I've been a lot of things in my life, Juvenile Delinquent, Lover, Fighter, Science student, Slacker, Exhibiting Artist, Political operative, and Real Estate Developer. Oh and a Nerd. I always find it funny that nerds have such a anti-social image, but I guess that has to do with the modern stereotype of nerds all alone in their Mom's basement, interacting over the internet, and subsisting on cheese puffs. But back in the day, pre-internet, to be a nerd meant being social (at least with other nerds)
The common image. Not exactly true.
My nerddom as a child consisted of building model airplanes and tanks and such, and playing serious wargame simulations, with cardboard pieces on a hexagonal grid. I also played Risk, but I had a love-hate relationship with that game; I mean as the preeminent military strategist of my generation, why didn't I win all the time? There must be something wrong with the game, so when I was 14, I invented my own global conquest game. Lacking any friends, that version didn't get played much, but when was a freshman at Cal, my parents moved to Northern Virgina, on the same street with my best friends from my days in England.
So on summer break, we had a lot of nerdy fun, and I mentioned my game to my friends. They were enthused, so I decided to re-create the game with every improvement my fertile 18-year old mind could envision. Using my artistic skills I recreated a huge map of world with various territories, each with differing resources and population based on hours of research at the library (books, what a concept!).
Just a starting point.
The territories could be improved with mines, farms, oil wells and factories. They could be connected with roads, railroads, ports, and later in the game, airports. Movement by seas (hexagonal grid) was on ships, which needed to be protected by navies.
Sounds fun you say? The mad scientist in me wasn't done yet. I decided that the game would be more "realistic" if there was some political instability, but how to achieve this? So I decided that each country would be represented by three people, one acting as the Government, one the Military, and one the People. There could be revolutions, coups and dictatorships. What fun!
Any way, after weeks of preparation we were ready for the first game. A three car garage was located with amenable parents and a ping pong table large enough for the board. Thousands of pieces, hand created by an army of nerds; we had thought that 6 game sets was enough, but demand was so great, we need to make another two colors.
So one Saturday morning, 24 young people, representing 8 empires assembled to start the game. Over the next two days we had a lot of fun, referring to mino-graphed copies of the rules (someone did this even though the schools were closed; I never asked how). There were battles, revolutions, a coup, and fun had by all.
I just wonder why Sid Meier never returns my calls.