Member Biographies

A look at the members of the East Tennessee Gamers.

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Paul Ainsworth

PAUL AINSWORTH

City: Knoxville, TN
Profession: Network Engineer
Favorite Game: Union Pacific

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RICHARD ARCHER

City: Knoxville, TN
Profession: Telemarketer
Favorite Game: Arkham Horror

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THOMAS BASS

City: Talbott
Profession: Mathematics Professor
Favorite Game: Fresco
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KEVIN BENDER

City: Knoxville
Profession: Programmer
Favorite Game: Android

Comments:

I love playing games and have played role playing games, collectible card games, war games, strategy board games, video games and classic games like chess over the years Originally from Arizona I am married to a terrific lady from Canada who is also an ETGer. Rhonda and I were married in 2002 and started co-hosting the ETG with Greg in the summer of 2005 when he moved to Tennessee. We have discovered some terrific friends across the gaming table since then. I have also found that patience and thoughtful analysis have served me well in gaming, and in life, and while winning is worth pursuing, having fun is what makes it worth trying.

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RHONDA BENDER

City: Knoxville
Miniature painter and bad housewife
Favorite game: Through the Ages

Comments:

I played classic games throughout my childhood, particularly card games, though there are many classics I have never or rarely played, such as Clue. In high school, we enthusiastically embraced Trivial Pursuit, and also occasionally skipped class to play Euchre or Bridge. In college I finally found people to play Dungeons and Dragons with, and we also enjoyed lighter card games for more social occasions. I became the President of my university’s game club in my final year, though I preferred to title myself Queen of the Geeks. The years following university were a bit of a gaming dry spell, but meeting and marrying someone even more enthusiastic about games than I am more than made up for it, and we were thrilled to fulfill the long-held dream we had both had of going to Gen Con within our first year of marriage (as soon as I learned to drive). As much as I like games in themselves, I would rather play a badly designed game with a group of good friends having fun than a perfectly designed one with stodgy strangers.

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MATTHEW BOKUNIEWICZ

City:  Maryville
Favorite Game:  The Resistance: Avalon

Comments:  Risk, Monopoly and Clue dominated my boardgaming upbringing, and while I won’t begrudge those Hasbro giants, I am very thankful to be making meaningful decisions with the East Tennessee gaming group.  Long live the Euro!

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TOM BOKUNIEWICZ

City:  Maryville

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MATTHEW BOYINGTON

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City: Knoxville
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SALLY BOYINGTON

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City: Knoxville
Profession: Freelance Copy Editor
Favorite Game: Tzolk’in

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CHARLIE DAVIS

City: Greeneville, TN
Profession: Stay at Home Dad/Adjunct College Faculty
Favorite Game: Kremlin

Comments: I moved move from West Virginia to Tennessee in June 2011 and joined the East Tennessee Gamers and Southern Appalachian Gamers Association immediately. I love to attend board game conventions and have met people from all over the world through games. I am on the staff of CharCon http://www.charcon.org , which is a general gaming convention held in Charleston, WV each October and I usually work at ORIGINS with the CharCon staff and friends. I enjoy longer games and dislike dexterity games but I will play anything.

I am married to Sheila Morton. We have consolidated our game collections and have approximately 440 games. We also have 2 wonderful kids and a dog.

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Jared Duckett

JARED DUCKETT

City: Maryville, TN
Profession: Corporate Trainer

I have always enjoyed tabletop games growing up. I’ve recently dabbled in some RPGs and war games but nothing stuck. As a young person I played the Pokemon CCG and Magic: The Gathering, but I never had a larger group to play board games with; I’m very happy to have been invited to join ETG. I live in Maryville with my wonderful wife, Melissa, and our dog, Maddie.

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Eric Edens

ERIC EDENS

City: Knoxville
Profession: Management
Favorite Game:  Power Grid

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IAN FERGUSON

City: Knoxville
Favorite Game:  Through the Ages

Profession: Student

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JIM FERGUSON

City: West Knoxville
Profession: High Performance Computing
Favorite game: El Grande

Comments:

I came to “Euro” games through wargames, old Avalon Hill and SPI, and still play and play-test some of these games, mainly card-driven two- and multi-player affairs. Found the ETG group when I moved to Tennessee in ’08, and loved the people I met.

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LILA GODEL

City: Knoxville

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TRIP GODEL

City: Knoxville
Profession: Manager
Favorite Game: Acquire

Comments:

I hold a MBA from the University of Georgia and am currently employed in the lending business. I joined ETG in 2008 and have been an active member ever since. I also enjoys working on cars, hiking, and working out.

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KYLE JOHNSON

City: Knoxville
Favorite Game:  Power Grid

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RICH LEE

City: Knoxville
Profession: Graphic Artist

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JIM McDANOLD

City: Knoxville
Profession: Retired
Favorite Game:  Brass

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BENJAMIN MIESEL

City: Knoxville
Profession: Accountant
Favorite Game: Dominion

Comments:

Although I am one of the newer ones to gaming in the group, I am quickly building my own collection and finding more and more favorite games each week. My favorite games are normally along the lines of resource management/manipulating stock value, but I am also quite fond of easy-to-learn card games. Dungeon raids are always good; I mean who doesn’t love a good party-based crawl through the catacombs? I started gaming primarily through MMORPGs, but then in college I had the good fortune of finding a lovely girl whose father had this rather strange hobby….. and look at me now :)

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JOHN MOORE

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City: Oak Ridge, TN
Favorite Game: Puerto Rico

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SHEILA MORTON

City: Greeneville, TN
Profession: Professor of English
Favorite Game: Puerto Rico

Comments:

I grew up in Utah, where people play board games a lot, though not always the good ones. I’m also the oldest of eight children, so I never lacked for playing companions. In college, I discovered German-style games, and the obsession began. I could often prevail upon friends to play with me, but I lacked a consistent game group and sometimes had to beg people to play. After graduate school, however, I moved to Tennessee and joined the East Tennessee Gamers, and life was good. And then, in June of 2011, I married a fellow gamer, Charlie Davis, so now I will NEVER lack for game companionship. I’m a lucky duck!

