Board of Directors

Board Members

Steve Fratt Ph.D. – President

I grew up surrounded by toy soldiers, books, movies, and games. The American Heritage Book of the Civil War caught my attention in grade school. I was impressed by David Greenspan’s paintings and set about making elaborate battles with Lewis Marx figures. Of course any war movie had to be played as well. Sometime in junior high, my dad brought home Joseph Morschauser’s How to Play War Games and that began my maturing as a wargamer. Inspired by The 300 Spartans and Alexander the Great, I began purchasing Jack Scruby 20mm Greeks and Persians and using the Morchauser rules. In 1970, Waterloo happened! That started a 45 year journey in Napoleonics. At Westmont, I went to Europe and missed a chance to see the Waterloo battlefield. It was snowing in Belgium so I spent the money for that side trip on Heroics and Ros Napoleonics in 1973 and brought them back to the states.

I am currently the History Department Chair at Trinity College in Bannockburn, IL. and have been teaching at Trinity for the last 25 years. I belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism 1980 – present. I have also been involved in American Civil War Reenacting from 1993 to the present where I have attained the title of Colonel – commanding 1st Brigade, IL Vols. I have written and collaborated on books and articles.

For the last forty years, I have collected hundreds of boardgames and thousands of figures. Most of the effort has supported my teaching of history. I am honored to serve as the president of the HMGS-Midwest. I will attempt to use the office to model the integration of military history, reenacting, and gaming into a meaningful lifestyle for the next generation of gamers.

president@hmgsmidwest.com

Paul Dayton – Treasurer

I’ve been interested in gaming most of my life, but didn’t discover miniatures until about 20 years ago. While in England for 6 months a main activity to keep myself sane was collecting and painting miniatures. I enjoy Ancient as a favorite with ACW and Napoleonic Navel a close second. However, I’ve yet to find a period I didn’t enjoy playing. The rules for ancients I enjoy the most are “FistFull of Miniatures” – bloody and easy to learn, but with lot’s of tactics and strategy needed to play it well.

Keeping accounts up-to-date, bills paid, HMGS solvent, and easier ways for members to be involved are clear goals. I can be reached at:treasurer@hmgsmidwest.com

Kevin Cabai – Membership Vice President

I was 11 back in 1969, when a classmate asked me to play a game called “Blitzkrieg”, and soon thereafter all the Avalon Hill games we could afford. This dovetailed nicely with an early love of history. By 1973, I was going to cons such as Gencon, and discovered miniatures. Thereafter spending my hard earned money at the GHQ and CinC booths. We formed a group and gamed everything we could until we split up for college. I then spent 14 years as an Armor Officer, serving in line units equipped with every type of tank in the inventory (M48 to M1). During active duty I developed and published several sets of micro-armor rules, which are still played today.

Along with my wife, who after 30 years has evolved into a quite gamer herself, we love running games at cons and local clubs. It has been a tradition since Gencon XIII. My interests are open to all, but my collections are based on WWII/Modern (15mm and micro), and LOTR/Medieval (28mm).

My philosophy is based on personal experiences on what not to do. As an eager teen trying to wargame mini’s in the late 60’s and early 70’s we were not well received by the older veterans. It was a very closed circle, which ultimately proved its demise. Now a Grognard, of the newer generation my mission is clear. We as an organization need to continue to reach out to all. We have had a good start but we need to push harder to identify and satisfy the needs of the younger gamers, woman gamers and spouses.

This is only part of my mission. We are more than just a convention, we are a society. I would like to expand the benefits of belonging to HMGS. Develop a “Membership has its rewards” program. Give our members added value for their dues, looking into relationships with museums, reenactment groups and retail/online stores.

This is our group, but I cannot do nor brainstorm everything. I welcome and encourage your help and ideas. Please feel free to reach out to me.

The job of the Membership Vice President is to make sure that the membership receives their membership cards at or before the convention. The position also keeps the master database, so if you have any changes in your address, or need a membership card, contact the following:membership@hmgsmidwest.com

Tibor Ipavic – Secretary

I’m an “Old Guy”, 63, but much newer to the hobby than most of my peers.  I began to actually wargame in the early 90’s – introduced by my co-worker and good friend, Dave Latz.  Some of you know of him he’s been around the hobby a lot longer than I and a most prolific gamer.  

