Inside Tom’s Brain RSS

The wild and whacky inner workings of the Dark Menace himself.

My Favorite Wrestling Memories

People often ask me who is my favorite wrestler of all time and this question throws me for a loop. I don’t have a single answer.

I have experienced five distinct wrestling eras in my lifetime. Each one had its own personality and great wrestlers. I’ll go over each one:

DETROIT WRESTLING 1960s-1970s

This was my first exposure to wrestling as a child and it got the ball rolling. I lived in Cleveland, which had its own wrestling promotion (NWF) which was okay, but a cable station also broadcast the Detroit shows and it was better. This was a promotion owned and run by the original Sheik, a fact I would learn later and which surprised me since the Sheik was portrayed as a violent, unhinged, out-of-control sadist.

Wrestling has had a fascinating evolution in its audience. This was the Believer Era. The vast majority, around 80% or more of people that watched and attended the events, thought it was real. That changed the whole vibe. People didn’t judge the matches for “performance” value but instead cheered for their favorites the way a rabid fan cheers for their favorite football team. The match could have been slow, boring, convoluted, but what mattered is the good guy won.

Just as important was cheering AGAINST the heels. Everyone wanted them to be punished for their misdeeds and huge egos. There were great heels in this era including the Sheik.

My grandparents watched these shows and went nuts! They believed everything. I remember my grandfather screaming at the TV screen at the referees for not seeing foreign objects or other forms of cheating. My grandmother made sounds of pity when wrestlers looked like they were hurt.

My favorite wrestlers in Detroit were the Sheik, Bobo Brazil, and Johnny Valentine. What’s impressive to me is throughout his life and after decades of depicting himself as a total wild man, the Sheik was never interviewed and never showed his off-camera self. The mystique never died. We never saw him talk about a “high spot” or even speak a coherent sentence. Now, that’s living the role!

PRE HULKAMANIA ERA early 1980s

I took a hiatus from wrestling for several years while I attended college and graduate school in search of a “normal” career. These were still the days of territories and regional wrestling, but things were changing due to cable television. The wrestling programs from the WWF were starting to be broadcast around the country. I was hooked.

I started watching the WWF prior to the arrival of Hulk Hogan and this was the last gasp for wrestling as it was when the wrestlers portrayed their characters in a much more realistic way. Matches with World Champion Bob Backlund would be unwatchable by today’s standards with the emphasis on “wear down” holds and slowing the pace. But for its time it worked great.

These were the years that Vince McMahon was a straight announcer and my favorite wrestlers were Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco. Wrestling history has not been kind to Muraco. He was the last great WWF heel prior to the Hulk Hogan era. His greatness as a wrestler on the mic has been forgotten by many, but I thought he was great and the Snuka vs. Muraco feud ended in spectacular fashion in Madison Square Garden with Muraco retaining his Intercontinental Belt despite being crushed by Snuka after the Superfly Leap off the top of the cage. Wrestling fans remember this great moment but often forget that Muraco won the match.

WWF MANIA YEARS 1980s

Then Hulkamania arrived!

I was thrilled that wrestling became so popular, but I wasn’t a fan of the change of style that took place during the Hulk Hogan years. The product became more directed towards children and gimmicks reigned supreme. A guy like Don Muraco couldn’t survive. Hogan’s matches became unrealistic and predictable. But who was I to judge? The product took off and became a sensation. I’m sure if I was a child or teenager during this time I’d have loved it.

And there was a lot about the WWF to like. Macho Man Randy Savage became one of my favorites and there was always a collective buzz about what was going on. Wrestling shows became more streamlined and sleeker than before. Wrestlers became pop culture super heroes.

It was in this environment that I created Champions of the Galaxy and launched Filsinger Games, so a tip of the hat to Vince McMahon and the WWF!

It was also during this time that I wrote for wrestling magazines but I didn’t use my real name for fear  they would kick me out of my job as a college professor!  I used the name Adam Blast, one of the characters in Champions of the Galaxy. When I asked an editor what to do about wrestler quotes for my articles he said: “Make em up.”

