I have been sitting here all afternoon at home,watching the pouring rain lash against the window. During that time I have come to think about the vast array of gaming systems I either own or have played. This wealth of gaming experience has been gleaned from many years playing, writing and collecting.
I started gaming at the age of 10 when I was introduced by a school friend to Dungeons and Dragons; we played through many great adventures. I found D&D a fun system to play, and within its loose framework of rules we designed many good stories and characters. A few years later we moved onto the much more tightly ruled AD&D, which also proved fun. We began using figures to represent our characters in both D&D and AD&D and this in turn led to a need for a game system that used figures.
Our prayers were answered with the launch of Adeptus Titanicus by Games Workshop. This system revolved around battles between rival titans. I remember reading the rules so quickly that my first games really didn't do the rules any justice whatsoever. After the initial rush had subsided, I read the rules and got some good games in. The next logical step was to follow up with the purchase of Space Marines which, when combined with Adeptus Titanicus, formed the basis of the now ever popular Epic Armageddon. The Epic scale models really gave a depth to the game, with huge battles being played out on friends' relatively small dining tables.
After a while, I craved more complexity and deeper rules so I went in search of a new game to play. This came in the form of FASA's Battletech. This system was to be my staple right through until the mid 1990's. Battletech was a similar scale to Epic, but the complexity of the rules allowed a lot of different games. I wrote many scenarios for my group of gaming buddies.
At this time I attended a club in Luton, Bedfordshire and it was here that I found a very complex rule set in the shape of Challenger 2000 Ultra Modern Combat, by Bruce Ree Taylor & Bob Conner. I still have this game today and still love it. I have to admit though that I very rarely play it, due to a lack of willing opponents. One very memorable campaign found us re-enacting the first Gulf War. I also started playing Warhammer 40k whilst at the Luton club.
Shortly after I moved home and started to go along Finchley Games Club in north London. This was a great club which was not only well supported by its membership, but which was also looked after by the local store, Leisure Games, which was owned by the president of the club. It was at Finchley that I first discovered Call of Cthulhu as a tabletop role playing game, and wow, I was blown away. I started as a player but soon wrote my first story, the tale of Arthur Didcot. A few of us started to explore the possibility of running Cthulhu as a Live Action Roleplay (LARP). Our endeavours however were quickly halted by the release of the Cthulhu Live rules by Chaosium in 1997. Having quickly got hold of a copy of the first edition rules we successfully ran several events over the next 4 year period. I became more and more involved in larp and started attending most of the big UK events on a regular basis.
During this time I was still playing Battletech, Warhammer, Epic and a few home brew rules which varied from Celts/Vikings to sci fi. Most of these home brew systems were written by members of the club, and it was good fun play testing and making them playable. I gained a lot from my time at Finchley, and I thank all the members at that time for their time and sometimes patience.
So the early noughties found me moving to Cornwall and setting up a business, so most of my gaming was restricted to very few moments. I met my now wife Melanie in 2002 at a mutual friend's party, and after a while I was introduced to her kids. I hit it off with Tom straight away as we had a joint interest in wargaming. Tom and I went to the local GW and bought Warhammer 40,000 third edition. It was soon decided that Tom would assemble and paint the marines as space wolves and that left me the Dark Eldar. I have always like being the bad guys, so this didn't bother me. Having played a few games, he introduced a few of his school friends to the game, and few of them started to collect and play. I became a bit of a mentor, teaching all I knew about building, painting and playing. Things grew in size and Tom started the first official school club at Cape Cornwall School, which is still going strong and indeed now enter GW's schools league. Having left school and gone onto college, it was decided that we needed an out of school club, so we formed West Cornwall Games Club in the winter of 2006. We had our official launch night on the 28th February 2007. The club has grown steadily since that point and continues to provide a good environment to game in. I was determined right from the start to join the Gaming Club Network, although they represented the core beliefs that we had formed the club around. Soon after we were the second gaming club to become a GCN club in Cornwall.
Last year I took on the role of area representative for the GCN, and so far have managed to get a third club fully approved into the network, and a further 2 clubs are stage 1 approved. I chair regular meetings for these clubs, and amongst other things we are planning a Cornish games expo for late 2011.
So that's it in a nutshell really, 25 years of gaming so far.
In future blog articles I will be exploring the systems I still play today and those that have fallen by the wayside.