I’m a middle aged tabletop gamer (that something number is getting higher!), who returned to gaming in January 2008 after a long absence.
Like many in the miniatures gaming hobby, we start out with role playing games (RPGs) or, in the last 30 years, through Games Workshop.
For me it was role playing Advanced Dungeon and Dragons in the early 1980’s (1st and 2nd editions) that got me started in gaming. This inevitably led into other role playing games – Traveller, Mega Traveller, RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, The Morrow Project, Twilight 2000 – mainly fuelled by my appetite for reading fantasy and science fiction.
In order to keep track of marching order or entry to a room in RPGs, we would often use small lead figures. Back in the 80’s there were some small independent manufacturers, and also Citadel Miniatures.
I remember when a friend got a copy of 1st edition Warhammer. A couple of friends quickly accumulated a huge number of models, mainly elves as I remember. Battles were fought over friends dining room tables, covered in models with the scenery provided by books under the tablecloth.
Seeing all those (partly and poorly) painted models arranged in rank and file, clashing in battle, fired my imagination, much liken the books I loved and so Warhammer 2nd edition was my entry into massed fantasy battles, with High Elves.
Unfortunately, by the time I hit my 20’s, work and other responsibilities took over, and playing with toy soldiers took a back seat, with eventually all my models and box sets being sold or given to charity shops.
The one thing I did hang on to was my copy of the sci-fi RPG Mega Traveller. And in the intervening years I would still pass a Games Workshop store and gaze at the fantastic paint jobs on models that became more and more intricate as the years went by.
Fast forward to the end of 2007 and I was looking for a distraction from work. It had been a particularly tough year and the stress of work and life had taken its toll ending in me being signed off work.
I needed something that would take me away from work and allow my mind to wind down and let the stresses of the day fade. I needed better balance.
Having been out of the tabletop and miniature gaming world for about 15 years, I had no idea the wide range of manufacturers and publishers that were available, so I headed to the one place I was aware of, Games Workshop.
I had a local store, so popped in for a chat and a look around. At this stage I was only interested in painting miniatures, actually gaming with them hadn’t really entered my mind.
So I picked up a Space Marine boxset and headed home. I still had a handful of old metal Space Marines and old paints at home dating from the early 90’s. I tore open my new plastic models and got to work.
A subsequent visit to the GW store got me chatting to the manager, telling me I’d be more than welcome to join their beginners gaming sessions on a Sunday morning, provided I didn’t mind playing games with young kids…more likely losing to them!
I attended for the full series of sessions, progressing from single unit up to multiple units along with a gradual introduction to the rules. And yes I did lose on a number of occasions to 11 year olds. After passing my novice training, I became a regular player on a Thursday night at their adult gaming sessions.
Then came Warhammer’s 25th anniversary and an event day at the store. Before I knew it I’m bidding on the main auction – and bagged a full Space Marine company for an insane £75 !!!
I still have that company. It’s the Ultramarines 4th Company, fully painted. Its also supported by a large selection from the 1st Veterans Company and 10th Company Scouts.
Looking back at my collection of rulebooks for 40k, that was 4th edition back in 2008, and I continued to play through 5th, 6th and 7th editions.
By 2011 I had joined a local wargame club, meeting on a Saturday morning. It was here that my eyes were opened to the other game systems available. And as most people in the hobby will know, this is where the new system or miniature fever hits…and since then things have expanded into other game systems, board games and card games.
Read on to follow my journey and adventures in tabletop gaming.