Mr. Black here, in case you hate my titles, and today I’m here to simply look back on the various miniatures games I’ve played over the years. Why am I doing this? Well no particular reason really, I just feel that it’s good to take a look back on your roots every so often and remember what shaped you into who you are today. Why should you care about this journey and read about it? Because I damn well said so, that’s why, and if you don’t then I swear I will come find you and-
Sorry about that everyone! Just a joke of course!
We’d love for you to join Mr. Black in his harmless reminiscing! -Bigred
Ahem, where were we? Right, the past… As I’ve said, I’ve played countless games over my life, and while my roster includes card games, video games, board games, etc today we’ll be sticking to miniatures games in order to save time. So without further adieu let’s jump right in:
Sometime in the Past- 1997
A Ravenwing Attack Bike Box… If memory serves me right, that was my initial interest. I recall so many years ago, being around eight or perhaps a bit younger, I had just started to get into gaming, the T.V. telling me to find something called a “hobby store” to pick up my newest want, the Magic: The Gathering Portal Starterbox. I looked all around at the Toys R Us and Targets and whatnot and could never find it, eventually remembering a small shop with a front that merely said GAMES near an old Big Lots my grandmother used to bring me by. I recall ventured inside to discover the world of gaming for the first time.
Granted, I didn’t pick up the box for many months, namely because, at the time, I was a card kid and the miniatures people where all much older, but eventually the temptation grew too much; it looked so cool and I was still very much into action figures at the time… Imagine my surprise when I found you needed stuff like glue and paint to go along with the box! Luckily the store owner was a good guy and helped me with it, recommending I pick up the Space Marine Paint box if I was really interested. Forsaking the bike, I spent the little money I had on the paint box, picking it up and happily painting my five marines over and over until they resembled the Batman villain Clayface due to the massive amount of layers. My young mind saw them as toys, and you played with toys, and in this case I meant painting them over and over.
During this time I picked up a few things here and there, namely the bikes and a few more marines, I think I had an old Rhino at some point… But I decided then the game was too expensive for me, so I just picked up models in between Magic: The Gathering and, after moving on, Deadlands: Doomtown. This would continue until…
2001: Not a Space Oddessy
Two games came out around this time that caught my interest, of them, I’ll speak of the lesser of the two first: Chainmail.
To this date I don’t remember ever actually playing a game of Chainmail, namely because I couldn’t find anyone else who had purchased the game for anything other than their Dungeons and Dragons games (and those people where nerds!)(fyi: I own some fifteen 3.5 books and about a dozen 4.0 books to date… sigh…). I do remember though I had the Gnoll and the Undead starter boxes and happily painted them up. I can still visualize the Scorched Brown Gnoll sitting in front of me, no detail and a paint-by-numbers look to him… Was about this time I realized this painting stuff is hard and if it was hard then it sucked. Luckily for me however an alternative was available:
Yes, good ol’ Mage Knight from Wizkids! All the addiction of CCG booster packs combined with pre-painted miniatures! I will honestly say I had a great time with this game and wanted to collect every single miniature in the base set… Hell I can still remember my standard 200 pt army…
Um… 1x Draconum Magi… I think he was called?
1x**Leech Medic (For the Draconum, since he had magic immunity!)
1x*Shade for point filler…? Did I run a Shade?
I… Think that’s a 200 point list… No, it was 198, I remember always complaining about that because if time was called and no one had killed anything I list since the point-score system meant I started two points down…
Yeah, I remember all that now… And the Amotep Gunners were Lightning/Fire, so they could deal 1 point of damage to formations, but because of the Adepi Magus they dealt 2… and maybe the Shaman caused them to add another?
…Did he have that ability? No, no, that was the Orc Wild Mage or whatever, that had random abilities on his dial… Did I mention the game was click-based (a precursor to the more popular Heroclix)?
… …Why do I still remember any of that?
Anyway, point being is that I loved Mage Knight, thought it was a solid game with a great idea… Except the fact they used up all those good ideas in the first set, because all the future expansions just sucked and none of the models where any good. Up until around the fourth release, with those green-plastic translucent angel thingies… Solonavi! That’s what they were called! They where overpowered and broke the game, but by that time I had stopped playing…
I will note, however that Mage Knight: Dungeons was a fantastic idea for a game and if I remember correctly is still fun! I know I still have two sets of the dungeon walls/tiles around here somewhere!
Moving down the line I remember it was this time when I looked back into Warhammer. I had just received a good bit of money from my grandparents for my birthday ($100! I could buy TWO armies!) and decided to give Warhammer 40K another try. It was here where I first saw the 3rd Edition Tyranid codex and instantly fell in love! I quickly spent my $100 on two boxes of Hormagaunts/Termagants, an Old One Eye, and a Hive Tyrant… It was here where I was instilled with my first burning hatred of metal models… Still being young at the time I had no patience, and I remember the first night I had the Hive Tyrant yelling and hitting my pillow because the damn thing kept falling a part!!!! Forget that I was using a regular bottle of superglue to try and keep a top-heavy metal model standing on it’s legs, and ignore the two or three times my hand would slip, knocking said legs off and causing me to start over…. Mmm, good times.
Was here I got in my first couple games, which to be honest was more me watching as the older guys told me where to move my bugs and then how many dice to roll. Still, it was neat, I got to play a lot against my friend’s Dark Angels… And how I hated him for having those big nasty tanks while all I had was my Old One Eye and Red Terror!
But at least I owned the Red Terror card from the Warhammr 40K CCG!!
I would continue to haphazardly have people teach me Warhammer that year until…
2004: This New Thing Called Warmachine
This is the point I’d consider the transition between my “younger gamer” years and how I am now. I was in the time where I had a car and could easily make it up to the shop without need for a ride, I had a part time job and the full nine yards, so this is the last bit I will mention, as really it’s the last bit of my past before we enter the current days (and that is an article onto itself).
So, Warmachine, what can I say? Well I remember laughing at the silly looking warjacks, marking the system off as a Warhammer clone that would die like so many other games I had seen over the years… Yet it stuck around. I remember the Cryx box sat by the front register in the store, a thick layer of dust caked on top. I had read in a magazine that Warmachine had won Best New Game of 2003… Huh, maybe there was something to it all? I picked up the rulebook and gave it a read, being sucked in by the fact there seemed so much you could do with the models! Headbutts? Throws? Armlocks? This was more the kind of stuff I watched on WWF than on the tabletop! It was then I really understood that the game wasn’t just a Warhammer clone, I mean, it offered so much more than Warhammer did (in my younger eyes).
Could I get a Dreadnought to bodyslam that Carnifex? No. Could my Hive Tyrant pick up and toss his Rhino across the board? No again! I also found I was not alone in that regard: I showed my group of friends this cool rule-set and before long a few others had picked up starters of their own!
Now, of course that isn’t the end of the story, and plenty of games have come and gone in the short few years bridging 2003 to 2011, but as I said the release of Warmachine is the time I consider the ending of my younger gaming years and the budding of my current. Been a long trip now that I think about it… And I’m sure some of the older readers, the ones who remember 1986 and the release of Rogue Trader have even better stories to tell!
P.S.- For more looks into game systems, both new and old, take a gander at my blog, which has recently been revamped from it’s humble “just painting and conversion” theme to general gaming!
~So that wraps things up this time, dear readers, but tell me- Where are your gaming roots? What little adventures have you had in the world of gaming? Tell us of your Grand Adventures in the days of gaming yore…