A native of Maryland, Rolinda recalls that her family played all the time with the brainteasers her father still had from his own childhood, and every Christmas they would search for new ones to buy to challenge each other, like "Drive Ya Nuts", "It's Knot Easy", the red cube "Soma", and many others through the years.
Rolinda calls herself a "very artsy person". Fiber-art, especially quilting, is her passion, which originally drew her into "Ye Olde Gamery" in 2004, with all its geometric wonders. Design, color and layout in quilting is so much like the puzzles, seeking symmetry or not, and very intriguing.
Her four children are all gamers, too. The three youngest are the most avid, having attended the World Boardgaming Championships (WBC) since 2001. Her son Daniel makes a frequent appearance at Ye Olde Gamery as a rakish pirate and even helps out with occasional errands.
Rolinda is a member of the Boardgame Players Association (BPA) and the Games Club of Maryland (GCOM), and often plays Scrabble at Barnes & Noble on Wednesday nights. In 2002 she won a championship at the WBC.
In real life Rolinda is an elementary special-education teacher. Her patience and her delight in seeing children learn are great assets and make her adept at teaching games, too. Her radiant smile and joyful appearance (note the garland in her hair) have certainly lighted up Ye Olde Gamery, and we look forward to a long and happy association. During the 2009 season she even managed to persuade the King and his royal court to come and play. In 2010, the King and companions included a couple of visits to the Gamery on the royal schedule.
Thomas G. Atkinson
came on board on Labor Day, 2004, through a serendipitous meeting with Kate at the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. Turns out he'd known of us and been buying our puzzles for at least 10 years.
From the first moment, he fit like a hand in a glove, and we wondered how we had managed all those years without him. He looks wonderful in costume at our Renaissance Festival booth, and his familiarity with our products quickly made him a fine teacher. His many talents involve him in every facet of our designing, wood and laser production, presentation and logistics.
Thomas has been making costumes since shortly after his birth (his "Baby With Bib and Carrots" was voted "Best Use of Roots and Tubers" at GerberCon '64). He attended his first Con in 1976 and has been a permanent fixture since. His costumes include "The Empire State Building," "Chernobyl Clean-Up Crew," "2010 Pajamas," "Winter's End (Potted Plant)," "Spaceman Spiff," "Lot's Wife," and a score of re-creation outfits, including Star Wars and Star Trek. Here we see him in his Jedi Knight garb.
Thomas is one of the world's greatest Star Wars fans. He started collecting Star Wars toys and memorabilia when the first movie came out in 1976, and he has not stopped since. His collection forms the basis of The Star Toys Museum, of which Thomas is Curator. In 2007, a portion of his collection was on exhibit for several months at the Geppi Museum in Baltimore. An all too short interview about his collection is on YouTube.
Thomas has a great affection for the classic tangrams puzzle, and his car is instantly recognizable by the several designs attached to it with magnetic pieces. The designs change with the seasons, including a Christmas tree and Santa Claus. His former car sported a Star Wars paint design and was on exhibit in Baltimore's 2007 ArtScape parade. Its brazen theft in 2010 left a lasting sense of loss.
Thomas lives at Meerkat Meade with his spouse, writer Don Sakers.
Photograph by Art Blumberg
Richard Grainger is "Odd Jobs," as his business card reads, and no job is too odd for the luxuriously bearded muscleman from Oella, Maryland. From hauling a ton of lumber from the driveway into the workshop, to stacking freshly stained boards 8 feet high to dry, or fishing a lost paper out from behind file cabinets, or taking on challenge games as Kadon's game master (pictured above) at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, or counting every single component of Kadon stock during the dreaded annual inventory, Richard meets the challenges with verve.|
He has appeared in a play (Carnival), sung in a choir, served as an artist's model, hauled bolts of cloth for a textile mill, collected garbage, janitored a church, won a bowling trophy, made printed circuit boards, walked across Maryland, been a Mensa member, done a stint in the Army, won First Place in the U.S. National Amazing Science Fiction and Horror Trivia Championship (right) at DexCon 7 on July 18, 2004, and been an extra in the motion picture Forrest Gump. His talent for spoonerized puns and for telling jokes leaves one grasping for clues or gasping for breath from laughter.
Spiderman is his favorite superhero, as captured in this caricature.
Richard is singularly equipped to impersonate another favorite fantasy character, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. Here's a look at Richard and Ken in full regalia at the 2002 Maryland Renaissance Festival, a grand role-playing game in its own right.
Photograph by Art Blumberg
Richard has contributed a couple of game ideas and a puzzle set to Kadon's repertoire, and is the unquestioned grand master of Squint Solitaire, having amassed thousands of solutions. D&D, Magic the Gathering, Uno, Mille Bornes, and Fluxx are among his favorite (and frequently played) games.
Richard is an excellent teacher, explaining everything from generator repair to game rules with clarity and conciseness. And it is Richard's skillful hands that polish the Quintillions blocks to their fine lustre and luxurious feel. Here he is, manning the Clean Carver that collects the loose steelwool dust with its vacuum system and industrial filter. He took this picture himself.
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