I’m Slovenian (not Slovakian), born here in Evanston, Illinois two weeks after my refugee parents and sister arrived in this country in 1956, from having escaped communist Yugoslavia in 1952!

I grew up in Wilmette, IL, and went to New Trier East High School.  I was very much into the Arts -Drawing, Painting, Photography and Architecture.  I attended college at SIU Carbondale majoring in Architecture which became my profession for 35years.  I was involved in many high-profile commercial projects throughout the country – many that you may have walked through, like the Harold Washington Chicago Public Library and many Chicago Public Schools.

In 1991, I joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served 25 years, retiring in Nov. 2016.  From 1991 to 1994 I served with the 12th Special Forces Group (Airborne), HHC.  That unit was unfortunately disbanded in 1994 so  most of us “jumped ship” to stay in Special Operations, and I joined the 17th Psychological Operations Battalion and served in three others thereafter.  For the remainder of my military experience I was a Psyop Specialist. I was deployed in OIF/OEF in 2003-2004.

Aside from that, I have many hobbies outside of “historical gaming”.  Over the years I’ve been active in many sports and activities; such as, Fencing, Archery, Shooting, Bicycling, Tennis, Racquet Ball, Sailing and competitive in most of those activities.  Also, I’ve done a fair share of WWII reenacting which was truly unique, out in California, when I lived out there for 16 years, in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m no longer in Architecture since 2007, thereafter having been a Sailing Specialist / Asst Manager, and eventually a Manager of a West Marine Store.  I returned to the Chicagoland area in October of 2014 to become Primary Care Giver to my mother, and this year I started to drive for LYFT, now that my mother has recently gone into a nursing home.

As HMGS Secretary I hope to impart some new vitality into the organization and ultimately into our local hobby.  We are looking to grow and expand our current conventions and begin to promote new ones. We, the Board of Directors are also looking to you members to step up to the plate and help us expand the participation by volunteering, but more importantly to help organize and recruit more games and gamemasters, particularly in your historical periods of interest.  

I’ve listened and heard members complain of the lack of this or that period of historical wargaming on the wane, well, I propose and encourage that problem can be solved, in part, by your pro-active participation in fostering and expanding the gaming and gaming areas of interests allowing greater dividends for all involved.  It’s a Win-Win situation. More revenues will be generated allowing for greater savings associated with our conventions. If we generate greater numbers in games and attendance, costs of things like hotel rooms, can be negotiated down, garnering more and better prizes and swag bag goodies. Much of the revenues are generated by the vendors who attend.  They respond to an uptick in attendance and games which to them translates to more sales at the cons. We are moving towards getting and keeping some of the hobby’s “heavy hitters”, making it worth their time and money to be represented at out cons.

Tom Kuczak – Board Member at Large

Hi, I’m Tom Kuczak. I just recently graduated from DePaul University with a BS in Accounting and Management Information systems.  I work for a great Midwest based public accounting firm called Plante Moran as an auditor.  I enjoy being able to meet and interact with people and build relationships with them. I also am an appointed government official as a Youth Commissioner for the Village of Harwood Heights, for almost 4 years.  My role is to organize and create programs for kids of all ages as well as community events.  I am in the process of introducing programs catered to kids to start playing tabletop games and eventually historical miniatures

Tabletop gaming has always been a part of my life.  I started when I was about 6 with board games but soon found myself fascinated with the miniatures aspect of it.  That fascination led me to getting into wargaming.  Now I am actively GM’ing at clubs, hobby shops and conventions.  

I wanted to thank you all for electing me onto the board.  It has been my goal to modernize some of the systems that we use.  You may have notice that the website looks different and is hopefully easier to navigate. We will be continuously improving the website to make it better.  I will be taking point on Tabletop Events so feel free to reach out with any questions about the site.  I know that there is a learning curve to navigating Tabletop but it makes organizing events like Autumn and Little Wars much easier!