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Back to the Ghost Archipelago with the HAWKs

Like many good adventures, my journey to game with the HAWKs required multiple thwarted attempts, unexpected detours, near misses, hasty fallback plans, and the lugging of heavy equipment.

For months now I had been trying to make it up to Aberdeen, Maryland where the HAWKs game club meets every other Friday in a community room of a local church. Each time I thought I could make the roughly 60 mile journey from my home in Silver Spring, something unexpected—poor weather, accident-snarled highways, flu—would derail the plan month after month.

Even last night's trek felt harder than such a relatively short jaunt should. The plan was to meet HAWK Eric Schlegel and his brother Kurt at Eric's place for pizza at 5:30 and then head over to the game scheduled to start at 7:00 (Eric lives a mere five minutes from their gaming spot). Earlier that day Google Maps indicated the trip was a hair over an hour in normal traffic. I left at 3:45. Two hours and fifteen minutes and two unplanned …
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Now I'm an expert!

A birthday present to myself arrived in the mail yesterday: An unplayed copy of the D&D Expert Set from 1981. Even the dice are still in the bag!

Or maybe it's more apt to say a belated birthday present to my inner 11-year-old self...

My first D&D-related purchase was the 1981 Tom Moldvay-penned Basic Set.  A friend's older brother had introduced us to Dungeons & Dragons a year or so before (I vividly recall that he brought the Holmes Basic Set to my house on a Sunday afternoon circa 1979-80).

After playing D&D for a few months using just the Basic Set, I was quickly enticed into accumulating the Advanced D&D 1st edition books. A precocious kid, I thought there was no good reason not to skip right over what I thought was the intermediary Expert Set. I'm confident my thinking went something like, "I don't need that Expert Set stepping stone...I'm ready to dive into the Advanced game!" My 11-year-old mind didn't realize that D&D and…

Mega "Space Hulk" Game

I bought the first edition of Space Hulk in 1989 when I worked at a comics and games store in Huber Heights, Ohio just outside of Dayton. We played it a fair bit, and it quickly became and has remained one of my all-time favorite board games. I even painted a few of the miniatures. Alas, a couple of years later I parted with my copy, giving it to a dear childhood friend who had done me a good turn when I was in a jam. Parting with Space Hulk coincided with lots of life changes, including becoming more serious about my classes in college, joining the college newspaper as the Entertainment Editor (writing weekly movie and album reviews, covering campus plays and student photography exhibitions, etc.), and finding myself in some serious romantic relationships. I had a full plate, and all gaming ground to a halt for years afterward.

The second edition (1996) of Space Hulk came and went out of print without making even a blip on my radar, testament to how little connected I was to gaming …