WCW caught my interest and even though I didn’t think they were as consistently entertaining as the WWF, they had the Road Warriors, and they became my favorite wrestlers of this era. Hawk and Animal were awesome and I watched regularly to see who’d be pitted against them. One time they had King Kong Bundy (before his WWF days) in a tag match against Hawk and Animal and all I could do was be amazed at the intensity and power in the ring.

I must add how happy and proud I am to have most of the wrestlers mentioned above and more in my Legends of Wrestling Card Game. This ride I’ve been on has been fantastic.

MONDAY NIGHT WARS ERA late 1990s & early 2000s

I took another hiatus from wrestling in the early 1990s and focused on my new life: raising a family and moving to Jamestown, New York. But wrestling grabbed me again in the late 90s when the nWo made their debut for WCW. I thought this was incredible and the unpredictability of the shows made it even better. I liked Hogan more as Hollywood Hogan than the yellow and red Hogan. His portrayal as a heel was amazing. I also liked Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

The build-up leading up to the big match, Sting vs Hulk Hogan, was masterful. But then they blew it. The match itself had an unsatisfying ending with an awkward attempt to make Brett Hart part of the match. So even though Sting won, it was anticlimactic.

Against stiff competition WWE roared back on all cylinders and they also entered a classic era. My young family and I watched shows every Monday night. It was an era of incredible spectacle with the Rock, Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, and Mankind raising the bar every week. Crowds were very enthusiastic and even though they sometimes pushed the boundaries of good taste too far, it was overall a great product.

It was during this era of great popularity for wrestling that Filsinger Games began to really take off.

MODERN ERA 2000s up to today

I love the variety of wrestling that’s available today from the WWE to all the great indie promotions. I’m thrilled that my company has licensing agreements with many of these including Ring of Honor, Chikara, Combat Zone Wrestling, Evolve, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Shimmer Ladies Wrestling, Olde Wrestling (I hope I haven’t left anyone out!). This reminds me of the territories from the past and I enjoy it.

I’ve attended several independent shows in the last ten years and I love them all. The fans are very smart and the appreciation of wrestling has completed its cycle from the Believer Era to the Entertainment Era (and the muddled grey era in between).

A great memory for me was attending an independent show in Los Angeles and seeing El Generico win a ladder match against Kevin Steen. I also attended some great Chikara shows as part of promoting our Chikara games.

As far as popular wrestling goes, I enjoy the wrestlers that come through the indie ranks like Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk. They are great wrestlers that truly connect with the fans.

One way or another wrestling through all these eras has been great. What other form of scripted live entertainment besides traditional theater has lasted so long? The characters are over-the-top and tap into our deepest wishes and fears, to say nothing of being a cathartic experience. I’m privileged to have met many of these wrestlers as friends and business partners and wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve got some pretty wild stories and maybe someday, when it’s safe, I’ll share them!

So there it is, some of my favorite wrestling memories over the years. I look forward to more ahead!

TOM

 

 

MultiVerses Are the Rage as Future Shock 2131 Looms

There’s something in the air…or in the ether. I had the idea for the FUTURE SHOCK story arc several years ago. It was around 2012 and viagra otc I was having conversations with my son, Alex, about a future Champions of the Galaxy story where the GWF is invaded by characters from a parallel universe where things are somewhat the same, but also different in major ways. At the time I was focused on the BLACK DEATH trilogy, which had rejuvenated my interest in the game. BLACK DEATH saw a far-reaching story about beings from another dimension trying to take over our universe by possessing people that harbored excessive anger. The lower emotion of anger was their entry point for infection. I loved writing BLACK DEATH, which represented the years 2127-2129 in GWF time, but I also knew I had an ace in the hole with FUTURE SHOCK, which would trump BLACK DEATH. No game fan could have expected to see a story that would bring characters like Chaos (with a working Alpha http://buycialisonline-topstore.com/ Stone), Crossfire (who didn’t die in his parallel world) and Lope (a devolved, more savage version of Wolf) to the GWF. It was all top-secret. For the first time I released no sneak previews of card art and released no clues about what was coming. It all worked great and FUTURE SHOCK has been a hit. What’s been

