How did you get your start into War games?

Ric of The LBC

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My buddies showed me this game : AH The Russian Campaign back in the early eighties. It was pretty dang cool but things didn't click for me until I saw Panzer Blitz. That led to Panzer Leader and then Squad Leader. That was it. (I was also playing Third Reich, Statis Pro Baseball, Magic Realm, Fire Power and Tobruk)

I don't exactly remember what happened but a few years before uni I wandered off. Most of my games were trashed (apart from Third Reich + Fire Power). Decades afterwards, spotting a copy of Squad Leader on eBay brought me into ASL.
Status Pro Baseball!!!!! I still have the '79 season.
 

witchbottles

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TopT

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That was my start, PL/ PB.
 

Swiftandsure

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I read a small article in a scientific magazine (Science & Vie) about board wargaming.
I collected as much pocket money that I could and ordered the featured game (Napoléon à Austerlitz by Jean-Pierre Deffieux).
Then it was his games on Magenta and Solferino, Napoléon III Italian campaign battles.
I was 16 - year 1980.
Then Panzerblitz, Panzer '44 (SPI), Panzer Leader.
In 1982 I got SL, then COI, COD, GIAV... and jumped into ASL in 1986 (never stopped).
 

HansK

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AH's D-Day '77.

Found it an the American Book Center in Amsterdam.

It was either this or AH's The Longest Day... LOL!
 

Chris Drake

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It started when I was 14 in 1983 in Arvada Colorado, a kid next door and his older brother had me playing Starfleet Battles, I didn't understand the rules that well but I had a blast playing. They moved away shortly after but when I was at my Grandparents house that summer in Springfield Mo, I met my best friend who was a few years older and had a very nice collection of games. The first one we played was the Battleline version of Air Force and from that moment on I was hooked. We played (or tried) Magic Realm, Caesar at Alesia, Statis Pro Baseball (which I still play) and of course, Squad Leader.
We played several different games but I always wanted to come back to Squad Leader and the next summer on my Birthday my Mother bought me a copy. I always had it set up on my desk or the top of my dresser and eventually I bought Cross of Iron, COD, and G.I. with mowing money.

After High School I did very little gaming with the exception of a solitaire game of Statis Pro here and there as I decided girls, working and college were more important and I didn't want to fly my freak flag just yet. After meeting my wife in the early nineties and her commenting on the games I had on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in my apartment living room, I showed her Squad Leader. After telling her my reasons for not playing much anymore she replied "that's pretty stupid, you should do what makes you happy", so I did (sometimes I think she regrets saying that).

I started playing solo again as local players were hard to find at the time and my best friend was in Germany with his wife. I did purchase the ASL rulebook, Beyond Valor and Yanks but didn't do much with them until 2001 when I was promoted and transferred to a new location and I saw one of my employees reading a La Bataille rulebook in the breakroom. We started talking games and I found out he played ASL on a regular basis and that he had actually help playtest some of the Beyond Valor scenarios. From then on I had a new friend and an ASL mentor although playing time is pretty sparse these days.
 

Binchois

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Anyone interested in telling us how they began gaming that lead them to ASL?

I'll start.. back in about 1956 I was a kid with a bike, parents instructions were be back by supper, definitely a free range play child. My bike took me miles on some days, while passing the brand new shopping center on a Sunday (all stores closed by the blue laws), I saw a group of 12 or so men about my fathers age walking around the empty parking lot with tape measures, attracting my 9 year old interest, pulling me into their web.

Turns out they were all Navy Vets, and they were replaying the WW2 battles they had been in with alnavco (sp?) model ships.. BAM BAM went my young mind. Most of them had no clue what the ships they had been on actually did during the battles, since they were down in the hull, making everything keep running. This was their first chance since the war to understand what they had been through. I made myself helpful by dragging the end of the 100 foot tape measure about and holding it over the center of the ship models. I also passed along any "enemy" plans to launch torpedo's or make a turn.

I came back every Sunday that summer, and with the players permission was allowed to buy a Lt. Cruiser model and play it when one was needed, Alnavco models were pretty expensive on my 9 year old income, but I saved up until I owned it. The next summer vacation out of school (1957) I was back, and had picked up a couple of DD's, and a Hv. Cruiser (Japanese). The adult players had grown and more were there every day, but I wasn't sidelined and was allowed to put out an opinion, usually ignored by them after explaining why to me. I was now 10 and spent most of my library school time reading about naval Battles in the Pacific. As 1957 ended I was making plans to buy battleships.

The summer of 1958 was a let down, only a few people showed up, they had learned what they were after I guess, my battleship money was still in my piggy bank unspent, so to pick myself up I made a toy store run.. BAM there was a game called Gettysberg by AH, I bought it and have never been without a historic game since.

Years of AH games later I bought Squad Leader, got into its expansions as a playtest member, was invited to join the ASL playtest, but was involved as a SSI computer game tester so I had to decline. Please let me hear any stories you might share.
Great to hear a reminiscence about those Alnavco ships! These were also among my first draws into wargames (in the 70s), as my best friend's (much) older brother collected them and fought it out on their living room floor. I started collecting them heavily too (still have a bunch in a box somewhere), but only after experiencing my first AH games, including the cardboard battleships of Jutland.

My friend collected heavily in PTO ships, but I was drawn (as usual) to Europe. I happily could recreate the chase for the Bismarck, and had quite a few Italian and French ships as well.

