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I've been an avid game player--a gamer--for twenty-five years. Since 1996, that has meant boardgaming, some wargames, but especially the interesting, high-quality multiplayer family strategy games that come from Europe (Germany in particular). But let's start from the beginning, with my gamer biography.

I'm 36 years old, have two young children that are slightly interested in games (9yo son, 6yo daughter), and a wife that has moved beyond tolerance to actually play some games with me. Her favorites are word games, like Fluster and Scrabble, which I've learned to enjoy, too. We live north of Los Angeles, in a town called Santa Clarita, where I try to keep my distance from the sprawl!

Wargames are what first hooked me, back in 1978. Back then it was the pocket-sized, simple science fiction wargames called Microgames, which essentially gave way to roleplaying thru high school, college, and even a little today. We played Traveller, The Fantasy Trip, Champions, Justice, Inc., and GURPS. During grad school I hooked up with Steve Jackson Games, did a lot of rpg playtesting, wrote a couple small GURPS supplements, and served as SJ Games playtest coordinator for a short while. With all that roleplaying, CCGs were a breath of fresh air when they exploded on the scene. I thoroughly enjoyed Magic from 94-96, and dabbled in some others.

I discovered family strategy boardgames in mid-96 by reading Within a few months I formed the Tri-Valley Boardgamers, a weeknight boardgame group, made a number of online friends in the hobby, and things took off. After changing jobs and moving 300 miles south in '98, I quickly hooked up with an existing group (what came to be called the Left Coast Gamers). In 2002 I helped start a boardgame group in Santa Clarita. Besides that weekly gaming, once in a while I also get in a short game at work during the week. I almost never make it to conventions, but once in a while manage to spend most of a Saturday gaming, such as at SoCal Games Day. Throw in the occasional short wargame, too, and I'm quite happy with all the gaming I get to do, and frequently have to turn games down! Though I've had a computer almost the entire time I've been gaming, I never really enjoy computer games. I used to play Hasbro's Em@il Games, which are more like boardgames than other computer games (well, I think so, anyway). Unfortunately, Hasbro finally pulled the plug on their game servers. Now I've taken to some multiplayer online gaming at Brettspielwelt, and with Magic Online.

So that makes my gaming chronology look like this:

1978-1982: Wargames (microgames)

1981-1998: RPGs

1994-1996: Magic (some other CCGs)

1996-present: Mostly family strategy games, some wargames, and some Magic again

I've been really fortunate to hook up with numerous people that already have sizeable game collections, so that even when I started, I've had access to a variety of games (without having to buy them all myself). My favorites tend to be the lighter games, with notable exceptions for thematically strong games (esp. exploration, nature, or military/history themes). Entdecker, Vinci, Verrater, Medici, Basari, Ausgebremst, For Sale, David & Goliath, Drunter & Druber, and Battle Cry are some recent favorites. The place-blocks-for-majorities sort of games generally fall kind of flat with me, El Grande and Tikal being perfect examples.

Want to learn more about these sort of boardgames? The best places to check are the BoardgameGeek website and spielfrieks (note the odd spelling) mailing list.

  I'm a Funagain Associates member so that I can use their game images on my site.
I also buy from Boulder Games and Adam Spielt.