STICKY: Favorite Gary Stories

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Donal, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. Donal

    Donal Administrator

    Please feel free to share any Gary stories here.
  2. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    OK. I'll get this started. I have lots of good stories about Dad (most of which I can't post up in a public forum :) ). Seriously though, he was a competitive player when it came to board games, espicially prior to hitting his late 50's. He mellowed out after that. I grew up playing WWII chit boardgames- Avalon Hill mostly- versus my Dad and my brother Ernie. I lost several games of D-Day, Russian Campaign, Stalingrad and Operation Overlord. I am the youngest and i always wanted to play the German side- so I was at a disadvantage. Needless to say, I played the games, but I had little hope of actually winning.

    So I started playing a game of Operation Overlord with Dad about 1987 or so - and I am the Germans defending Normandy from the filthy Allies. My Dad masses up and starts pushing around Caen and south of the area about 10 hexes or so. I counter-attacked with some good units ( I believe it was Panzer Lehr, 12th SS and 2nd SS primarily). I did pretty well and ejected him from Caen and had him close to the ocean after a couple turns. I went to attack some Canadian and brits backed up to the water and I rolled poorly and got an exchange. I was disappointed with that roll and it must have shown. Dad started razzing me saying it was all over for me now and there is no way I can recover from that bad attack. I was so used to losing at Operation Overlord, that I believed him! So I said OK, I concede there is no point in playing hours and hours of this game if it is a done deal. So we started packing it up. As soon as we started putting the pieces away, he began chuckling. I asked him what was so funny. He told me that I was going to win that game and I was whooping his ass! The dirty dog used psychological warfare against me! I haven't played Operation Overlord since then, cuz I am still sulking! I sure wish I had the opportunity to sit across the board from him and play once more.
  3. Rhuvein

    Rhuvein Troubadour

    Great stuff, Luke - thanks for sharing!

    I have a few, but one that will always stick with me is this one:

    At WinterDark II in January of 2007, I sit down to play Dragon Lairds with Gary, Jim Ward and Tom Wham.

    Heh, OK right there you know you are going to get your ass kicked bad . . heh, in any game.

    Anyway, I had watch them all play before and very much wanted to try the game.

    Jim was just a great and hilarious host/GM/commentator and teacher of the game. Constantly helping and yet warning you of some of the tricks/strategies/risks of the game.

    Well, I got my opportunity to cause trouble for someone in the game to help myself by throwing a havoc card and hurting someone or taking their card.

    Who to choose?

    Jim just loved to chime in with all the possibilties and risks and advise how terrible and awful it will be for me, no matter who I choose to hurt.

    Wow, just wow. What the heck does one do against these great PRO gamers?

    "Well", says I - be bold!

    So, who do you think I attack . . . GARY!! Am I nuts? Yes.

    But I was apologetic and counted on Gary's mercy when it was time to return the BIG HURT (and he did, LOL in a most gracious and polite manner!!). :lol:

    Anyway, it was a very fun and hilarious schooling of this guy in a "screw your neighbor" type game.

    [I did come in 3rd place beating Tom!! :shock: ]

    Gary and I chatted about this game here in this thread:

    This was a fantastically fun game and experience.

    Thanks Gary, Tom and Jim!

  4. Benoist

    Benoist Level 0 Character

    I met Gary only once, and it was in France, during a huge gaming Salon in Paris. I was one of those dozens upon dozens of people who wanted to meet him. I was so nervous and shy I didn't go until the very end of the Con.

    I spotted him alone at the table and gathered all the courage I could. I said hello, and started asking a question about Francois Marcela-Froideval, if I remember well. Anyway, that's not really the point. Gary blew me away with his kindness. He wasn't pompous, or whatever horrible facet I could have imagined before meeting him (I guess I imagined getting some "get off my lawn" type of remark. Yeah. I was insecure as well).

    I just cannot remember what exactly we talked about. I just have this lasting memory of meeting a good person, regardless of RPGs and hobby and everything. I cherish it.
  5. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    Do you know Francois? He is a real character. I enjoy spending time with him when I get the opportunity. Its been 11 years since i saw him last though. :(
  6. francisca

    francisca Troubadour

    Only met Gary once, at LGGC 2007. He was plunked down signing autographs, watching a DragonLairds game. There was an empty seat next to him and I asked if I could sit down. We chatted off and on for around 90 minutes. I made it a point with myself to talk about anything besides D&D. i figured for once, this guy deserved not to be pestered with questions about polearms, if sleep is overpowered, etc... So we talked about boardgames, fishing, the Chicago Bears, development of Lake Geneva over the years, etc.. had a great time. You know, he always billed himself as a fellow gamer, and he sure lived up to that on that day.
  7. Benoist

    Benoist Level 0 Character

    Nope, never met him! François is a legendary character for French "rôlistes" (RPG gamers) because he basically jump-started the role-playing industry there with the creation of the mags Jeux & Stratégie and Casus Belli, the latter a true landmark of the gaming scene of the 90's. His departure for TSR and much later, the publication of Les Chroniques de la Lune Noire (Chronicles of the Black Moon), a very famous comic of Heroic Fantasy partly based on his D&D games of the 1980's, all participated to the legend as well.
  8. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    Ok. Here is another little story. Dad loved trains as a little boy and he enjoyed playing railroad games as an adult. I spent many evenings with my mom, dad and sister playing Rail Baron in the late 70s or early 80's. He also enjoyed Empire Builder because it was less structured (and it had crayons!). Dad was very resistant to learning to use a computer. He didn't transition over until 1986 or so really. So about that timeframe, we were living at Stone Manor in Lk Geneva. It was a condo with 4 gigantic rooms- so my bedroom also housed my Dad's home office and computer (and old Apple 2e clone with a monochrome screen). Someone gave my Dad a copy of a computer game called Rails West. This was a simple game, mostly script and a few lame graphics. It had one sound effect, a beep beep beep when something good happened. I remember waking up at 3 am one morning with my Dad hunched over the computer, his face illuminated by the green screen with a great big grin on his face and the beep, beep, beep sound effect going off. Apparently he woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the game and crept into my room/his office to play a few rounds. He said he wasted a good 80 hours on playing Rails West and forever after swore off having any computer games on his machine. He said it was too distracting and cost him too much productivity. He was actually very disciplined plugging away on the PC everyday. He did keep freecell and solitaire on his computer and he enjoyed playing those as a mental break. I inherited that obsessive gamer gene from him. I stayed up playing castle wolfenstein 3d all night 2 nights in a row and went to work (army) during the day. I have not ever tried WoW for that very reason. I think Dad was right to be cautious.
  9. rossik

