Gaming Autobiograhy of Greg Nichols

I began gaming by playing a mixture of popular games owned by myself or my 
friends.  Games like Monopoly, King Oil, Battleship, Stratego, and Risk
were played for hours in basements and backyard tents around my
neighborhood. Then my playing evolved into baseball boardgames such as 
Longball and Sports Illustrated Baseball during late childhood (early 70's).
I continued playing all of these games throughout my adolescence plus lots
of card games like Poker (for pennies), Gin Rummy, and Crazy Eights.

Then in the late 70's, I stumbled into a very small hobby store in the 
basement of my local mall.  I was originally there to play a video game
that was housed in the store but one day I found myself looking at a shelf
of cheap little bagged sci-fi games. I bought one.  Then I bought another.
By then, many of my friends were moving away (Armed Forces and College)  so
it was solitaire gaming for me. Then I bought a large boxed sci-fi game.
I don't remember the name (I now know - Starfall) but it was a dark purple-ish 
box with a starfield and maybe a craft in the middle or a nebula.  It's hazy.
It had a huge number of counters and a big paper map of the galaxy with jump
points or something.  The rules were dense and difficult and I'm not sure 
that I ever got through a single game but it looked good to this Star Trek 
and Star Wars loving science fiction reader.

The little mall hobby store didn't last long as the owner had some problems
with the law (and eventually took his own life).  Once it was gone, 
there wasn't anywhere near to buy any of the stuff.  I drifted away from 
gaming and worked and commuted to college and moved away from home and got
married to a lovely woman named Julie. In the meantime, I had started playing
computer games on my brother's Commodore 64 (while at home) and then later on 
my own IBM PCjr.  I remember playing several of Sid Meiers early Microprose 
wargames on WW2 battles and some submarine games too (GATO and SILENT SERVICE I).

I landed a job back in the mid-80's at a small local Ann Arbor bookstore
operation called Borders (no longer small!).  There I met a fellow who 
was designing his own games to be marketed locally.  He showed me his stuff
and I wanted a copy so I traded him that "Star-something" game that I still
had kicking around for his fantasy wargame.  Well his game wasn't that good
and I don't even know what I did with it.  But in discussing the game with
him and another fellow (Ken McConnell), I met up with this "other fellow" 
and we're still friends today (though he lives several states away).  He 
invited me to play some of the Milton Bradley GameMaster games and that 
was really when the bug bit again. With a childhood friend of his (Niles),
we met once a month and played AXIS AND ALLIES and SHOGUN mostly.  I 
eventually bought my own copy of A&A and even an auction copy of FORTRESS
AMERICA at my first gaming convention (MichCon in Southfield, MI). 

Soon I started prowling hobby stores and looking for more. I changed jobs to the
University of Michigan Library and met a fellow (Dave Richtmyer) who had been a
longtime gamer and we started playing games on our lunch hours. We played some
terrific games of WE THE PEOPLE and A HOUSE DIVIDED over the course of several
lunch hours. We soon invited some others with similar tastes to join us. With a larger
group, we had to reserve a table in our staff lounge for our weekly lunch games of 
KREMLIN and WOODEN SHIPS AND IRON MEN so along came The GLG (actually the 
name evolved during our many KREMLIN sessions as at first we were the Graduate 
Library Politburo but something shorter like KGB was what was needed and so we came 
up with the GLG). And though the members have changed over the years, we continue 
to meet and share games on a weekly basis and also meet once a month for a weekend 
afternoon of gaming and fellowship.

Dave Richtmyer and I have become good friends and have travelled together to more 
than a half dozen local and national gaming conventions (the 2001 WBC in Maryland 
was our biggest trip). We've played many games together and worked on some 
playtests. And maybe one day, we'll publish a game we co-designed. 

So much great gaming so little time...


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Page Last Updated: 08/14/02