For nearly a decade former Lethbridge Herald columnist Dale Taylor informed and entertained readers with his reviews and perspectives on 1980s and 1990s board games and gaming culture with his “The Games People Play” weekly scribblings.
Taylor passed away in September after a lengthy illness, but his family wants to ensure his passion for games is communicated to future generations by listing his nearly 1,700 games and 500 game extension sets, alongside his individual reviews of these games where possible, online at Board Game Geek.
“In about 1971 Dale was walking down a back alley with a friend, and back then we had burning barrels,” remembers Taylor’s wife Marianne. “He saw this bright orange box on top of a burning barrel. Out of curiosity they went to see what it was: it was a war game called ‘Panzer Blitz.’ Obviously it wasn’t wanted because it was on the burning barrel; so he took it home. That was how it started.”
After becoming a columnist with The Herald, Taylor began to receive free board games from various companies who all wanted him to review their games. This is where the majority of Taylor’s collection came from, says Marianne, but even after he stopped writing his column in 1994, Taylor continued to have a passion for games.
“He loved reading about them — he loved to read the rules, he loved to punch out all the parts, and he loved to visualize the playing of the game in his mind if he couldn’t play it with anyone,” she remembers.
Taylor also loved inviting friends and family over to play, says Marianne.
“We have lots of fun memories of the games,” she confirms.
However, it is Taylor’s passion for collecting which is best remembered by his family. Mark, Taylor’s son, tells a story which illustrates his dad’s deep seriousness in this regard. Mark remembers what happened after he once borrowed one of his dad’s party games to take to a friend’s house.
“We played it and brought it back either that night or the next day,” recalls Mark, “and probably the day after that he calls because he had gone through the game to make sure everything was there, and there was a pencil missing from the game. I said, ‘Sorry, I’ll get you another pencil.’ He said, ‘Oh no, it just can’t be any pencil. This had the name of the game on it.’”
For the next four years Taylor reminded Mark of that time he borrowed a game and lost the pencil; so Mark and some friends hatched a plan.
“One of my friends I had originally played with called me, and told me they had this game at the Wholesale Club,” remembers Mark with a laugh. “It was five bucks. So I said, I am going to go get this game, and I’m going to take a pencil out of it and wrap it and put it under the tree for Christmas. And then we can put this whole thing to bed. On Christmas morning Dad opens up the pencil and kind of chuckles a bit. And then he’s like, ‘I already called the company and they sent me another pencil a few years ago.’”
Since his passing, Taylor’s children have listed over 1,600 of his games on Board Game Geek, and will soon begin attaching his old Herald reviews where appropriate. Those interested in seeing the list can do so at http://www.boardgamegeek.com under the user page Dalmari.