July 4, 2001 - Industry News
Alan Emrich Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award

Alan Emrich Accepting AwardAlan Emrich, Recipient
The Hamilton/Blomgren Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement

ConsimWorld.COM was pleased to induct Alan Emrich as the first recipient of the ConsimWorld.COM sponsored Lifetime Achievement Award, officially named The Blomgren / Hamilton Memorial Award. The official announcement took place on May 24, 2001 during opening ceremonies at MonsterGame.CON 2001.

Alan Emrich is recognized for his outstanding contribution to the industry and unrelenting enthusiasm; evangelizing the hobby to newcomers.

About the Blomgren/Hamilton Memorial Award
Ed Blomgren is universally recognized by all colleagues graced by his presence for his ability to introduce newcomers to the hobby, and his tremendous passion for the hobby. He was a regular at the Southern California game conventions and could always be found enjoying a game and introducing others to a pick-up game. Ed left us several years ago, but his passion and impact in promoting the hobby to others will always be remembered.

Winston Hamilton established GR/D Games which stands today as the longest-running historical simulation publishing company (resulting from the Hasbro acquisition of TAHGC). Winston passed away earlier this year and is remembered for his unrelenting commitment and passion to the industry, including involvement with GAMA.

Please join us in congratulating Alan Emrich for his many outstanding contributions to the industry and commitment to evangelizing the hobby to others. Alan was kind enough to furnish us with this acceptance letter following the presentation of the award.

In May of 2001 I was presented the Hamilton/Blomgren Award for Lifetime Achievement by ConsimWorld.COM. It was awarded to me at the first ConsimWorld game convention, Monstercon.CON, by John Kranz (“Mr. ConsimWorld” himself). I’ll leave it to John to tell you about Winston Hamilton and Ed Blomgren, two of our hobby’s finest whose time among us at the game table is no more. Suffice it to say that these were people who gave their all for our great hobby, and it is in the shadow of their legacy – that of extra effort, their forefront concern of gamers, gaming, and games, their personal dedication and sacrifice, and all with the verve of genuine enthusiasm – that I am truly humbled and have very gratefully accepted this award.

But to me, I shall always think of this Award by the phrase I have long used to thus describe those wonderful souls in our hobby whom I hold in similar regard, for whom gaming runs in their blood and is a way of life. I say of them that they have a “heart of dice.” I’m sure you can probably think of someone right now who has a heart of dice. Someone who evangelizes the hobby, who performs all kinds of craftsmanship to make a game more presentable or playable, who helps with the playing arrangements, who teaches new players patiently… the list goes on and on.

About Alan Emrich
Just so you know what I did to win this Lifetime Achievement Award, I need to share with you some gaming history. As soon as my free copy of Napoleon at Waterloo arrived during that fateful summer in the early 70s, I was hooked. I loved games, and soon taught all my friends this “war” game. I attended my first local game convention that year and, when the auctioneer didn’t show up, I (was) volunteered to take his place. Since then I’ve been the auctioneer at dozens of game auctions and sold thousands and thousands of games thus.

A few years later, in 1977, my friend John Meyers and I co-founded the ORCCON game conventions in Los Angeles, and later I helped get L.A.’s other two big game conventions, GATEWAY and GAMEX started. These three conventions are still running every year to this day. I brought the ORIGINS convention to Los Angeles twice: in 1986 (often cited as one of the best game conventions ever), where I served as the Convention Manager, and again in 1989.

I ran for office in the Game Manufacturers Association, where I served as their first Vice-President (and where Winston Hamilton, in whose memory the Heart of Dice Award was founded, served as a Director). I’ve also served for years on the Origins Awards Committee (representing Computer Games) and the Charles S. Roberts Awards Committee (where I am usually the presenter of those awards).

During the 1980s I started a little game company called Diverse Talents, Incorporated where we did game importing and exporting, ran the Los Angeles game conventions, and published several magazines including Fire & Movement, which enjoyed a Renaissance with a return of its founder Rodger B. MacGowan back helping out. It was also during that time that I did the 2nd edition for Game Designers Workshop’s A House Divided and designed and developed along with Dan Verssen 3W’s most successful boxed games the Modern Naval Battles Card Game series.

During the 1990s I shifted over to the computer side of the hobby, serving as the first Strategy Game Editor and later the first Online Editor at Computer Gaming World magazine. I also managed to write some very intense Strategy Guides including Sid Meier’s Civilization or Rome on 640K a Day (with Johnny L. Wilson) and the Official Strategy Guides for Master of Orion (with Tom Hughes) and Master of Magic (with Tom Hughes and Petra Schlunk), Empire Deluxe and several others. These tomes were renowned for their depth, explanation of what was going on behind the screens, and numerous tables and formulas that pulled all the information in them together.

But I had been writing a long time. My first gaming article was published in 1975 (and earned me enough extra credit with my stunned English teacher to pass her class) and I’ve written literally scores and scores of articles, reviews, variants, columns, and other gaming extemporania ever since. I’m amazed at how many old hands in this hobby see my name on convention badge and remind me of some article of mine they read 15 or 20 years ago.

Some other contributions I’ve made to the hobby include being the first great evangelist for Cosmic Encounter, developing Steve Kosakowski’s marvelous Krieg! game for Decision Games (and later doing Totaler Krieg! and now its Pacific Theater counterpart, Ikusa!). I even married a wonderful lady who is also a gamer; and like the gamers we are, we named our daughter Avalon Candice (“can dice,” get it?) Emrich and our son Archer Cannon Emrich (I figure he’ll have a good missile rating), thus giving us a “pair of A.C.E.s.” As I write this, I’m currently busy with my magnum opus, the design of Master of Orion III for Quicksilver Software to be published by Infogrames. It’s a huge undertaking.

Let me close with a story I shared with the audience when I accepted this award. Back in the early 1980s my then-girlfriend had come over for dinner (I enjoy cooking). She brought a friend of hers over and the two of them were just outside the kitchen door in the tiny dining room of the abode I shared with my two roommates (ironically, both named Alan). As I cooked, I overheard her friend remark disdainfully (no doubt as she gazed at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stuffed with games and game magazines), “How can he spend so much time with those games? They’ll never love him back?” But my prescient girlfriend rebutted, “That’s not true. I’ve seen him play those games and laugh with his friends. I’ve watched him study them and then write articles about them. I’ve seen how animated he is at his game conventions and when he’s doing the auctions and telling stories about them. And you can tell when you see it, sometimes those games really do love him back.”

And that’s what receiving this Lifetime Achievement Award means to me. It’s one of those countless and always-cherished times where this hobby has loved me back, thanks to all of you who share it with me.

I’m very grateful for this distinguished honor and offer my humblest thanks for this recognition. And as long as I can read rules, push pieces and roll dice, you can bet that I’ll keep on building our hobby.

Alan Emrich

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