Slightly Twisted Games
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History of a Gamer, Part II

History of a Gamer, Part II

-Thomas Ryan

(Me, circa 2007)

As I got more and more into D&D, I later branched out into other Role Playing Games. I realize now that we were playing games dealing with all of my top three “nerd” mythoi.  That would be Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP), and Marvel Roleplaying. I had a lot of fun as a Chiss (a blue-skinned alien with glowing red eyes, for those not familiar with Grand Admiral Thrawn) Jedi, an Elven archer who’d grown up as a friend of Legolas himself, and some type of Wolverine/Spiderman hybrid.  It was a lot of fun. I also remember an idea STG’s own Chief Operations Officer, Mark Rivett, had for Dungeons and Dragons. It was called Carnival of Carnage. It involved a small character sheet with just basic stats and equipment, running through a haunted Carnival.  I was so excited when I got to play a Minotaur! He had a 20 Strength and a 16 Constitution. I think he lasted about two minutes, and never even swung his Great axe. He took one wrong turn and…SPLAT.

When I got to college, I put most of my toys away. The only things I really continued to do were play video games. I fell in love with Tekken 3 as well as Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. There were some pretty epic moments where people would come hang out and drink in my room and just watch my play those games. There’s nothing quite as sweet as enjoying a pint of Guinness or a cocktail while summoning Bahamut or Knights of the Round.

I continued with mostly just video games, until around 2004. It was then, while playing World of Warcraft (vanilla), that I discovered the game that brought me back to Board Games, ostensibly for good. I was visiting none other than our COO in Pittsburgh at the time. I was meeting some of our WOW group, and I remember (sadly, but with some amusement) arriving in Pittsburgh only to sit down at a spare computer and play more WOW. However, near the end of the week, I was introduced to the first edition of Fantasy Flight Games’ masterpiece Descent: Journeys in the Dark. I remember feeling an incredible amount of nostalgia while equipping my heroes and working through the board, collecting treasure and slaying monsters. I think we were ultimately defeated in that first quest, but I was back in love with table top gaming.

The next few times I visited Mark in PA, I always wanted to play some Descent. I learned a lot of other games, but that one really did it for me. A few years later, I finally got ahold of my own copy of the game. I started learning how to paint miniatures (it was pretty touch and go until I received some education year later while assembling a Warhammer: 40,000 army of Space Wolves). I got so into Descent, that I found myself spending all my spare time posting in the forums. It became so noticeable, that when a new FAQ came out with a few flaws, I was approached to help edit the FAQ. At the time, I was playing pretty regularly with Chief Financial Officer, Bernard “Barney” Elias. Since he and I knew the game the best, one of us was always the Overlord. As such, we were never on the same team. I made a joke with Barney about adding this question to the FAQ?

“Q: What happens when Barney plays?”

“A: Barney loses.”

To this day, I will make references to “The FAQ” when either prognosticating the outcome of a game against Barney. Or even worse, when Barney beats me in a game, I like to say that he clearly did not read the FAQ.

My love of gaming would grow and grow from that point, until in August of 2014, I attended GenCon for the first time. I will tell you more about that experience and how in many ways that led to the formation of Slightly Twisted Games, but you will have to tune in next week for the third and final chapter of this little trilogy.


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