Today I thought I’d take a break from painting models and art projects, to talk about my earlier days when I first started getting into table top wargaming. I hope you enjoy this post, as well inspiring you to share your own story’s of your early years of hobbying.
How it all started was a completely random fate of destiny, when I’ve found a copy of White Dwarf at my local newsagent, way back in 2009 (I feel really old now….). At the time I had no idea what table top hobby was about, so when I found White Dwarf for the first time, It was like finding a new species in the forests of magazines and newspapers.
I remember looking at the front cover of the magazine, an illustration of the lizard men preparing for war with their crude weapons raised up as they charged in. To me, this was something interesting and new for my young mind, so I brought it, not knowing from that day onwards, I’d be getting into a new hobby that would literally change my life forever.
As I read through the magazine, I’ve found a whole new hobby to explore and learn from, although I didn’t really start the hobby until a few months later when I finally stepped into my first GW store.
A beginners experience
Ah, even looking back now is really nostalgic for me, now that I look back to my first visit to a local GW store. Yet again, a random chance of fate was presented to me when I was shopping at my nearest city, I took a different route than normal to go down a side street. This street had a GW store (even today I found it odd that they don’t have stores open on main shopping streets) as I went inside the small shop, it was packed full of people playing table top games, painting models and conversations, like a proper community! (Sadly, as the years have passed the store hasn’t had such a mass crowd, there are still some at the shop now and then, but not like it used to be).
Back then, the stores had two staff members, I think one of them was a trainee as he wore the blue shirt (I’ll elaborate on the trainee later). The manager greeted me, having a conversation with me about the hobby, a very nice person at the time. However, I couldn’t even understand a word he said as his front teeth were missing, I kept saying ‘what?’ to him to rephrase the question. He asked wether I’d like to start a beginners set (the small boxed starterA kits), I imediatly said yes as I was about to embark on my first step in being part of the community.
At the time you had three choices, either a starter box of Space Marines, Night goblins or Mines of Moria goblins. The manager explained each franchise to me and my family, a general explination on the franchises lore. My mum immediately said no to 40k as she didn’t like it’s explaintion, so it was just down to two. The Night goblins looked boring, so I’ve opted to buying the LoTR kit instead, with a copy of White Dwarf of course. This was the first kit I’ve ever brought from my local GW store, and I’ve still got the models to this day!
A noob at LoTR, A total noob at strategy and rules!
You might be curious as to why I’ve never posted about my LoTR collection on my blog post? Well, let’s just say the passion died very fast from boredom after a few games with others. Every Sunday I’d come to my local store to play games with others, this was a time when LoTR still had a few players at the store. However, I didn’t like playing it, I’ve found the rules to be difficult for me and I was pretty much alone as my own force. I left after a few turns as I had to go home, a bitter taste of defeat.
After buying the stater box for LoTR, I thought I’d get better at the game, but alas it was hopeless for me. My mind was not processing information like the others at the store, I was almost put off from ever playing again. That is until I’ve introduced the hobby to one of my friends, which lead on to what I still collect to this day, Warhammer!!!
My first game of Warhammer fantasy was a multiplayer game of Empire vs the Orcs and Goblin, a battle that pitted the might of engine technology against the masses of greenskins. I remember having to roll for the canons to blast some of the Orcs to meat bags, that was a fun engagement indeed. The army I was playing was shared by a local hobbyist who let me, my kin and the owner himself play against three other players. This game cemented my decision to start playing Warhammer as a hobby to invest in for the long term. A good choice too, as the LoTR group was slowly disappearing over time, which would of left me alone with no one to battle against.
The veil falls down (a bit of a rant)
The manger of the store was acting very different from my first encounter with him, he seemed very serious and not as fun as before though. This was because back in my early years, I’ve used the stater armies for beginners about two times from the store to play. The manger explained to me that I needed to buy an army now, and let new beginners use the starter armies. All fair enough to be honest, It’s only fair that I needed to invest on my own army. But the way the manger delivered his explination was quite snarky if I’m honest, almost as if he wanted me to buy something or not bother at all.
This was when it clicked in my mind, I forgot this was a shop and not a social club, I understand that I was stalling others (even though no beginners were at the shop when I’ve used the starter set) but the manger was a bit out of line with his response. So I just use my good manners and agreed, I looked at the model ranges and picked my first box set, Dark Elf Corsairs.
Did the mangers attitude change after that? Not much. He would treat me like anyone else that came through which was a relief, however when it came to gaming that was a different side. I was still getting to grips with the rule set, and he clearly knew I was a beginner from the way I was playing the game. At times I really felt depressed for being a failure at playing at my local Gw store. Soon enough he left, whilst I have no ill words or hate towards him as I see that he was a good manger at his job, I did feel as though he needed a bit more understanding with those with difficulties like myself. Best of luck to him!
My first army was the Dark Elves, a faction so dear to me that they have lost every single game to this day. But that’s not the point, the point is I’ve had fun playing them as I always get the satisfaction of at least battling against the high Elves in 7th edition and 8th edition. Remember that trainee I’ve mentioned earlier? Well he was actually an inspiration to me, as unlike the manager, he treated me with a bit more respect. He was a Dark Elves player too, having a whole unit of metal Corsairs in his collection. He was a great opponent and ally at gaming on Sundays Warhammer games, a great rolemodel for the community.
I played Dark Elves (and Skaven Yes-Yes) right up until the End Times came around. Looking back now, I miss playing the old world of Warhammer and its deep lore saga. I can understand why many gamers felt bitter and cold when the End Times took everything and discarded existing factions such as the Tomb Kings and Bretonnia. Even myself was skeptical about my future with the hobby after the End Times, would my army’s even be used again? Whilst the answer is clear as day as I still post old and new collections, the fact that the old world ended was a big deal to me.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you guys have enjoyed it! If you have any questions, post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!
Hope you guys have a great day,