoric when it comes to the social media, the internet and the new technology coming down the pipe). I am not sure what I have to say is worth $.02, hence the name. I am going to give a somewhat lengthy background about myself (my wife says I can’t answer a yes or no question in less than 10 minutes) to serve as a background and filter as to how I look at games.
My name is Jeff Chattin, and my path to this column somewhat parallels Alan’s. As a kid, my family played a lot of games, both of my brothers, my parents and myself. Since we are talking the late 60’s and 70’s, mainly card games, Monopoly, checkers, chess and the like. Then in 1973 we discovered Risk, and it became our Sunday afternoon game. All five of us rolled the dice and tried to dominate the world. I talked about it so much that my boss at work, Jim Davis of the local Burger Chef, got interested, and soon he was coming to our house every Sunday trying to dethrone the latest emperor. He failed miserably, but he kept coming back for more!
In 1975 I was attending Eastern Kentucky University, and a guy across the hall in good old Keane Hall, John Gilbert, asked me if I liked gaming, especially games like Risk. When I said yes, he asked me if I had “played any of the wargames that SPI or Avalon Hill made?” “No, I haven’t even heard of them.” “Wanna try one?” “Sure.” He broke out a game called Bar Lev, and handed me a 17,000 page rule book (well it seemed that long!) “Aren’t you going to teach me how to play?” I asked. “No, read the rules, and look over these charts, they are used in the game.” The rule book and charts were overwhelming. Rule 2.25; errata 1.0; terrain charts, +2MP when crossing a stream, defending a hill, move two columns to the left; combat results tables, 2-3, 4-1; stacking rules, zones of control……ARRRRH! Then, after wading though all of this, he obliterates me with superior tactics and rules knowledge (since your fighter bomber unit is attacking my infantry company in a built up area, you move two columns to the left on the combat results table, AND, since my Hawk anti aircraft missile battery is stacked in the hex you are attacking, it moves 4 columns to the right on the combat results table, you do no damage to either unit and your unit gets blown out of the sky). It is a wonder I stuck with it, let alone ever spoke to John again. But I did, and soon I had SPI and Avalon Hill games of my own, was introduced to miniatures gaming (English Civil War, Napoleonics, and Moderns), and a great group of guys to game with. And Dungeons and Dragons.
I thought Bar Lev was hard to wrap my head around!!
“Where’s the board?” “Isn’t one.” “OK, the cards then?” “None of those either.” I cringe but ask anyway…”The rules?” John whips out this small, white cardboard box, with three pamphlets in it, “These are the rules, but you don’t need to worry about them, I will take care of the rules, and everything else you are not.” “???????” “So what do I need?” “Paper, a pencil, and some of these.”, and he hands me these funky looking solid chunks of plastic with numbers on them. “???????????!!!!!!!? “You’ll need to get some of your own, but you can borrow these tonight.” And he starts talking, and having me roll the chunks of plastic, which he assures me are dice, and writing stuff down. After a while, and a few questions, I am presented with my character, which is a bunch of numbers next to words like STR, DEX, CON. He tells me I am a “Paladin, because your CHA is 17, and are a REALLY good looking guy, with lots of charm.” I reply “You must be talking about Gary (one of the other players), not me. I played the Phantom of the Opera character in my high school play, and didn’t need any make up.” “That’s it, you got it, just like a character in a play, or a story or legend!”, John shouted. “Do you know what a Paladin is?” John asked. “Like Roland’s companions from the Song of Roland?” “You got it, you’re a natural!”, John shouted again (John was nothing if not enthusiastic). “Just follow Gary, Bob and Dave’s’ lead, you’ll catch on quick.” I guess I did, because I still play today, 38 years later. My wife, two daughters, my son and son in law all get together several times a year for the further adventures of Valda (my wife’s first character) and her merry band of……of…..unique individuals. Soon my two grandsons will be rolling those funky chunks of plastic. Both have picked out what types of characters they want, Garrett’s is a Transformer, and Troy’s is a Monster Truck! Hey, don’t laugh they are only 4 and 3 years old! Somehow, Grandpa will have a Transformer character and a Monster Truck character ready when their attention spans get a little longer.
