Ben Baldanza is a regular and experienced contributor of both game articles and reviews to Counter, and has contributed reviews to The Game Report, Rail Gamer and the Funagain Web Site. His BGG name is “diemacher”, of course named after his favorite game of all time. He is an avid gamer and once owned over 4,000 games. His collection has slimmed down to about 1,000 and still includes an impressive collection both mainstream and hard-to-find titles.
Born in 1961, Ben is married to Marcia, another avid gamer. Ben and Marcia now live in Arlington, VA, but have lived in and been part of successful gaming groups in Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Texas, and San Salvador, El Salvador. He started playing games as a child in Rome, New York. These started as mostly Italian card games with his mother, graduating to family board games and some wargames in college. He stopped gaming for a while after college, and was reunited with the hobby when introduced to some of the “German Invasion” games in the early 1990’s.
Ben holds degrees from both Syracuse University and Princeton University and has held multiple positions with various airline companies throughout his career. After retiring as the CEO of Spirit Airlines, a major US airline that is publicly traded using the ticker SAVE, Ben now serves on several corporate boards and teaches at George Mason University. Aside from gaming, Ben likes to be a good husband and dad, run, and play trombone in local area groups. Ben and Marcia have a son, Enzo, who is a good gamer in his own right and has his own BGG account (EnzoAnthony). Their dogs, Karl-Heinz and Lily, are dachshunds who love to sleep during gaming sessions with one eye opened, waiting for a snack to be dropped. He particularly enjoys development games, transport or “network” type games, any odd game or dexterity game and trick-taking card games. Ben also keeps an eye out for games that are easy to teach to non-gamers as a way to grow participation in the hobby.