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interesting in the past year is the popularity of the multiverse concept in comic books. As an avid reader I have been drawn to the same themes in Marvel and DC precio de cialis en mexico comics. I just finished reading The Just and Thunderworld, which are part of the Multiversity series from DC Comics. The Just #1 is amazing. Imagine a world where super heroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have taken care of business so well that Earth is a safe place. Their children, not having much to do, become superstars of the tabloid kind instead of super heroes that need to save the planet. It’s a wild ride and a great concept. I hadn’t been reading Spider-Man for several years, then along came Superior Spider-Man (where Doctor Octopus takes over the body of Spider-Man and replaces him). I didn’t think the concept would have staying power, but it did and I enjoyed it. But what came next intrigued me even more where the Spider-Men of different universes are forced to come together to defend themselves against the threat of a terrifying family called the Inheritors, who travel around the multiverse “feasting on the life-essence of the spider-people.” This new story arc is called Spider-Verse and features among other things Spider-Gwen, a super hero that comes from a universe where Gwen Stacy never died. There are all kinds of weird and wild Spider-Men. It’s pretty mind-boggling and I’m enjoying it. On a related note I’m also reading three Doctor Who comics featuring the ninth, tenth, and eleventh doctors, produced by Titan Comics. The Doctor Who concept, at its core is about the multiverse, as well as traveling across space and time. I’m thrilled to have the current Champions of the Galaxy story as part of this speculative wave of multiple universe books. How can it not be interesting to examine what might have been in another world if things were a little (or a lot) different? Plug time: I have speculated about parallel universes in my new book, Shadows on the Road, but the focus is on our own personal lives instead of the lives of fictional characters. Imagine YOU in a different universe where you took a different road in terms of your job, relationships, or where you live, to say nothing of the myriad other “small” choices that branch out and create an entirely different set of circumstances in our lives. I believe in multiple universes as do many theoretical physicists. For scientists this belief is a by-product of String Theory and grounded in empirical speculation. Beyond that the concept of multiple universes is the cornerstone of mystical religious beliefs although couched in different language. An example is buy cialis online Hindu Puranic literature where it is said: “After separating the different universes, the gigantic universal form of the Lord, which cialisotc-bestnorxpharma.com came out of the causal ocean, the place of appearance for the first puruṣa-avatāra, entered into each of the separate universes, desiring to lie on the created transcendental water.” I look forward to continuing the multiverse concept and story in FUTURE SHOCK 2131, which is due for release in July, 2015. I’m proud that my creative outlet (at least game-wise), Champions of daily dose cialis reviews the Galaxy, continues to thrive, moving along hand-in-hand with cutting edge ideas in popular medicaid viagra culture. I hope You in this world and universe have enjoyed this blog. I also hope the multiverse versions of You have enjoyed it too, at least those that have access to it. Until Wolf of this universe meets Lope (oh gosh, is that a hint?)… TOM

I’m Arizona Bound and Filsinger Games is Set For More Growth in 2015!

“Go West, young man,” said Horace Greeley a long time ago, and I guess it took a while but I’m taking his advice. It’s time for change.

I wrote about my coming move to the West Coast in my blog on my personal web page and it’s right here. Now it’s time to address the Filsinger Games universe since some game fans have expressed concerns about what this means for the company.

I’ll tell you in a word it means NOTHING, there will be no lapse, no lull, IN FACT I’m looking forward to GREATER GROWTH for Filsinger Games in 2015! It doesn’t matter if I live in Jamestown NY or Sedona AZ or the Sudan or the moon. All that matters is our mechanisms for running the company are in place and will remain in place with no changes!

Hey, it’s 2014, and with the computer and the Internet you can be anywhere and still in the thick of things.

As of today (and I haven’t even moved yet) all our games ship from New Jersey, so there’ll be no change there. My incredible game artists (Werner, Steve, Darryl) live in three different states, no change there either. Team FG (my newly coined expression!) includes writers, artists, online specialists, and distribution managers, and we’re already spread out across the country.

