Wow 25 Years, Where Did That Go!

As I start writing this it is coming towards the end of May 2015, and I thought I better start early on this post as their is a lot to cover.

It all began way back in early 1990 when I witnessed one of my friends play a game of WHFB 3rd edition after school. Now it is worth noting that I never had any interest in “fantasy” settings be it in books or films. I had always been a fan of “sci-fi” settings, which properly had something to do with my huge collections of Transformers and Star Wars figures as a kid (now all sadly gone). It would be some months before I would be drawn on to the grim darkness of the far future, and that would be with Adaptus Titanicus. At the time Adeptus Titanicus was a “dead” game, and GW were pushing Space Marine 1st edition and would soon start work on a 2nd edition. For me I enjoyed “AT” more than “SM” and after being given some titans by my brother (he was into painting models) I began painting with Humbrol enamel paints (6 hour drying times!). I played “AT” for nearly a year before I was introduced to Space Hulk In April (the 10th)1991 in the GW store in The Plaza at Oxford street. And with my birthday money I walked out of the The Plaza with a copy of Space Hulk. It was around this time that I met my friend James who would become my gaming nemesis for the next few years! We played Space Hulk near enough every weekend for 6-7 months. Towards the end of 1991 Space marine 2nd edition was released and for Christmas that year some one brought me a copy, it was all down to the battle report  that was in WD143 Blood Angels Vs Orks.

Now White Dwarf 143 is my gaming milestone and so November 2016 marks 25 years, I did not count Space Hulk as the Milestone as it was a “one off” purchase where as WD would continue up until a few years ago.

As we enter 1992 me and James start playing Space Hulk, Space Marine and Space Crusade near enough every other day. Space crusade ends up getting played more due to the supplements Mission Dreadnought and Eldar Attack as well as the WD articles for terminators, SM scouts, tyranids and genestealer hybrids. We become aware of  40k 1st edition through the release of the 40k battle manual and the vehicle manual in WD (I never picked these two books up) the battle manual would latter be used as the basis of 2nd edition combat rules, where as parts of the vehicle manual would be used  for 2nd edition and other parts (targeting template ) would be scraped.  1992 also marked the first 40k Special Characters (in WD152) In the form of Commissar Yarrick and Ghazghkull Thraka (Ghazghkull had been around for a few years in Andy Chambers ork army in one of the the 3 ork books) the hero and villain of the 2nd Battle For Armageddon. I did at one stage own both models, but now I only have Yarrick which makes him the oldest model I own!

the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993 would see the Space wolves get their own “pre” codex army list. I never picked up the “wolves” when they were released, it would be some years before I did pick them up.

Through out 1993 me and James continued to play Space Hulk, Space Marine and Space Crusade. This year however saw Space Marine move into the most played game. Both me and James picked up models to expand our “epic” forces I went with the Orks and James went with the Space Marines. As 1993 rolled on the 2nd edition of Warhammer 40000 was released in October, But it would be nearly 2 months before me or James would get our copies as Christmas presents form our parents.

1994 saw me an James hit 40K big time. Every weekend we would play at each others houses and on Sundays we would hit car boot sales on the look out for models. And with the release of the Dark Millennium supplement our games got bigger and bigger. I had started off with the Orks and James had gone with the Marines, but as we added to our forces from car boot sales I had added Imperial Guard and James added Eldar. WD175 saw the release of Codex Orks (and my first codex). WD179 saw the release of Titan Legions for the epic system I never picked it up  until a few years later, but James did but It would not be until 1995 that we played it. WD180 saw the release of the first (of 6) Imperial Guard regiments, the Catachan Jungle Fighters and for that Christmas I received two boxes. Another release in 1994 was the Leman Russ battle tank, this was the first time a plastic vehicle had been released since the rhino,predator and land raider back in the late 80`s.