We have two great kids. Our two year old’s favorite question is “Do you want to play a game with me?”

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MICHAEL RANDOLPH

City: Strawberry Plains
Profession: Business Consultant

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JONATHAN RICKER

City: Morristown

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LIJAH ROBINSON

City: Talbott
Profession: Accounting Manager
Favorite Game: Le Havre

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GREG SCHLOESSER

City: Jefferson City, TN
Profession: Insurance Agent
Favorite Game: El Grande / Torres

Comments:

I have been into board gaming practically all of my life. I founded the Westbank Gamers in the mid 1990s, and the group met at my home in New Orleans for over ten years. Upon moving to East Tennessee, I co-founded the East Tennessee Gamers. I enjoy writing game-related articles and reviews, and am a regular contributor to numerous gaming publications and websites, including Counter (currently Editor), Opinionated Gamers, Knucklebones, Boardgame Geek, Gamers Alliance and many others. I have been a gaming enthusiast my entire life, growing up in our hobby mainly on the war game side. My foray onto the internet exposed me to the wonderful world of German and European games and now nearly all of my gaming time is devoted to this area of our hobby. I travel to several gaming conventions each year and am the co-founder of Gulf Games, a regional gaming get-together held in the Southern USA.  I also serve on the International Gamers Awards committee.

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MARK SLIWOSKI

City: Cosby, TN
Profession: Merchant Mariner
Favorite Game: Age Of Empires III

Comments:

I started war gaming in high school and continued the hobby through college and a few years thereafter. I playtested for Jim Dunnigan at SPI in New York while in college. I was a life-time subscriber of Strategy & Tactics till they died. Along with my son Ryan, I got back into gaming when we met the ETGers after finding them online five years ago. What a great bunch of friends they have turned out to be. Game On.

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MARK SMITH

City: Maryville
Profession: CPA
Favorite: Tigris & Euphrates

Comments:

I’ve grown from the kid who was always pestering his family to play games, to the adult who was always pestering his family to play games, to the happy member of ETG who no longer has to pester his family (or not as much, anyway). I love decision-rich strategy games with a dash of luck thrown in to keep things from getting stale, and where the complexity comes not from the rules themselves but from the strategic and/or tactical choices you have to make within the rules. Little downtime and good payoff for time invested are always nice, too! And of course I like some games just because I enjoy playing them, even if they don’t particularly match any of these criteria.

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ZACH SMITH

City: Jonesborough
Profession: Pastor
Favorite Game: Runewars

Comments:

I joined the East Tennessee Gamers in 2009, and I have enjoyed the great games and friendships. I have an eclectic taste in games as my Top Ten demonstrates, though I tend to enjoy games with a strong theme, mechanics that match the theme, great artwork, and lots of strategic options to explore. I especially like sci-fi and fantasy themes. I have incorporated the gaming hobby into my ministry through church game nights and gaming events for the young people in my church. Games have been a fantastic way for church members and visitors to get to know one another and build friendships. I am also a miniatures painter and like enriching my gaming hobby in this way. Here’s to many wonderful years of gaming to come!

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Michelle Tarson

MICHELLE TARSON

City: Maryville
Profession: Software Developer

Comments:

I grew up playing card and board games with my sister.  We loved Double Solitaire, Rummy, Careers, Bonkers and more.  After college I found friends who also enjoyed card and board games, and the four of us started playing weekly.  It was then I was introduced to some gateway games, Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride.  Moving to Tennessee in late 2012 and finding the East Tennessee Gamers in Spring 2014 has opened my eyes to the amazing world of board gaming.  I have barely gotten my toes wet and look forward to learning more games and developing my strategies.

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ADAM VUCELICH

Adam Vucelich

City: Knoxville
Profession: Engineer
Favorite Game: Twilight Struggle

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DAVID WILLIAMS

City: Knoxville
Profession: Teacher
Favorite Game: Stone Age

Comments:

I enjoy deciphering systems and figuring out synergies within game mechanics. I like learning a title like Puerto Rico, Stone Age, or Navegador and experimenting to find out how the different abilities and methods of earning victory points interact with each other. If a game is so well-balanced that it doesn’t matter what you do, that leaves nothing for the player. I prefer a game that rewards the player who finds elements that go well together.

 

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MEMBERS IN ABSTENTIA

The following are members of the East Tennessee Gamers group who no longer reside in the area.  We keep them on the roster, as they occasionally visit.  Plus, we have wonderful memories of the times we have spent together around the gaming table!

 

ASTRA COPE

City: Winston-Salem
Profession: Accountant

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NATHAN COPE

City: Winston-Salem
Profession: Pharmacist 

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MICHAEL ENNIS

Knoxville
Profession: Programmer
Favorite Game: Go

Comments:

My only exposure to “true” gaming growing up was a few crayon rail games and Scotland Yard. It wasn’t until I moved to Knoxville and met Kevin Bender that I really started to game more seriously. I worked on the same programming team as Kevin and I saw him with a copy of Race for the Galaxy and after discussing it, he invited me to play at his house with the ETG.

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Responses

  1. Greg,

    ‘Where yat?’ I am returning to again live in the Louisville, KY area in a couple of months after having lived in Nevada for the last four years. Will you be at Origins or Gen Con this year? If so I would love to meet up with you at one of them and catch up.

    Yours,

    John Quinnelly


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