I always been a games player and life is the biggest game in the multiverse.
Not for first time either:
Captain John McIntosh Kell from Sister Evy; Sunnyside, August 6, 1876.
“I have had many anxious thoughts dear Evy about Baillie's lonely condition and his unsettled frame of mind, he is at times painfully low spirited and again with young people in the house he forgets it all, with music and games to divert his mind.”
Game of the gods
“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport.” - King Lear Act 4 Scene 1 by William Shakespeare.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxQ-5fAshXA
Games and Simulation
I was then confronted with having to earn a living, I was offered two jobs, selling motor car credit, which I declined and becoming the manager of a Building society, (a sort of mortgage lending bank owned by share holders as members). I lasted one day at that; I knew from the start that it was the wrong way to go. After much agonising for two hours on the sea front at Deal before my first day, I decided that I would take my third option and study for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. It was relevant to my science training and offered me the chance of going to Holland in the summer vacations to earn more money and may be even secure full time employment. It was a great choice and a great year. I was a student again and able to enjoy all the benefits of being at Christchurch College Canterbury.
Teaching practices came and went, and that’s how you really learn whether you can teach or not, because you are at the sharp end with the children. You can either do it or you can’t, I found that I had a natural gift for teaching and especially communicating with children. I went to the Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury and Dover Grammar School for Boys. They were my two teaching practices. I found I could handle it, no problem.
The Education Theory Exam came around, by then everybody was frightened of that exam, because if you failed that, you failed the whole course. We had to attend lectures on a Monday morning and learn all about Piaget and various other education philosophers, most of which have now long since been disregarded. In a complete reversal of expectations I actually managed to get a Distinction! Out of 7,000 entrants I managed to be in the top 15% to get the Distinction. So it showed that I could pass exams and I had become very good at that skill. So I was quite pleased with that and left College to get a job.
With my TR7, at 29 years of age, full of confidence, I went up to Sandhurst, the famous Army Head Quarters in Surrey for an interview. The week previous, I had already been for an interview for the Service Children‟s Education Authority at Eltham Palace on the outskirts of South East London. I had had an Interview Board, which comprised of an Admiral, a General and an Air Commodore. Their first question to me as I sat there was, "Have you got a hobby?"
"Do you really want to know my hobby? It will take a bit of time to explain", I replied with a smile.
"We‟ve got all the time we want, so fire away", came the decisive invitation.
I then went on to tell them all about the adventure games that I had organised together with my Customs Officer friend Jeremy Jez Lee. Pauline and I were very close to Jez and Claire Lee at the time, for we were all without children and thus enjoying our social life to the full. Often we would have games weekends with another avid "gamer", Customs Officer Dave Wright. The appointments board, were especially interested in the live action adventure game parties that we had played and developed. This evolved from just a few close friends discussing the proverbial; what if we tried to do this for real? To involving the members of my after school games club in live Dungeons and Dragons role-playing, with the Customs Officers, Teachers and Nurses who were my friends as participants.
This was before these kinds of games became popular on television. We constructed traps, combat systems with custard pies and treasure/reward systems, together with many physical/mental problem initiative tests. The games generally involved hiking around the local marsh or woodlands, building catapults, combating the enemy and collecting gold bricks as treasure. I had specialised in the pyrotechnics, and I knew that they would be very impressed with this, because it was exactly what the Army wanted. The Army sought people who do this sort of thing, especially if they can organise and inspire other people to join in.
Thus, having broken the ice, they then asked me a few other questions, I cracked the interview with one particularly memorable comment in reply to a question on the importance of reading, I said, "Technologically speaking the future is in pictures! The F14 Tomcat, carrier based air superiority fighter has a technological manual for its maintenance, which comprises of 2,000 pages of cartoons showing the ground crews how it works."
At that the Admiral lit up and said, "Oh yes, he‟s absolutely right. I remember when I was on the USS George Washington that‟s exactly what they did." They all laughed at that, because us Brits tend to think that we are intellectually more superior than our cousins. But actually it is the American Forces, with their massive air power and advanced weaponry that are more than a match for anybody; with the whole outfit run entirely by a bunch of technicians, using just cartoons and the power of pictures to make things work!
I had cracked the interview and they offered me a place straightaway to teach Physics in Germany. I therefore had already been offered that position when I went to Sandhurst a week later to see about a commission in the Regular Army. I sat there in the office, quietly confident. The Officer interviewing me had a very pleasant informal manner and as I sat there in a big leather armchair, he just turned round and said, "Mr Baillie, we would love to have you if that is what you want to do. But, is it really what you want to do now? You are 30, have been married several years, would your wife like to keep moving every 18 months into new quarters?"
Well this was a turn up for the books. They had offered me a commission, but it was really up to me whether I wanted it or not? I said, "Thank you very much, Sir." The Officer said he would write confirming that they would offer me a place at Sandhurst and that if I wished to pursue this career option, then they would be really glad to have me.
Dungeons & Dragons
To much money .... Too complex ..... Too serious Too many rules....but cool polyhedral dice.
Dungeons & Dragons (commonly abbreviated as D&D or DnD) is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). It has been published by Wizards of the Coast (now a subsidiary of Hasbro) since 1997. The game was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons
The Man who started it all.....
Ernest Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008) was an American game designer and author best known for co-creating the pioneering role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) with Dave Arneson.
The Legendary, artistic and imaginative fun offering from the Troll-father himself....https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_St._Andre
Tunnels & Trolls (abbreviated T&T) is a fantasy role-playing game designed by Ken St. Andre and first published in 1975 by Flying Buffalo. The second modern role-playing game published, it was written by Ken St. Andre to be a more accessible alternative to Dungeons & Dragons and is suitable for solitaire, group, and play-by-mail gameplay.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnels_%26_Trolls
Being a more imaginary story telling format without complex rules I elected to adopt the T&T rules, so I started my character collection of painted 25mm figures.
Too many rules but a cool sci-fi alternative....Traveller is a science fiction role-playing game, first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop. Marc W. Miller designed Traveller with help from Frank Chadwick, John Harshman, and Loren K. Wiseman.
The first game I played with (Nic Spalding game master) and Alan Mash October 1980 after a chance encounter at a friend wedding.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveller_(role-playing_game)
In The Labyrinth is a 1980 role-playing game supplement for The Fantasy Trip published by Metagaming. An expanded version released in 2019 by Steve Jackson Games as part of the company's revival of The Fantasy Trip.
Having got the bug I purchase this 1980 for the hexagonal mapping pages that you could photocopy free.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Labyrinth_(supplement)
I then added my collection of 5000 Lego pieces from my school Wargame Club (total cost a penny a piece) for 3D scenery and 200 6 sided wargame dice ......
Thus began the World of Jet and Crystal .....