1995 saw the other 5 imperial guard regiments released Cadian Shock troops, Tallarn  desert raiders, Mordian iron guard, Valhallan Ice guard, and attlia rough riders. Both me and James continued gaming up untill August, playing both 40k and epic, however with our final exams at school fast approaching we began to drift apart. September saw us “part ways” I ended up going to one college and James went to another. WD190 saw the release of Necromunda and over the coming months saw the release of six differant gangs. My 40K gaming had dropped down to zero, but I still wanted to carry on. After being a college for some months I managed to get involved with a few others who were into WHFB but were interested to try other games. For nearly 12 months we battled through the Necromunda Underhive, we had great fun and it is still one of my favourite gaming memory’s.

1996 saw me get into Warhammer quest and start up a Chaos Space Marine Iron Warriors army. And then towards the end of the year a Wood Elves army (I still have the wood elves to this day). I also started play Full Thrust by Ground Zero Games using the TV program Babylon 5 as the setting. Full Thrust was (and still is) a great game, it was designed to be a “fast play” space ship game. I still have the two fleets that I collected, but they have seen better days! I used the Iron warriors to get a part time job in my then local GW (which had only been open for a few months). And during 1996 I ran many games of WHQ and Necromunda in-store. For me it was a dream job and few times I was tempted to give up college and go full time but I never did. 1996 also saw the construction of what would become know as Grail’s Lair mk 1, and over the next few years many late Friday and Saturday nights will be spent in the lair

1997 saw a new edition of Space Marine and Titan Legions, in the form of the super stream lined Epic 40000. Gone were the days of piles of cards to pick your army with, or looking through charts to find out what you needed to roll to hit with a heavy bolter in the hands of a space marine. Each model was given a simple stat line which could be added to with special rules which would improve certain stats. so you basic Space Marine could be given Jump packs and assault and would become an Assault marine, Give it Heavy weapons and it becomes a Devastator. I unlike many enjoyed the game, and new comers really enjoyed it. Instead of taking hours like its predecessors a decent game could be played in an hour and a half. But in under a year Epic 40000 was deemed to be “dead” much like Adeptus Titanicus was years before! Also released in 1997 was Gorkamorka which was the second of the 40k skirmish line which focused on Orks vs Orks, this in turn lead to me starting a new 40k Ork army as well as play “GM” however as with Epic 40000 it soon became a dead game. which meant the third game in the skirmish line (featuring the eldar) never saw the light of day. Also in released were a “new” 40k army the Sisters Of Battle, with most of the armies having books something new was needed. Enter the sisters, mine were destined to start a new army but in a moment of madness I decided to add them to my Iron warriors as sisters gone rogue. However some agent of Chaos stole them from the store display case and they were never seen again

1998 marked a change in my life, first I finished college in June and second I was Involved in a bad car crash which saw me out of action for most of September through till February the following year.1998 also saw the demise of Epic and Gorkamorka and the introduction of the Necrons to 40k as well as the Legion Of The Damned as a full army. Whilst being laid up in a hospital bed my then manger Dazza came to visit me in hospital and brought with him a copy of 40k 3rd edition, It was not due to be released for another month. and asked if I wanted to make it up for the shop. Now I did not fancy gassing out the ward with polystyrene cement so Dazza agreed to make them and I would paint them up for the store. I shot through the the 20 Dark eldar, 10 Space marines and the Land speeder, unfortunately they ended up being the last models that I painted for the store. I handed my notice in at the beginning of December, and Dazza organised a good bye event for me. In my time their I met some really nice people and even though I was only a part time staff member I enjoyed my time their. The store is now long gone as I found out some years ago. But me and Dazza would meet again in the far future!

1999 was a change of pace for me I went clubbing and on holidays with my friends, and my hobby was pushed to the back for a while. I had spent the best part of three years going to college only to decide I did not want to do what I had learnt, I would then spend the next 3 years jumping from job to job doing different things. It would be late into 1999 that codex Orks is released for the third edition and that would snap me back into gaming. Both the Black Library and Forge World start churning out stuff which grabs my eye. I also start picking up the Monthly releases from a small company called Harlequin Miniatures for Doctor Who. Another game that I get into is Warzone 2nd edition by target games, alas it is short lived and by the April 2000 the company has gone bust. The UK side of the company would resurface a year or so later under a different name (which I cannot remmeber)

The tail end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000 sees the internet take shape into what it is today In the years to come the likes of Privateer Press, Mongoose Publishing, Battlefront Miniatures, etc will come into the gaming world some will rise and some will fall.