Now I’ll admit I’m going further away but it doesn’t make any difference. I’ll still be a computer post away.

More than that I plan to come back to the East Coast on at least an annual basis for Filsinger Games promotional tours. That means game conventions, wrestling shows, comic book conventions, etc. These events will take me to many traditional hot spots like Indianapolis (GenCon), Detroit, New Jersey, Cleveland, and of course Jamestown.

In fact GalactiCon 2015 might still take place in Jamestown, we’re not sure yet. But you can bet there’ll be a GCon 2015 on the East Coast because the tradition MUST CONTINUE! And I’ll be there!

So I’m really looking forward to all this!

Even better, we’ve got some major plans for Filsinger Games in 2015! I don’t want to spill the beans yet, but rather than a step back we’ll be taking several bold steps FORWARD! You’ll see!

So have no fears loyal promoters! Team FG (which YOU’RE part of) is 4 Life!

Until Blizzard moves to the desert…

TOM

Tom’s Open Letter of Thanks

It’s 4:25 pm on July 11 and I want to thank everyone involved in COTG Live Event before the show starts at 7:30 tonight.

As far as I’m concerned it’s a success already. I am deeply touched by game fans for making this event a reality. I created Champions of the Galaxy in 1985 and now nearly 30 years later it will come to life in front of my eyes and the eyes of the fans.

This fact really hit home last night when I met Malta the Damager when he arrived in Jamestown. It struck me: This guy is going to be Brute tomorrow night! How cool is that?

It’s amazing the time, effort, and money that main organizers Todd Joerchel and Jeff Gutherz put into this project. Heartfelt thanks to them but there are so many others. There’s Louden Noxious, Randy Grey, Paul Schermerhorn, and many more, including all the people that contributed to the kickstarter campaign to fund it.

Tonight is the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon a game creator…no heck, any creator! It’s fantastic that people care enough about this game and these characters to make this happen.

I am truly humbled. Thanks again to all.

TOM

 

CotG: Breaking The 2130 Code

Oh geez, instead of saying NOTHING about the upcoming 2130 game edition I’m going to say NEXT TO NOTHING. It’s more tantalizing that way! A mystery lies at the heart of it. An event of epic proportions. Coming on the heels of BLACK DEATH that’s saying a lot. The 5 Clues begin on Monday, June 9 and every Monday after that until the Big Release on July 12 at GalactiCon. No card art. No clear giveaways. Just tantalizing tidbits that won’t even form a coherent story. If you can figure this one out, loyal promoter, then you are a true

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genius or even a mind reader. Sit back and enjoy. We’ve never done a sneak preview season like this before. I’m having a great time and I think you will too. TOM    

The GALACTICON Season: The BEST Time of Year!

It’s the greatest time of year.

GalactiCon 2014 is coming on July 11-13 and there’s a lot of work getting there but what fun it is to do this kind of work!

There are no words for how awesome it is to have an event like The Great Galaxian Bash scheduled for July 11. This beats anything that’s ever happened at GalactiCon BY FAR! It’s an incredible dream come true for loyal promoters to see Champions of the Galaxy cialisotc-bestnorxpharma characters come to life in a wrestling ring, but what’s more incredible is the names of indie talent that are attached: Stevie mixing viagra and cialis Richards, Chuck Taylor, Alex Reynolds, Gavin Loudspeaker and more!

Add to that a Legends card on the same night featuring Marty Jannetty, Brutus Beefcake, and Doink the Clown. There’s also two members of Dark Menace Forces: Rocky Reynolds and Bennett Cole, to say nothing of the Dark Menace himself!

This historic event will be filmed for a DVD but being their live is the key. Fans will wear alien masks and partake in the drama of the first-ever live Champions of the Galaxy event!

Hey…and then there’s GalactiCon weekend! Wiggy will be attending along with Chuck Carter!

What about our awesome GalactiCon game releases? There’s a new Ring of Honor 6-Pack coming out featuring Christopher Daniels and more to be announced!

