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HOGS: The Hopatcong Organized Gaming Society
Hopatcong/Flanders/Budd Lake/Hackettstown, New Jersey, 1995 to 2000

When I moved to New Jersey in early 1995 I started looking for a new game group. Within a few days of my arrival I found a local group that had been gaming together for years: the HOGS.

We played a pretty bizarre variety of games: just about everything from vampire role-playing to Cold War microarmour to ancients to spaceships. We even played my brief and only attempt at role-playing in the Generic Legions universe.

As with many game groups, the turnover in personnel was fairly heavy. A lot of people came and went during the time I was with the group, and I didn't get photos of everybody.

Towards the end of 1999 attendance started dropping for various reasons. Ric Gonzales, one of the founding members and one of the main organizers in the group, had retired and moved back to Texas. Another guy got divorced and couldn't come to the games anymore. A couple of other guys got married and couldn't come to the games anymore. Several other guys just got out of gaming for one reason or another, or just got bored and wandered off.

After a few months of nobody but me and Pete Frechtling at the games, I started moving on to another game group, the Friday Night Irregulars, along with Bob Johnson. Pete and several of the other former HOGS are still active and gaming in the area, forming up with the remnants of other game groups to form a newer, larger group, as is often the way with game groups. I still run into Pete and Bob and some of the others at the big HMGS East conventions.

Other HOGS photo galleries here on Irvania.com:

Ricardo Gonzales, Mike Doolittle, and Larry Duckles. In this photo Ric is enjoying the watermelon. While going through these photos I noticed that food played a prominent part in our gaming sessions, as was the case with most of my other game groups throughout the years.

We didn't realize it at the time, but Ric really was the heart and soul of the group. After he retired and moved back home to Texas, the group started to fall apart and move in different directions.

"Die, you horrible little metal person! Die!"
I don't have a goatee in this photo so this game must have taken place just before I started working at Bell Labs in the summer of 1996.

Larry Duckles, better known as "Replacement Larry". Larry Huss, aka "Larry Senior", is pictured below.

In January 1999, HOGS hosted a big Gettysburg game in a local church basement and invited a boy scout troop to participate. The kids played, the parents watched, and the HOGS shared the referee duties and explained the historical battle. It was a pretty good game. John Holly took charge of the organizing and acted as head referee.
Standing, left to right: Bob Johnson, Mike Doolittle, and John Holly.

Pete Frechtling.

Mike Doolittle and Phil Buonomo help the kids set up.

I believe John Holly painted all the miniatures and provided the terrain. I think we used the Fire and Fury rules for this scenario, although most of the time we used John's own game designs for American Civil War games.

These next photos are from a DBR game at my house, I think sometime in mid-1999. Several of the other guys were into tournament-style ancients gaming, which was never really my "thing", to tell you the truth.
Seated, front row, left to right: Nate Huss, Chuck Rowan. Standing, pondering: Pete Frechtling. Seated in the back, left to right: Bob Johnson, Marty Connell, John Holly.

Chuck Rowan.

Bob Johnson and Marty Connell.

Left to right: Bob Johnson, Marty Connell, John Holly, and Larry Huss.

Close-up of the miniatures. I'm pretty sure these were painted by John Holly, Larry Huss, and Mike Doolittle. They were the guys who were into tournaments and ancients.

I don't remember why we didn't bother to put any terrain on the table for these games. These photos were taken in my game room, and there were boxes and boxes full of terrain stuff on shelves all around the room. The miniatures look really good though.

If you're a regular at the big HMGS East conventions (Historicon, Cold Wars, and Fall In) you've probably seen Pete Frechtling's Leonardo Plus games. Pete builds his own vehicles and devices based on original Leonardo DaVinci illustrations.

More of Pete Frechtling's Leonardo Plus miniatures. Pete is a fantastic painter and skilled scratchbuilder, and puts on a pretty fun game to boot.

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Last updated: June 11, 2016