2000 sees codex Armageddon released marking the 3rd war for the planet and both Commissar Yarrick and Ghazghkull Thraka get new models. My Ork army grows In size and I start three new marine chapters the Black Templars, Salamanders and Space Wolves I start to play the game less and less but end up spending more time painting. The Imperial Guard get a new plastic Sentinel, while the Space Marines get a new version of the Land Raider!

2001 sees me start a Tyranid Force unfortunately it never sees the tabletop. Hot on the heels of the tyranids are a new race the Tau, they are set apart from the rest of the 40k races due to the fact that they are very weak in close combat. Also released is Battle zones: Cityfight, this supplement will fire up ideas in my mind for years to come but it will be another 5 years before most of it gets started. I also start playing a modified version of 40k 3rd edition called Warhammer: WW2, thanks to the power of the internet groups of people can exchange ideas and create new settings and supplements. It is also around this time that I start to play Mordheim and Battle Fleet Gothic, I am also very active on the various internet forums/groups and do a lot of work on a supplement for Mordheim set in the sewers. Unfortunately over the years the files have been lost. GW also manage to get the rights to make a game for the Lord Of The Rings films and over the next few years I collect and paint up the models.

2002 Marks the arrival of the Necrons but it will be a few years before I decide to collect them, Instead I start collecting Dark Elves for fantasy (all because of the Chris Fitzpatrick sculpts) and Chaos Space Marines. 2002 marks a big change in my life, firstly I leave home and move in with my girlfriend (later ex-wife), and secondly I change jobs again! Gaming takes a back burner for awhile I still paint but gaming ends up at next to nothing

2003 starts of very slow but does see the start of construction that will become Grail’s Lair mk2. it also sees me start a new Imperial Guard army in the form of the Cadian Shock Troops most of the year is taken up with the Imperial Guard who will become my main army for the next few years, I go with a codex gray and chaos black for the camouflage. I also add a small detachment of Daemonhunters to my Imperial Guard force. Also rereleased for a new 4th edition is Epic, now named Epic: Armaggedon. It sees the game updated and made more detailed, unfortunately it is not my “cup of tea” being too detailed for my liking. So I end up sticking to Epic 40000 (the 3rd edition) and building a 8ft x 6ft ruined city to battle over.  2003 also sees me “branch” out to other company’s mainly down to the internet, I start out with a cygnar army for Warmachine and soon add Khador force as well allowing me to demo at my local independent games store.

2004 sees the advent of the 4th edition rules (some of which were previewed in White Dwarf). Also released was the Battle For Macragge boxed set Space Marines vs Tyranids, I use the starter set to start a new Tyranid army. I also start a Necron army up, I find one on eBay and place a bid. In the end I pay about £80 and end up with nearly 5000 points worth of Necrons. I come home to find the biggest box I have ever seen posted sitting in my living room, I the spend 3 hours un-wrapping everything

2005 marks the arrival of Starship Troopers from Mongoose Publishing and written by Andy Chambers (who had left GW the year before) now starship troopers was a good game and many saw as it as Andy vision for 40k. However it was very short lived, down to some bad decisions (the switch to pre-painted models and change of rules) by mongoose. And the final nail was driven into the coffin 3 years later in 2008 when Sony entertainment pulled the plug, which was also the same time Warner Brothers entertainment pulled the plug on the Babylon 5 call to arms line. My black Templars get a stand alone codex and so I add some reinforcements to them

2006 Sees me get back to gaming with Doctor Who via a set of free rules from the internet, they are a vast improvement from the old Invasion earth rules that were put out by Harlequin Miniatures back in the late 90’s. I also get into Hordes by privateer press, it also see’s my Cygnar and Khador forces being sold to fund my new Circle of Orboros force. Most of the later part of 06 sees me knee deep in plastic ruins from Games Workshop with the release of the Cites Of Death supplement for warhammer 40000. I fight many many urban battles with my Imperial Guard (and a few with the tyranids)