Then there’s the latest Champions of the Galaxy expansion, the most top-secret edition EVER released! What awesome secrets will it bring? You’ll find out on July 12 at GalactiCon! You don’t want to be at home perched on your mailbox waiting for it to come! IF YOU HAVEN’T buyviagraonline-rxstore.com MADE PLANS YET TO BE IN JAMESTOWN DO IT NOW!

I love putting the finishing touches on a new CotG game edition. Working with Darryl Banks is always a pleasure and creating new stories and cards is invigorating. I feel like BLACK DEATH ushered in a new glory era in the GWF over the counter cialis and it’ll continue in 2130. It WILL BE MEMORABLE, that’s a guarantee!

So special is 2130 that special packaging is required. It’ll cost me a little extra on my end but HEY— I’m doing this because I love it!

I’m cialis alcohol mix down to the proofreading stages and final editing so 2130 is coming along great.

I’m also excited about the release of my second book, “Shadows on the Road”. If you liked “The Dark Menace of the Universe” you’ll love “Shadows” too. It’s a book about pursuing the dream of a Champions of the Galaxy movie or TV show, but it’s also a road book ala Jack Kerouac. I think you’ll love hearing about the people I met on buyviagraonline-rxstore the road and the musings of the Dark Menace on solitary days and nights. There’s also a couple sections (or mini-chapters) about Stan Lee!

I’m thrilled by the release of “Shadows on the Road” because I am spreading my wings as a writer and artist. Or maybe just being more myself in what I write about. cialis for sale las vegas

If you haven’t seen the book trailer yet check it out! You can see it at my new web site and if you haven’t visited my new web site yet please do! It’s tomfilsinger.com. Please help spread the word about “Shadows on the Road” because this kind of writing means a lot to me. No caveats. A person doesn’t have to be a game fan or wrestling fan or Champions of the Galaxy fan to enjoy it. “Shadows” stands on its own.

THANKS!

The BEST time of year is here and the countdown is on to July 11. There are SO MANY people that have helped bring us to the point that I can’t name them all, but hearty thanks to Todd Joerchel, Jeff Gutherz, Gavin Loudspeaker, and promoter Randy Grey, for making The Great Galaxian Bash one of the biggest wrestling events of the year!

See you at GalactiCon!

TOM

 

Champions of the Galaxy 2130: The Big Mystery Cometh!


It’s a milestone of sorts.

The next big game edition for CotG will come with no sneak previews of card art and no major revelations announced in advance. That goes against tradition! Teasers have always been a hallmark of Filsinger Games!

Well, not this time. That’ll make it more special because it IS so out of the ordinary. But hey, why do things the same way all the time?

The 2130 expansion comes on the heels of the wildly successful BLACK DEATH story arc, we’re really on a roll! Plus there’s all kinds of awesome CotG developments like the amazing Live Event on July 11 and my continued efforts to pitch a CotG screenplay for movies or TV.

We’ll be busy enough at Filsinger Games that our fans will have plenty of sneak previews. For example we’re currently finishing a round of sneak previews for 2 CHIKARA packs coming on May 25 and then next month sneak previews for the upcoming RING OF HONOR expansion pack (coming on July 12).

And then there’s the deafening quiet of CotG 2130! A state secret.

What does it mean? What drama is about to unfold?

Do you like special packaging? You’ve got it for 2130!

Do you like big themes like BLACK DEATH? You’ve got it with 2130!

Do you like the unexpected? Need I say…you’ve got it with 2130!

Let’s have some fun—no teasers! Let your inner 8-year old go wild and you’ll burst at the seams when you get EVERYTHING at one time…when you hold 2130 in your hands…when your mind explodes with shock and awe!

This is different. This is fun!