Along the way since 1975, in addition to our brand of D&D, I have continued to play games. I have been involved in a lot of miniature gaming, am a member of Historical Miniatures Gaming Society-Great Lakes, and have been to several conventions and game days. I have A LOT of miniatures, mostly unpainted. But, myself, my son and my son in law still play. Wargaming, like what is from SPI and Avalon Hill, had gone away for me. Big maps, lots of counters, hours to play, and rule books with lots of charts aren’t compatible with a family of small kids. Not to mention finding opponents. I still have several of the games, but they don’t hit the table anymore. During the late 80’s and thru the 90’s, we as a family did play a lot of Modern Naval Battles. A quick, card based game that doesn’t take up much space saw a lot of playing time.
My son and I had dabbled with Mage Knight and Magic when they first came out, but we soon lost interest. Not because they are bad games, but because it was just the two of us playing. If we had only known then there was a community of players out there….who knows. My son in law, who plays Magic fairly often, introduced us to Settlers of Catan and Zombies!!!. We played those sometimes when we got together when I wasn’t ready for the next D&D adventure.
I found, what I will call “modern boardgaming” (non traditional games that you can’t get at Wal Mart) thru a model rocketry website. Model rocketry is our other big family activity. I was on a model rocketry website in April of 2012, and one of the blogs asked the question, “What other hobbies are you involved in besides rocketry?” Obviously, there were numerous different answers, but one had a link to a web show called ‘TableTop” with Wil Wheaton. I clicked on the link, watched the two episodes available at that time, clicked on the link from the shows to Amazon.com, and ordered the games played on the episodes. Soon Smallworld, Tsuro, and Zombie Dice were on the way to my mailbox. When I watched the next episode, Ticket to Ride, I noticed a link to Boardgame Geek. Clicked on that link. And there, on the home page, in the blogs section was a blog entitled “Legendary Musings” about the game Dungeon Run. Read that one and one about Summoner Wars and Quarriors. There was a link on these blogs to Legends Family and Hobby Games in Vincennes Indiana. I clicked on that and saw that Legends had boardgames, a bunch of boardgames! As an aside, I have been into Legends in its various incarnations and locations about 6 times over the span of 15 years. I drove by it often when I was working in downtown in Vincennes. But I knew it as a Magic and Warhammer (a miniatures game) store, and hadn’t seen any boardgames in the store the last time I was in there, probably years ago. So, the following Sunday I walked into Legends with the intent of buying a boardgame. When I walked in, I noticed that there were a few people in the store, most in the back at tables playing games and what not. I stopped in front of a display of boardgames when a guy about half way back asked me if I needed any help. I told him I was interested in a game called “Quarriors”. “Do you have a few minutes, if you do, we could play a game?” “Sure.” He introduced himself as Jason Clines, the owner, and we dove into a game of Quarriors. When finished, Jason asked, “Is there any other game you would like to play or see, we have over 200 games available to play anytime we are open?” “Dominion?” (I had bought a copy of Dominion in Terre Haute while visiting my daughter, and had yet to play it.) “Great, it is one of my favorite games!”, replied Jason and out came Dominion. I walked out with a copy of Quarriors, Blood Bowl Team Manager, and Ticket to Ride.
That was in May 2012. I now am at Legends at least a couple of times a week, sometimes more. I attend Boardgame Night every Tuesday night from 4-9, play Marvel Superheros Role Playing Game on Sunday from 1-5, and make it to all of the monthly Family Game Days. I am anticipating a Fantasy Flight Game Night which I have heard rumors about, can’t wait! I have met a lot of great people, played numerous games, and made some friends. And picked up a few games at Legends along the way. 🙂
So that is me up to this point and I guess why Jason asked me for my $.005 worth. I promise to keep my next article shorter, I promise. I promise. Next article will be entitled “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover”.
Till Next time….Great gaming gang!
PS- The first person to come into Legends and tell me, Jeff Chattin, “Great Gaming Gang” will win a brand spanking new copy of Zombie Dice. Keep in mind, I am at Legends from 4pm-9pm on Tuesdays, and 1pm to 5pm on Sundays…and lots of other times too!*
*This offer is valid to the general public. Owners, employees, and key holders of Legends Family and Hobby Games are not eligible, nor are contributors to Fort Sackville Gamers blog. Void were prohibited, and Rhode Island. Cash value of prize 1/20 of 1 cent. Slippery when wet.