Ernest Gary Gygax, Jr.


What's better than a day in Lake Geneva?  A day in Lake Geneva with Ernest Gary Gygax, Jr. and his dog K.C.!  Ernie was kind enough to invite me into his home to talk about Gen Con, TSR history, roleplaying & gaming, and of course about his dad!  Not only did I get to drive the Gygaxmobile, but I was given a guided tour of all the sacred roleplaying history sites in Lake Geneva.


Ernie described the first Gen Con conventions, "Lots of board games, some miniatures, and a few hardy dealers who sold items from little ten by ten booths that otherwise were used for garden shows.  My mother and sister selling Coke products (returnables) and hotdogs to gamers, who just ogled the ladies.  I remember playing many games of speed chess and Nuclear War back in the 60's.  In between games, I had to go around with wooden crates and fill them with 24 bottles, and when the place looked respectable I could get many more sodas for myself!  We were never provided pop in our home and had to earn money to get it otherwise ourselves.  And Jeff Perren every night was running the movies, Zulu, Zulu Dawn, Tora Tora Tora, and Culloden.  Culloden is something you'd almost never have seen because it was a tiny BBC thing with maybe 50 guys or something somehow trying to act like they were armies."


Talking specifically about what's now known as Gen Con "0" (August 1967), "It was at my house, and my mom had a fit because there was a baby, it was probably Heidi, was crawling around on the floor and that's where Fletcher Pratt's Naval Wargame was happening.  And the shots I remember going 67 to 72 inches.  The idea is that you'd call your shots you'd say whatever degree angle it was, and then they'd have a protractor, and then they would take a tape measure and then they would walk the shots depending on what you'd  fired."


No outing would be complete without a stop at a game store.  We visited Lake Geneva Games where I purchased Dragon Lairds by James Ward and Tom Wham.  A great end to a beautiful day.  Thank you, Ernie and K.C.!








Picture of K.C. from Ernie's Facebook page.

Picture of Dragon Lairds courtesy of BoardGameGeek

Gygax, Jr., Ernest.  Personal Interview. 09 Dec 2015

Quoted material edited for content and clarity.