Until Sur and Bex bring in the reserves…

“COTG: The Movie” Update

There’s been so much attention lately for COTG: The Live Event that I haven’t had a chance to report on the progress of a COTG movie or TV show, so here goes… As many of you know I was in Los Angeles for about a month a half comprising the last week of February to the first week of April. Aside from enjoying the great weather (it was a lousy cold March in Jamestown) I spent a lot of time shopping the completed screenplay for a Champions of the Galaxy movie. The first thing I did was attend a scriptwriter’s social networking event with Mark Litton who wrote the COTG screenplay. I always enjoy meeting other creative folks and these writers are from all walks of life and they have fascinating stories and dreams. I wish them all well. Mark is fond of showing me the sights in LA and we ate at the LA Farmer’s Market before attending the networking event. Mark and I also completed a pitch book, ten splash pages of art and general information about Champions of the Galaxy in full-bursting color. I sent copies of the screenplay and pitch book to four producers who I met in my previous visits to LA. These people are often swamped with work so I haven’t heard back from them yet. I am also cultivating new relationships including

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seeking representation from an agent. These processes tend to be lengthy but I have laid a lot of groundwork the past few years. Since I don’t live in LA having a good agent could be very beneficial for opening doors and keeping this project moving along. I met one producer in the main lobby at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. He’s currently finishing work on a horror movie and he wanted to understand how Champions of the Galaxy could be translated into a movie. There was a televised event taking place around us with celebrities, reporters, cameras, hors d’oeuvres, but we stayed, just sat there and talked and let stuff go on around us. It was Hollywood glamour all the way. One highlight was seeing Stan Lee at his office in Beverly Hills. It’s always great to see Stan and we chatted about a lot of things but I had the chance to show him the Champions of the Galaxy script which he held in his hands like a proud father. He told me he wanted it to be successful because he wants a cameo in the movie, which was a very cool thing to say but I doubt he would actually be allowed to do it. Having my movie script in the hands of the man who influenced me to create Champions of the Galaxy in the first place was a moment I will never forget. So for now it’s a waiting game. I’ll get feedback from my four initial contacts while simultaneously doing homework on potential agents as well as other Hollywood folks to send the script. I recently contacted artist Randis Albion to say hello (he created the main image for the Champions of the Galaxy movie poster several years ago) and he surprised me by sending me an alternative version of the art which I am posting here for the first time. You’ll have to let me know what you think! Keep your fingers crossed! I’m hoping for a Champions of the Galaxy movie, TV show, or even cartoon series in this lifetime! Until Chris Hemsworth plays Star Warrior in a COTG movie…

The Greatest Fans Making the Greatest Dream Come True!

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more: Filsinger Games fans are the greatest in the galaxy. They are proving it yet again by not only organizing but also supporting an incredibly ambitious effort to bring Champions of the Galaxy to life.

This is an amazing venture. Jeff Gutherz and Todd Joerchel mentioned the idea to me last year at a convention in New Jersey and I said, “Okay, sure, why not.” I didn’t grasp the significance of it the way they did.

Champions of the Galaxy has been around since 1986 and to see it come to life as reality is pretty incredible. I’m thrilled to report that the kickstarter effort organized by Jeff and Todd is marching to the goal of $7,500 and we’re hoping to surpass the goal because extra money means a better show and more bonus stuff.

We’ve already got three great independent wrestlers cast as Champions of the Galaxy icons with more announcements to come. There’s Chuck Taylor as Thantos, Orange Cassidy as Star Warrior, and Alex Reynolds as Wolf.

The event will take place in Jamestown, New York on July 11 and will reverberate throughout the professional wrestling world. A threshold will truly be crossed when wrestling’s greatest game, Champions of the Galaxy, comes to life for the first time. As the creator of this game universe and characters it is very rewarding to see such energy and enthusiasm.

Randy Grey is a wrestling

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promoter in Jamestown that is also helping to make the event possible. Everyone is helping, including charismatic ring announcer and one of our greatest fans, Louden Noxious.

I can only say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has contributed anything to make this possible. I can’t wait for July 11! That’s GalactiCon weekend and it’s our 25th con anniversary so needless to say this is the best one ever!

Oh yeah, almost forgot, to help us fund this amazing project and make it better go here!

Until another big game fan, Daniel Bryan, shows up at GCon to participate in COTG: LIVE EVENT…

Speaking of Games Here are My All-Time Favorites!

We posted recently a “Best Game Designers of All Time” list at ListNerd and with the support of our incredible game fans they pushed me to the top of the list.

