Ernest Gary Gygax

Picture of Ernest Gary Gygax

Date of Birth: 07/27/1938

Age: 69

Place of birth: Chicago

Citizenship: United States


Gary Gygax was born in Chicago in a family of Swiss immigrants, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Ernst Gaygeksa. He spent his childhood in Chicago, seriously at odds with the children from the neighboring quarters, he took part in mass brawls, which is why in 1946 the family moved to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where his mother`s family, Gary lived since the beginning of the XIX century.

In childhood and adolescence Gaygeks became interested in literature in the genres of fantasy and science fiction, as well as a variety of games loved. In five years, he played card games, chess later, while playing with friends in a kind of live-action role-playing game, in which he played a leading role in ten years. By the science fiction and fantasy Gary keen on his father. In 1953 Gaygeks began to combine love and enthusiasm for the games in the history of desktop wargames, in which he played with his best friend Don Kaye. Teenagers Gaygeks and Kay have created their own rules for the game with miniature soldiers, explosions simulated using Petar.

Gaygeks dropped out of school in the 11th grade and went to work, to try themselves in various professions until the age of 19 did not return to Chicago. He studied at evening classes at the vocational college and attended the courses of anthropology at the University of Chicago. In 1958, Gary married Mary Jo Powell, soon he had children. Gaygeks went on to study at evening classes, have high ratings and has applied for admission to the University of Chicago at the insistence of the teachers and was accepted. However, being a married man now prefer instead of studying to get a job in an insurance company.

In December 1958, Gaygeksa fascinated Gettysburg board game from Avalon Hill company. He became an active member of the community and the fans of board games played by mail Diplomacy, for which developed my own rules. By 1965 Gaygeks was seriously fascinated board wargame, written articles for many thematic magazines, to develop their own rules, in particular trying to make changes in the process of obtaining random numbers, which use not only standard hex bone, but the bone in four other regular polyhedra.


In 1966 Gaygeks with Bill Speer and Scott Duncan founded the International Federation of fans of wargames (International Federation of Wargamers or IFW), which brings together several existing clubs wargames, promote the interests of fans and forums organized for them. In 1967 he held a meeting Gaygeks 20 fans wargames in the basement of his home in Lake Geneva, where he and his family returned to the same year. This meeting was called Gen Con 0. The next year Gaygeks rented a hall for the forum, officially became the first convent in Lake Geneva (abbreviated Gen Con) for $ 50. Currently, Gen Con - it is one of the largest gaming conventions in North America. In August 1969, on the first Gen Con, Gaygeks met with Dave Arneson, co-author of the future of Dungeons & Dragons.

Together with Don Keyem, Mike Reese and Leon Tucker Gaygeks in 1965 he founded the club of military miniatures enthusiasts Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association (LGTSA), whose headquarters was located in the basement of his house. Seriously engaged in the development of games, Gary quit his job in the insurance business and became engaged in shoe repair, which gave him more free time for your favorite things. In 1970, he became editor in chief in the company Guidon Games, engaged in production of wargames. Gaygeks participated in the creation of Alexander the Great desktop historical games (the campaigns of Alexander the Great) and Dunkirk The (on the Dunkirk evacuation), issued in 1971. In 1968 Gaygeks with Jeff Perren wrote the rules for the wargame Chainmail (Mail), dedicated to the tactical battles of the Middle Ages; the game was also released in 1971. Together with Dave Arneson he created a wargame on a naval theme, entitled Do not Give Up the Ship !.

The second edition of Chainmail, released in 1972, Gaygeks added an annex to the rules put in play monsters and representatives of non-human races, based on the works of Tolkien and other fantasy writers in the genre. Rules have been established for the individual characters of the game, including the wizards; there were rules on the use of ten spells that affect the course of the battle. In the same year, during a visit to Lake Geneva, Arneson had a game under the new rules in their own setting of Blackmoor, and Gaygeksu immediately saw a great potential role-playing games.

Using as a basis for adaptation under the Chainmail rules setting Blackmoor, Arneson took Gaygeks and for the development of role-playing game called initially The Fantasy Game (game in the fantasy genre), which later became the Dungeons & Dragons. Rules of magic were created under the influence of the works of writer Jack Vance, in other aspects of the authors inspired by the system works of Robert E. Howard, Lyon Sprague de Camp and Fritz Leiber. In 1973 he went to work Gaygeks shoemaker and he tried to publish his game by Avalon Hill, but the company refused.


Gaygeks left Guidon Games in 1973, and in October, together with Don Kaye founded publishing company Tactical Studies Rules (later known as the TSR, Inc.) Each of them invested in a company of a thousand dollars, but this amount for the publication of the rules of Dungeons & Dragons proved enough, so out of fear that other publishers will release similar projects before them, Gaygeks and Kay was invited in 1974 by Brian Bloom as a third partner. This allowed in January of the same year to release Dungeons & Dragons as a boxed set. The first edition of 1,000 copies razosh