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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A short gaming history.

A friend recently pointed out that in our gaming group, most the folks seem to have been gaming with Avalon Hill or other famous companies for most of their lives. Well, not so for me.

I'm KC Humphrey, proud member of RipCity Gamers and fairly new to this sport. So today my job is to tell you about my game history (a bit of real life tossed in to that timeline) and how I got to here, which is "avid gamer about to publish our first game and release it at Essen Spiel 2005."

Grew up in Yakima Washington. Played Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, all the blechy American stuff with cousins. Got RISK – only copy I’ve ever seen with plastic near-cubes.

Meanwhile learned guitar because I didn’t play sports, being smart was uncool and games were not helping me meet girls. Went to Japan with Boy Scouts for a few weeks, played a lot of gin rummy, bought a 12-string guitar, met girls, got hit by a typhoon (no butterfly effect as far as I know).

Took the guitar to college in Salem. Met more girls. Recorded a record album that went plywood and a little more than broke even. Played a lot of solo gigs. Played some games but owned few or none.

Went to work as a youth minister after college. Learned pinochle from the family I visited often around 6 pm (“Oh would you like to stay to dinner? Sure.”) and played more American games at church potlucks and game nights. Published a book of music for youth worship called “Son of Songbook” just before the summer of Son of Sam – unfortunate timing that.

Next… married, switched from church work to government, still a lot of social gaming. Less playing music, less meeting girls (well duh). Bought a house, traveled (no kids), worked, went our separate ways, bought some houses, played volleyball and then finally met some “real gamers,” Pete and Cece Wirfs. And it was two small games that got me hooked. One called Magic: the Gathering and another called Settlers of Catan.

A snake’s tail. Last weekend at Dragonflight a guy came to learn some of my games. Turns out he was Pete Wirf’s roommate in college and was the one who introduced Settlers to Pete. Small world indeed, or just the karmic arm swinging through a pitch.

So I got deeply into Magic – deck building, collecting, buying boxes, doing tourneys, all that. Loved it. Still like the game. And got Settlers, Naval War, Express and a few other of these wacky board games and card games.

Started working with wellness for Senior Citizens as another hobby, wrote health songs and met my sweet wife at a conference where she worked as an activity coordinator. She had kids so I finally had an even better excuse to collect games, and we moved to Gresham Oregon. Josh (middle kid) was playing Settlers at age five, the whole family plays Mah Jongg, Liar’s Dice, Can’t Stop, etc.

I started collecting games at Goodwills, Ebay and garage sales and ended up stockpiling way too many. But that got me into trading and selling games, even internationally. And in Portland, at an annual event called GameStorm, I met Doug, Dave and Mark Dee who later invited me to join RipCity Gamers. And Rita joined too, which surprised the guys by being one of the few spouses who avidly games with the group.

There’s about a page in my editor, a good goal. So next time, a bit more about going from avid gamer to avid game designer. The card proofs from Carta Mundi for Havoc: the Hundred Years War came today, so we’ll look them over and the game will print on time for release around October first by Sunriver Games. Thanks to the folks who have already played it or reviewed it.

Regards,
KC

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