Which I don’t believe I deserve but I very much appreciate the support.

It got me to thinking about games and how much they have meant in my life. I am a game fanatic. The front closet in our home has dozens of games and upstairs there are a dozen more.

Every Christmas when the kids were young I bought games for us to play as a family. Everything from “Don’t Wake Daddy” to games no one has ever heard of.

I’m not a one-genre guy, so the games I enjoy cut across a lot of categories.

As an adult I have enjoyed social games to play with friends and relatives. It sure beats boring conversations about the weather. Games like Loaded Questions, Apples to Apples, ImaginIff, and Ultimate Outburst are a fun way to pass the time, always good for laughs.

With closer friends it’s fun to delve deeper. The regular version of Loaded Questions is fun (players answer questions anonymously like, “What super power would you want to have?” and one player must determine who said what) but the adult version is even better with people you’re comfortable with. It gets naughty and that’s great for late night laughs and mischief. Other great games of this ilk are The Dirt Game and I’ve Never…The Game of Truth. You need to play these games with people you are comfortable with and who don’t get embarrassed easily.

The best new game on the outrage and craziness scale is Cards Against Humanity, one of my new favorites. You have to play this to believe it. It’s like Apples to Apples except on LSD. You can only play with people who are open-minded and somewhat outrageous. Having a twisted sense of humor helps.

Some social games are more demanding. I love them but some people don’t want to think or work so hard when they are playing a game. These include Dixit, DiceCapades, and The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Game. The last one requires players to write funny captions for New Yorker-style drawings of funny situations. Players have their captions read aloud anonymously and players vote on the funniest caption. This requires creativity, a sense of humor and a strong ego, hence it’s hard to find people to play with!

I also purchase games based on TV shows or movies that we like. That includes a Doctor Who game (simple fun), Walking Dead (too complicated), The Office, and Baker Street. Baker Street requires players to solve murder mysteries based on real cases getting several minor clues one at a time until they think they can solve the case. In that way it’s very realistic. It is also a demanding game and takes as long as two hours to play.

As far as thinking games my favorite is Super Big Boggle. This is a game of finding words in a mixed array of letters. I play almost every night, especially during cold, long winters like this one. Boggle is a word game and I love it although ironically I don’t like Scrabble.

As for games that teleport me to another place, those would be my absolute favorites. That includes Strat-O-Matic Baseball which I have played religiously since I was a teenager. I’m a baseball statistics buff so the reward for playing a full 162-game season for my teams is the final stats which I compare to the real stats of the players. For example if Roger Maris hit 60 home runs for the Yankees in 1961 I’m curious how many he’ll hit over a full season for my team. One time I drafted him and I believe he hit 65 and with no steroids!

I play Strat-O-Matic with my long-time friend Jeff, but also sometimes alone as playing our own teams against each other is part of our season schedule.

Another game I have played often (but only if there are other players around) is Magic: The Gathering. I love creating offbeat and creative decks, not the cookie-cutter ones. I created an “unblockable” deck that has done great and part of the reason is experienced Magic players have never seen anything like it and they’re taken by surprise.

My favorite (and I”m not kidding) is Champions of the Galaxy. I’ve been playing a regular fed since 1988, that’s 26 years! There’s no end in sight. This is a game I can play alone and really passes the time because it’s a blend of structured stories and spontaneous creativity. You never know what the matches will be like, anything can happen. I play Legends of Wrestling on and off but Champions of the Galaxy will always be my favorite.

There are tons of other games I haven’t even mentioned that I have loved over the years including Risk and a game many people have never heard of called the BattleBall Game. It’s a futuristic football-type action game, very addicting.

My hat is off to the creators of these fantastic games, especially Hal Richman (pictured above) who created Strat-O-Matic which turned out to be a big influence on me.

If it seems weird that I would promote other games at this web site then so be it. The way I see it we’ll all in this together, all the game companies, all the creators. I applaud them.

I can only hope that my games have given players half the enjoyment that these games have given me. It’s a great gift—the gift of fun.

Until there’s a Champions of the Galaxy deck in Magic: The Gathering…