I have played with toy soldiers since before I can remember. I mark the actual start of my gaming hobby as the spring of 1971, though, when a 5th grade classmate lent me a copy of Introduction to Battle Games by Terence Wise, and I realized that there could be rules. I also acquired my first Avalon Hill board war game that year. I bought my first fantasy miniatures, from a Lord of the Rings range by Minifigs, in 1974 or 1975, and heard about D&D when Gary Gygax published an article about it in the Wargamer’s Digest. I finally got a copy for my birthday in 1976, the same year I went to my first gaming convention. I’ve shifted emphasis between hobby branches a few times, but I’ve really never been out of the gaming hobby since 1971, so pushing 50 years.