A few of you have asked me about my collection of board games, which I have mentioned around this site and on the author description for my books. So I wanted to take some time today to take photos of and write about my collection, and talk a bit about my interest in board games, especially war games!
My gaming experience
My love of strategic and tactical board games, and especially war games, stems from my experience playing PC games such as Starcraft, Civilization, Age of Empires, Warcraft, and Outpost 2 starting at around age eight. I was honestly quite shitty at those sorts of games back then, but still enjoyed them, and quickly got better as time went on, and my patience grew. Though I started off with a greater interest in science fiction and fantasy games, historical war games have both reflected and fostered my love of military history. I buy, play, and master games about conflicts that I find interesting, and I learn about conflicts through playing games, and reading up on the different generals, soldiers, politicians, cities, and events involved. Games have always been closely tied to books and movies for me, in learning about different wars and battles. I like the feeling of playing a well-designed game, for example The Guns of Gettysburg (pictured below) and having those “Aha!” moments like “So that’s why Little Round Top was so important!”, or strategic experiments like “Hm, what if we try a long flanking maneuver rather than a frontal assault, as was tried in real life…”
I love playing games with friends, or with groups such as I did during my time in college. I will also play games solo, either playing both sides to the best of my abilities of objectivity and neutrality, or by using flowchart solitaire “AI” systems that many games contain. For example, Volko Ruhnke’s A Distant Plain and Fire In the Lake, (part of his counterinsurgency series,) and Labyrinth by the same designer.
The game company Victory Point games publishes many games that are solitaire only, I have several of these:
It’s both relaxing and stimulating for me play a game solitaire. I enjoy spending a couple hours alone with a board, some cards, some dice, and my imagination. Nothing beats playing against a live opponent though, or better yet a group of friends divided into teams. I have a couple zombie games that fit that description:
The many topics in my board game collection
I own games from the smallest tactical level (controlling individual survivors in Last Night on Earth) all the way up to the grand strategic (controlling industrial production and planning amphibious invasions in Axis and Allies.) I have games set in historical conflicts from the American Civil War, to WWI, to WWII, to the Cold War, to modern conflicts against terrorism. I have games about zombies, and about hobbits. I’m lacking in pre-Civil War games, unfortunately. I have no Ancient or Napoleonic games, a situation I hope to remedy soon. Below are more photos of covers from more of my games:
A few closing thoughts
Board games are fun both solitaire and as a social activity. They can take you back in time to change the course of old battles won and lost, to the far future to manage a space shipping company, or to the struggles of a zombie apocalypse. I highly recommend boardgamegeek.com to anyone wanting to learn more about what’s out there. I’m active on that site.
I plan to design games of my own someday, I have a few ideas bouncing around my head. I’ll post more pictures in the future of my games, (I didn’t show all of them here,) including with the board and pieces set up. There is some amazing art on these. The company GMT does an especially good job on the quality of their components! Thank you to all the designers, artists, and publishers who make some of the awesome games I’ve derived so much pleasure and learning from!
Until next time,