    rossik Footpad

    great story!

    i have teh same problem, and even forums sometimes cost me productivity!
  10. ghul

    ghul Chevalier

    Great stories, Luke! :)

    I like how your dad pushed your psychologicial buttons int he first story -- that's great stuff, because I do that same thing when playing chess with my oldest son. "That was a grave mistake, John," I will say. "You have very little chance of winning now. Do you care to forfeit?" But he never does. In fact, he will play until his last piece is taken, if it comes to that.

    But during his last few years on this green Earth, I did manage to figure out a way to get under Gary's skin -- something that could make him lose his cool, and go on an endless tirade of curses and profanity. It was this:


    "Hey Gary, how's the QB situation in Chicago right now? What? It's still Sexy Rexy? Why, he's not even fit to lace Brady's shoes."

  11. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member


    That is not a funny topic! This gets all of us Gygax boys wound up but good! Actually my Dad mellowed out quite a bit in his dotage. He used to get really angry during football season in the 70's! Its tough being a Bears fan sometimes. But then you get big payoffs every so often, like watching them crush the Patriots in the SB. Hopefully we'll see that again soon!

    I can tough it out to the last in Chess, but I didn't have the fortitude to play 20 hours of Operation Overlord being slowly crushed and humiliated. I am a sore loser- and an even worse winner because I gloat.

    Good to see you here on Gary Con Forums! Welcome! (even if you are a Pats fan :evil: )
  12. Dale

    Dale Administrator

    Did someone page a Dolphin fan to this thread?

  13. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    No. You can go back to the Blue Oyster Bar with the rest of the fish fans. :p
  14. Dale

    Dale Administrator

    Are you still bitter about '85? At least you did win the Superbowl.

    Don't be like the Patriots and have your one loss be the final game. :lol: :lol: :lol:
  15. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    ZINGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :lol:
  16. jolly_blackburn

    jolly_blackburn Level 0 Character

    My favorite Gary story.

    Back in 1990 my wife and I decided to self-publish a little gaming magazine out of our house. I was in the Army the time and saw it more as a hobby.

    After patching the first issue of Shadis together I made a short list of people in the gaming industry I wanted to share it with. Gary was at the top of that list. I mailed him a copy in care of the publisher who published his book Master of the Game. (blanking on the publisher's name now).

    Gary had written a chapter in that book on how to publish a gaming magazine and I took his advice to heart.

    Anyway a few months passed and I managed to get a second issue out. I hadn't heard from Gary and really did'nt expect to.

    At this point I need to stop and tell a little back story. Back in 1980 when my friends and I discovered D&D an in-house joke began. Whenever I was late to a game I would arrive explaining "Sorry I'm late. I was talking to Gary on the phone and couldn't get rid of him."

    Okay so ten years later. I'm in uniform working the CQ desk at Fort Jackson when the phone rings.

    "Hi, this is Gary Gygax. Is Jolly Blackburn there?"

    I was convinced it was one of my old gaming buddies giving me the business. It took Gary several minutes to convince me it was him.

    As it turned out he had called my house and my wife had given him my work number.

    Gary being the great guy he was had called personally to tell me what he though of Shadis #1.

    After ripping it apart and honestly telling me what he didn't like and why he ended with "A pretty good first effort. Keep it up."

    Talk about having a story to tell around the gaming table. Now I could honestly say, "Yeah, me and Gar were talking on the phone..."

    Seriously Gary was a great inspiration to me as he was to millions of others. He had a way and making you feel he was talking to you rather than at you or down to you.

    I have a picture of him on my office wall that he autographed for me when we first met in 1993.
    Being Gary it says "Me doing my best Orsen Wells impersonation" I always get a smile out of it when I see it.

    Thanks for sharing your father with us, Luke.

    I only spent a smattering of time with him at cons and on his front porch over the years. He was always kind to me and tended to make me laugh.

    He is and will continue to be missed.

    See you at GCII
  17. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder


    Good to see ya' here, bro! Thanks for the story. I feel like I've heard it somewhere before. :D

    Derek W.
  18. rossik

    rossik Footpad

    very nice story, jolly!
  19. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for telling that story Jolly. I remember my Dad talking to me about you and Shadis Magazine back in the early 90s. He spoke highly of you and what you were doing with Shadis.

    I want to thank you again for supporting Gary Con I. I was blown away when the Kenzer & Co crew showed up with boxes and boxes of product to support fund raising at Gary Con. That was awesome!

  20. thegrognard

    thegrognard Level 0 Character

    I remeber winning 1st place in the Gen Con painting competition. At the awards ceremony, Gary was standing next to me and announced "We have a special prize for all the winners. All the figures get to be displayed on my mantle at my house."

    Also, I think that I'm the only person in the world that has an autographed Gary Gygax clock. When he signed it, he exclaimed "I like this; this is fun!"

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