Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Wargamer's Gaming Timeline

Lately I've been putting a lot of stuff in storage and re-jigging my gaming shelves, 'cause they're huge. I try not to get rid of anything for good, as a couple of regretful sales have made me re-think selling my gaming stuff. All this handling of old gaming stuff has gotten me a bit nostalgic about my gaming past. I don't mean to brag but, with the exception of names, my memory is especially sharp. I can remember everything about where, when, and how I bought all my gaming items (as well as my records, but this ain't a record blog), and it's thrown me down a reminiscing mine-shaft that I'd like to drag you all down as well. So brace yourself for impact and bring a mine-shaft canary 'cause I have a timeline for y'all:

+ Introduced to Magic: the Gathering by a friend's brother. Bought myself a 4th edition starter and an Ice Age starter for my brother. For all intents and purposes, my gaming life begins.
+ Because of my new-found interest in Magic, I look for strategy guides at my local branch of the Vancouver Public Library (VPL). Some clever librarian sticks all the Magic books above the AD&D 2nd Edition books which are conveniently set at the height of a 9-year-old half-Neapolitan boy.
+ My first AD&D games begin at the lunch tables of my elementary school. We get everything wrong.
+ My interest in Magic and AD&D lead me to discover InQuest and Duelist magazines (for some reason Dragon and Dungeon magazines don't find their way into my hands until the D&D movie). These magazines begin me down the road of the million CCGs I eventually collect (Doom Trooper, Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, Star Wars, Middle Earth, Star Trek, and X-Files)

+ Mom buys me the Introduction to AD&D boxed set for my birthday from a comic shop on Main st.
+ My aunt returns from Scotland with a couple blister packs of Warhammer High Elves and a catalog that lists a Games Workshop in Gastown.
+ Mom gets the Games Workshop confused with a different games shop in Gastown and we go there to get the 4th Edition Warhammer starter, and a Citadel paint set (note: the 5th edition starter was just released a month earlier, but I thought the lizardmen were stupid).
+ Because of Warhammer, the CCGs go into boxes and under the bed.

+ Games Workshop opens me up to miniatures gaming, from which I've never looked back. I play every game Games Workshop releases from that moment onward.

+ Baldur's Gate is released. I play the hell out of this thing, and periodically re-install it all the way up to today. I also play all the other isometric RPG computer games that there are (Diablo series, Icewind Dale, Fallout, etc.)

+ I get the Internet and find out about other miniatures games like Warzone, and Chronopia.
+ I find out that there's a Wizards of the Coast retail store at Northgate mall in North Seattle (a 10-minute drive from my grandmother's house in Shoreline). I spend a summer in Seattle, playing Warhammer at the WotC shop. Find out about D&D Chainmail, and the Alternity RPG.
+ The release of the Dungeons & Dragons movie prompts the comic shop near my favorite theater downtown to display an issue of Dragon magazine. I buy it and begin collecting yet another paper-based thing.

+ Games Workshop begins carrying the Hogshead re-prints of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Though I played AD&D in years previous, WFRP is the first RPG that I actually bother to learn word-for-word and I run the entire Enemy Within campaign for three friends. It takes a year of weekly gaming to get through, but it's still the most fun I've ever had role-playing.

+ Because of other life activities I stop going to my regular weekly game night at Games Workshop (which I had been going to since 1997). I don't stop gaming, though.
+ The combination of the Internet, and my pioneer spirit leads me to the discovery of other miniatures games in earnest, and deepens my love for Warzone. I begin collecting figures for Dark AgeVOID, Confrontation, more D&D Chainmail, Warzone, Chronopia, Warlord, Battletech, Warmachine, etc.

+ I play Axis & Allies with my friends pretty much every weekend.

+ Having not gone for years, I stop by my local Games Workshop to see how things are going. I catch up with the manager who knew me from when I was younger, and he asks if I'd be interested in a job. At the time I was working at the local fair, and thought that this would be vastly better than getting yelled at by parents.
+ My interview consists of finding out when a good start time would be, and what size uniform I wear.

+ I work for Games Workshop as a redshirt, and have the time of my life. My amount of friends doubles, and to this day remain some of the closest friendships I have. Also my painting improves.

+ Games Workshop manager leaves to open up his own game shop, asks me to come work for him.

+ I begin playing boardgames that aren't Axis & Allies, and HeroQuest, and begin playing more role-playing games, including the World of Darkness RPGs which are some of my favorites to this day.
+ I start this damned blog.

So there you have it, almost 18 years of gaming at a glance. My gaming career can now vote and go off to war. It's a milestone year: not only does my gaming career turn 18, but the High Elves for Warhammer get a release (my first miniatures army ever), but the Dark Angels got a release this year (my first Warhammer 40,000 army), Wizards of the Coast re-released the AD&D 2nd edition books, and Warzone is getting a second life. Hell, if WotC begins opening stores again, and I get back into Magic it'll be a full regression!

Anyway, nostalgia can be "an empty thing," as R.A. Salvatore said, but he's not in charge of this blog, is he?



Kelly said...

I still remember when you were a wee regular at GW Metrotown while I was working there as a redshirt. The moment that stands out for me was watching you play a large multi-player game, and your army was getting ripped apart. Instead of getting frustrated, you role-played and enacted a little scene between a soldier and his officer.

"What do we do now sir?"
"We stand fast and die like Guardsmen!"

That was a fantastic display of loving the game, win or lose.

Darren Bolton said...

I think you were the only person buying WFRP from the shop...

Carmin Carotenuto said...

I still like to think that I don't take the game so seriously that I can still take enjoyment even in losing.

Also, it's a crime that the WFRP stuff at GW Metrotown didn't fly off the shelves.