The living room floor also witnessed some epic fights between my ETO fleet versus my friend's PTO fleet. But eventually the space was filled with ludicrous ASL battles. Oh, and there was that one game - SPI's War in the Pacific - which no one could possibly finish. Gigantic (with movement rules to account for the curvature of the Earth across a Mercator projection mapboard), I calculated that it would take us 17 summer months to fully play out. Not something mom would have went for.

...Now, am I the only one who is disturbed by the fact that Alnavco ships were made of lead? 🤢
 
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R Hooks

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Great to hear a reminiscence about those Alnavco ships! These were also among my first draws into wargames (in the 70s), as my best friend's (much) older brother collected them and fought it out on their living room floor. I started collecting them heavily too (still have a bunch in a box somewhere), but only after experiencing my first AH games, including the cardboard battleships of Jutland.

My friend collected heavily in PTO ships, but I was drawn (as usual) to Europe. I happily could recreate the chase for the Bismarck, and had quite a few Italian and French ships as well.

The living room floor also witnessed some epic fights between my ETO fleet versus my friend's PTO fleet. But eventually the space was filled with ludicrous ASL battles. Oh, and there was that one game - SPI's War in the Pacific - which no one could possibly finish. Gigantic (with movement rules to account for the curvature of the Earth across a Mercator projection mapboard), I calculated that it would take us 17 summer months to fully play out. Not something mom would have went for.

...Now, am I the only one who is disturbed by the fact that Alnavco ships were made of lead?
My friend Dr. Musser had a huge collection of ships also, the ones of mine I could find looked like a fishing fleet. We helped develop the computer version of War in Pacific by Gary Grigsby which is what I first thought you were talking about as being un playable. Mike did a lot of research and I being retired/ self employed play tested about 14 hours a day. We also worked on Gary's War in Russia and Battle of Britain games. I recommend all of those if you like computer games. I finally moved all my lead figures out into my backyard workshop because I wondered if they could have fumes.
 

Binchois

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My friend Dr. Musser had a huge collection of ships also, the ones of mine I could find looked like a fishing fleet. We helped develop the computer version of War in Pacific by Gary Grigsby which is what I first thought you were talking about as being un playable. Mike did a lot of research and I being retired/ self employed play tested about 14 hours a day. We also worked on Gary's War in Russia and Battle of Britain games. I recommend all of those if you like computer games. I finally moved all my lead figures out into my backyard workshop because I wondered if they could have fumes.
This is the "War in the Pacific" that I referred to. There was a somewhat more-attractive, second edition released though I owned only the first. I don't know if they attempted to streamline the CG game into something more plausibly playable, though. Of course, we were dumb teenagers by then, and still prone to incomplete RB digestion plus inefficient gameplay.
 
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Hutch

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Picture this: The year, 1972. A young lad (16) who had a love for WWI aircraft (played Dogfight), walks into a Hobby store in VT. On the shelf is a new game called Richthofen's War. Now this fellow looks at the $8.00 price tag and thinks "I have 10 dollars, hmmmm...". History was made that day, and Yes I still have that game.
 
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ScottRomanowski

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My cousins introduced me to Risk, and I'd played Tank Battle and Chopper Strike. Then I saw an THAGC ad in a boy's magazine around 1975 when I was about 12. That led to many more AH games, a few SPI games, Squad Leader, then ASL.
 

bendizoid

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When I about 8 I was told my God father, namesake and my Dad’s best friend was Robert E Lee, direct first son descendent. After that information I started reading lots of history books , I think my first was about Rommel. Then in 4th grade I received PanzerBlitz for Christmas, my first war game. I still have some setups written way back then.
 

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I bought my older brother a copy of Luftwaffe (great box art is what drew me in) for Christmas back in '71.
 

RandyT0001

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Started playing in 1972.




First wargame by wargame publisher.
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TopT

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Panzerblitz was the 1st war game I ever played. I dabbled in SPI games for a bit, a long time ago :)

I came back to ASL and have stuck with it for about 10 years now although I probably collected it for 10 years prior.
 

buser333

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I have always enjoyed games, but my dad got me into wargaming with some Napoleonic game whose name I wish I could remember. I think I was around 10. After I showed an aptitude and interest in that we moved on to Squad Leader. I believe we made it about halfway through Cross of Iron before setting it aside. During this time he also tried his hardest to get me into Third Reich, but I always preferred the squad level over anything larger. Thankfully, even though we weren't actively playing, we did purchase the ASL rules when they came out, along with all the core modules. After I graduated college, we started dabbling into ASL. I guess I took for granted back then that I had him and another couple opponents in the general area. I didn't play much, probably just Fighting Withdrawal and maybe Guards Counterattack. My dad and one of the opponents I played really wanted to push some vehicles around, but I never felt the urge to get that far. Fast forward to around 2000. I again got the bug to play some ASL, and discovered this amazing program called VASL. I played a game or two with some opponent (again, who's name I wish I recalled) before moving on to something else. Fast forward again to 2013. I decided to play ASL once again. This time I happened to meet on GameSquad another opponent who was getting back in to the game and we decided to use Jim Stahler's Intro to ASL approach. We made it halfway through Commissar's House (having played each scenario up until then twice) before he lost interest. This time I stuck with it, playing a lot of PBEM. After about a year or so of this I switched to primarily live VASL, and I've never looked back. Now I can't imagine not playing ASL.
 

Sparky

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trip down memory lane just looking at that cover. Many hours spent with my father with that...and SL came soon after..

11217
 
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