I am and have been for some time a war gamer. It all started with chess, which I was determined to figure out and which was actually a little difficult for me but I became a chess player on the Internet and played with various people. There was one old fellow, a retired veteran in British Columbia, and we sent each other a move a day by email for years. We had a lot of good games. He won some and I won some. We were about the same level, so that was a good thing.
When I was younger, not a lot younger but a bit younger, I got interested in a game, called Dungeons and Dragons, that was entering its 'craze phase'. There was a kind of institution in Toronto called Mr. Gameways Ark that had all kinds of games, board games mostly and they had a D & D section, a Dungeons and Dragons section and I used to haunt that section. Then I found out they had kids who played on site. You could come there in the evening after hours and go upstairs and play. I joined in and the kids were a little weird about playing with an adult but they tolerated me and I learned some stuff
Then I discovered another place that sold D&D stuff and got invited to one of their games. I went out on a very rainy night to someplace nearly in the suburbs in a high rise apartment building. I was taking my life in my hands but I found out that war games were, as it says in Douglas Adams book, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", mostly harmless. I guess they take out all their frustrations in the game. We sat there and played but I decided that I was a damper on the party. A significant part of their playing was smoking weed and I wasn't really into smoking weed with strangers, miles from nowhere on a rainy night. So I trekked off again having learned some good pointers from these gamers.
I studied the books and then I formed a group at my local church hall. There were some young people, my nephew amongst them, who were very intelligent (they were all boys) but were unsocialized. They didn't fit in anywhere. They didn't fit in at school. They were halfway to delinquency. My Minister's son and my nephew pulled in other players and we started a game.
D&D is is a great socializing mechanism. It brings together folks with brains and imagination and lets them play in the terms of the game. These boys went on to become friends and associates and they still keep track of each other. I would say that it made them sane. Instead of being outsiders they were insiders with a special clique of their own. Friends and other things came out of it. It was a good thing, a really good thing.
Now there was one kid in the game. I won't name him by name but he was what I call a 'splodger' . A splodger is, well, people don't believe in telepathy and empathy and that sort of thing but I have to explain it in those terms. A splodger is someone who's mind is broadcasting static continuously because they're in a negative state. He came from an abusive home environment where the kids got hit and the kids hit each other and so forth, so he was in that mind set. I took about as much of it as I could but I could feel it in the game. When he got excited he just dumped mind waves of agitation over the whole thing. Finally I said, look, this is what you're doing and I can't handle it because I'm an empath and I hear this stuff and what I've got to do is put you out of the game for a while. That was a big tragedy for him because the game to him was very important. It started him on the road to controlling the mental static he projected. Now he's a new ager and carries around big crystal rocks and stuff like that. Go figure.
Another kid was a (too smart for the group) shit disturber. I ran an in game voodoo ceremony and transferred his mind into a chicken. He was stuck as a chicken for quite a while there. Didn't like it. He quit eventually.
Again this was in interest of the game gestalt. Everybody's got to play together in a certain way, as a team. Friendships are formed this way. I went on to form a second group, which the first group hated, made up of little kids. Bringing them through and they just loved it!
My niece, when I went to visit my sister in San Antonio, we started playing and she was using her smaller toys as avatars for the various dragons and monsters and knights and so forth. She really got into it and sitting down to do that daily game playing became a very big deal. I don't know if I had any influence but she's now in graphic design and has worked with Electronic Arts in British Columbia.
My sister, who now lives in British Columbia, introduced me to Guild Wars. Guild Wars is a competitive on line Role-Playing game and is fiercely addictive.
In my Podcast on CB Radio I went into some detail on playing D&D over the CB but that's a whole other story.
In short, I like war games. I like Diablo, Dungeons and Dragons and now I really liked Guild Wars but have moved on to World of Warcraft.