Last year, Flint posted a bunch of excerpts from his in-progress memoirs to his Facebook page. One in particular (that I'd like to link to directly, but can't find, so I'm going with a cust & paste version that was re-posted here) stands out in my memory:
There's a few different things I like about this story. One is that it's just a fun bit of reminiscence, well-told; a nice little scene. Another is that this is totally the kind of stuff my friends and I used to do as kids - set up large-scale battles in my basement or out in the yard using our G.I. Joe and Transformers toys and then play them out, including improvised dialogue. In those days we just called it "playing with toys", but looking back if we'd been trying to sound impressive we could have credibly called it "free kriegspiel" or "quasi-Braunstein" or whatever. So it's kind of funny to me to read about a bunch of adults doing pretty much exactly the same on the lawn of a Beverly Hills mansion. Third is the way this story intersects with the legend of Gary Gygax's Hollywood tenure, which is all coke-fueled hot tub shenanigans and fiddling away on the company dime while unsecured debt was piling up and people were getting laid off back in snowy Wisconsin. Yes, Gary's lifestyle in those days was pretty extreme, and that generated a lot of resentment among the fans and other employees at TSR that is still festering over 30 years later, but for all that he was still, deep down, a kid-at-heart who loved playing games with his friends, and I like knowing that. And, last but not least, is the "what if" thought about how, in some alternate timeline where Gary and Flint's sister (Lorraine Williams) were able to get along and work together, that maybe TSR and Hasbro might have struck some sort of deal to actually produce a set of G.I. Joe/Transformers wargame rules, and how awesome 11-year-old me would've thought that was.PIMMS CUPSSomewhere in 1985, I threw a bunch of G.I. Joes and Transformers into a box and took the winding drive to the D&D Mansion. The idea was to see if it would be possible to make a miniatures game with Joe and the Autobots fighting Cobra and the Decepticons. The sand table was made for inch-tall (25mm) miniatures, so the scale was all wrong. We’d have to play this game outside.Sometimes life all comes together in a perfect harmony. Disparate elements come together to a larger whole. Try as I might, I can’t pinpoint exactly what month or season it was. Say what you want to about Los Angeles, the weather is constant -- any day is ‘impromptu adventure day.’ There’s a reason the Movie Business moved here from New Jersey. But more to the point, weather won’t help me remember when this happened.I do remember the lawn, the tape measures and Gary and I. There were other people around, I just can’t remember who. I have to think that John Beebe, Joey Thompson, Donna and Penny, maybe Ernie and Peggy and possibly some Sunbow types (I can’t remember). That might have been the day Frank showed up. I can see him looking on the game stuff with amused distant fascination. And I can’t quite remember what triggered it, other than that it was the most natural thing in the world and it felt like that day when you were a kid and you decided it was time to build a fort.There was a gigantic oval stretch of grass and some foliage created by the drive around the DDEC Mansion. I would have liked more terrain, but it was a good enough battleground. I don’t remember how long we discussed exactly how far a Joe gun could shoot or what the destruction power of Megatron in Gun Mode would have, or how long, in game terms, it would take for a Transformer to transform, but it was a matter of minutes. Usually, with this stuff it's best to jump in and figure it out as you go. Planning has a funny habit of making things not happen -- especially things like this which are done for the pure fun of it with no practical outcome in mind. It's important to note that nobody thought this should be a product or if somebody did suggest we make a massive miniatures game together with Hasbro, the talk disappeared like the smoke from our Camels. That wasn't the point. In fact, the point was that there was no point. I’m not going to declare that the best stuff happens for no purpose, but I’m tempted to. I will say that breakthroughs and ‘Perfect Moments’ often happen when there’s no practical purpose for them and nobody is trying to engineer them.What I do remember was that at some point there were people holding trays of Gin and Tonics or Pimms Cups or some other British Imperial Drink and we were moving figures around fighting each other. We had to use tape measures, because the distances were far too long for yardsticks or rulers and I’m quite sure nobody was all that concerned about millimeters or even feet. The battle had begun.It was a quintessential ‘80’s moment, but it felt like something out of a Merchant Ivory film of the day. Mansion. Exotic Environment. Civilized people. We were like bored ExPats or British colonials wiling away the remains of a day. I’d give a lot for a picture of it, but maybe the image in my memory is probably better. It hard for my mind not to insert people in period uniforms and fan chairs (I think there actually was one) and silver trays (I think there were) and probably Wellington’s Victory playing on a hybrid boom box cassette player of the day. Don’t think I had a portable DVD player yet. Napoleon and Wellington had nothing to do with Optimus and Megatron, but it somehow fit. The ‘80’s were a time when things fit together that weren’t supposed to.It's not important exactly what scenario we created or who won or whether we even finished a game (It’s unlikely, there’s something disturbing about actually finishing a game), but that there was this moment when Transformers, G.I Joe, Chainmail and D&D all came together in glorious harmony. There are few things I like more than when things all harmonize, when irreproducible moments occur. They happen in small windows... Small windows of opportunity. This had to be 1985. There were clouds on the horizon for DDEC. TSR was bleeding money and sharks were circling. But that day, there was no trouble. The world was a symphony.I won’t say that it was all downhill from there. It wasn’t. But we’d reached the top of some mountain and for just a moment, I could see whole possibilities in the world that I’d still like to see realized.