well, here's the second half of my key gaming moments, which made me the gamer I am today :) the first part carried through the first 10 years of gaming (the formative years) , this part will carry through the remaining 15 years to the present day. So without further ado:
4) My first Tournament
This was back in the days of the Warhammer Players Society (WPS). For those of you who are unaware, the WPS was probably the biggest influence on community gaming in the 1990's and early turn of the century, and set up the tournament circuit. For a while, they were even running the Lenton tourneys- it was these i became a part of, and still love. Yes, they are competitive, but they were also a means for 180 men to get away from wives, girlfriends, housemates, whatever and geek out over toy soldiers. the games were fun, there were a few personalities, and much beer was consumed. Sorry, but the last few tourneys I've attended that had more than 80 people just haven't had the same vibe. The point really is that I did, and do, fully embrace the competitive aspect of the hobby, but I still insist that it should be a good experience for all involved. Clubs and tourneys instilled that in me.
3). My first Independent.
We're getting close to 2004 now. I moved back home, and found that an Independent store had opened- Cyberdyne (they're no longer in business.) I became close friends with the manager, and this was really where I went back to experimenting with other games and models, including board games. I was firmly in a tournament mindset- all of my armies were built with tourneys in mind, which was at odds with pretty much everyone else in the store :) We set up a club, kept the gaming tables going, got painted models sorted, intro gaming, and I regularly ran games for the kids. it was really a polar shift in my gaming- I relaxed some of my viewpoints (mainly through peer-pressure, it must be said), started playing campaigns, developing a gaming group.
I guess this was where I "matured" as a more rounded gamer. I found that painted models made a big difference, that there was joy in converting, and that games weren't all win or lose. Between staying in the tournament scene and balancing that with the in-store experience, I became far more rounded as a hobbyist. The other over-riding opinion that has never left me- Games Workshop stores do an amazing job at recruiting people into the hobby. Independents and Clubs do a far better job of retaining them.
2) The Ex.
Fast forward 4 years. This was a big moment in my personal hobby, and I sincerely hope that no-one out there has had a similar experience! Without going into details about the Ex, it was a bad break-up. It culminated in, amongst other things, her destroying all of my collection. Books, models, scenery, tables, paperwork, dice, paints- everything went up, literally, in a cloud of smoke.
In hindsight, this was a bit of a boon- it was a fresh start, and meant that I am no longer cluttered with the detritus of years of gaming. Yes, I've had to completely re-build my hobby from the ground up- but I've been able to pick and choose the bits I wanted to keep. I can honestly say that all of the models I now own have seen use on the table. I also, for the first time, have a collection of scenery and tokens, so there aren't many games which I need to buy all the add-one for, for represent with counts-as. Every cloud and all that (even plastic and lead clouds!)
1) The Internet
This is not strictly in the time line, but I've put it number 1 because, in honesty, the Internet has impacted my hobby more than anything else. When I started playing, the Internet didn't exist (god I feel old when I think about that.) Now, anyone can get 6 months of lessons and advice in the space of an afternoon. We can find out about new games, products, techniques, everything in the space of a few clicks. It's made a massive difference to the hobby as a whole, and certainly a big difference to me, as I spend a significant amount of time lurking around other websites and blogs to see what others are thinking about at the moment (although I do avoid NetLists.)...
and that brings us up, roughly, to the present day. So that's a few stops on the hobby road that brought me here. Hopefully it's been of some interest to a few of you. Personally, I'm gearing up now to have some 40K goodness over the next few weeks, as well as some other bits and pieces to break up the sci-fi (in case there's a few of you who really aren't interested in 40K)
Comments, as always, are welcome.