I would like to take the time to extend a special thanks to my friend of 30 years, Bill Winski. Like some of you, I started out in the board game world, way back in about 1974, with mostly Avalon Hill games. I searched them out and was able to find them in a variety of places such as Toys by Roy (a regional toy and hobby shop) and a discount department store called Saveco or something like that (back when AH games cost $7.99 and $8.99 each). When those stores closed I wondered where I would buy my board games. A friend told me about a game store in Tucson (where I lived) called Things for Thinkers. I stopped by (about 1979) and found they had an excellent collection of board games. Things for Thinkers became my store for board games and role playing games in my short rpg period.
Then one day I walked into Things for Thinkers and that began my introduction to serious miniature wargaming, meaning metal figures and complex rules. I went to Things for Thinkers one day after a college final to buy something to soothe my pain. The two women who owned the store (along with Bill) were discussing what to put on a sign that would advertise a job opening at the store. I asked about the job and I was immediately hired (god knows why). The next day I started working with Bill. One of the few products they sold that I didn’t know much about was the historical miniature wargaming figures and rules. Bill quickly educated me and set up a game for me to play. After that I was hooked, and I am still playing historical miniature wargames some 29+ years later.
Bill went out of his way to help me get into historical miniature wargaming while I worked for him (for a year in college) and well after that. He took the time to explain all the exotic and esoteric details of the hobby from painting figures to all the various rules that existed way back in the early 1980s. We played a lot of games together until I was commissioned into the Army in 1985. The most memorable was an American Civil War Campaign using GDW’s A House Divided as the campaign base and Stars n’ Bars as the battle rules. We worked all day, setting up the campaign when the store was slow, and then played a couple of nights a week after work. I don’t remember how the campaign ended, but I still remember how much fun it was to play some 29 years later.
I kept in touch with Bill while I was in the Army and he was more than willing to send me games and figures where ever I was stationed. I returned to Arizona in the early 1990s and returned to school and played more games with Bill. Sadly for Tucson, Bill decided to sell his store and move to Denver and open a new store, Attactix. I continued to buy rules, figures, paint, and other wargaming products from Bill and he was always happy to quickly ship them to me. Sadly, a large number of factors caused Bill to close the doors of Attactix today (August 3, 2011). My wargaming mentor and friend will no longer be running a game store for the first time since 1978. It is a sad day for both of us, but I will always be indebted to Bill for bringing me into this hobby and being my friend for 30 years.
Bill back around 1979 when I first met him:
Bill in his Things for Thinkers store from 1993, right before he left Tucson for Denver (the caption is “read the rules” as we always demanded that he should explain the rules we were too lazy to read).