2007 sees the coming of the Apocalypse to warhammer 40000 in the form of a new supplement called Apocalypse. I quickly pick up a Leman Russ tank company (10 tanks) and a Basilisk artillery detachment (3 Basilisks) as well as a plastic Baneblade (my ex wife goes mad) and my imperial Guard get some reinforcements. I nearly pick up a space marine company boxed set but think it may push my (ex) wife over the edge (that happens in a few years, but has nothing to do with miniatures) I also start playing Flames of war from Battlefront Miniatures and am surprised to find out the the guys behind it are none other than the same ones that did the WW2 supplement for 40k 3rd edition back in 2001.Also released is the much hated codex for chaos space marines most of the good stuff from the last edition has gone. Towards the end of 2007 I pick up Legends Of The Old West from Warhammer Historicals, I have always liked the “old west” setting which had something to do with watching Rawhide on TV when I was a kid. To go along with LOTOW I pick up some packs from Black Scorpion Miniatures and knock up some desert terrain (and a few buildings). LOTOW neatly fills the void left by Necromunda and as it is based on the Lord Of The Rings game system it is a nice skirmish set of rules!

2008 sees the Orks get a new codex, it also spurs me on to pick up the plastic stompa that was released the year before. Of my old ork army most of it ends up on eBay. I start to play Flames of War more and more building my Late war US force up. I also get into Secrets Of The Third Reich from West Wind Productions and again I take the US forces.

2009 sees me pick up Incursion from Grind House Games, it is set in the same setting as Secrets Of The Third Reich and is a board game a lot like Space hulk. Which neatly follows on to a re-release of space hulk in the form of a 3rd edition, its a limited “splash” release that sells out in under a day. The other release of the year is a new codex for the Space wolves, I pick the codex and a set of models up and think about starting a space wolves army up! And a new supplement called Planets trike which sees the first of GW plastic fortifications (the bastion and aegis defence line).It is also June/July time that I am working in Helsinki,Finland. And on my day off I come across the GW store under a road! as I chat to the staff it comes up that I used to work for GW and they tell me their manger was from England. It turns out that Dazza (my old boss) had been working in Finland for about 3 years and had decided to go back home a few months before. In the end It turned out we had missed each other by a few weeks. It had been nearly 10 years but it would be a few more before we would catch up!

2010 sees a supplement called SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up) and new models for Incursion. And Codex’s for the Tyranids, Blood Angles, and Dark Eldar. It also marks the end of my first marriage, and if it had not been for the Blood Angels I really don’t know what I would have done (some how I managed to keep a “level” head through all the shit my ex-wife put me through). Towards the end of the year I got back into Doctor Who miniature gaming again and with 90% of my stuff in storage I had to make some decisions. In the end I made the right decision and ended up moving to where I am now. Away from my old life and start off with a fresh start.

2011 would see me begin to thin out my collection, my Flames of War, Hordes, and a few others would find themselves on Ebay. I also begin to move away from GW with their move over to Finecast (or Failcast) as it is known. And end up playing Force On Force (and Tomorrows War) from Ambush Alley Games and Osprey Publishing It Is a whole new learning curve for me as I have to learn about modern day camouflage and tanks, In the end I go with the 2nd Gulf War and collect the US and Iraqi forces. I also Pick up 7TV from Crooked Dice, 7TV started out as the Doctor Who miniatures game but the CD guys decided to make it in to their own product which allows you to play out cult TV programs from the 60’s and 70’s. And again I have enjoyed many games of 7TV as I do of Doctor Who. The later part of 2011 sees me have serious problems with my White Dwarf Subscription, since I moved some months I received my copy some months I don`t receive my copy. After many phone calls and emails to GW mail order I give up nothing seems to get sorted out. And In the end I decided to try my (now) local GW store. As I stroll in I am greeted by a rather over enthusiastic member of staff, and after stumping him with my question he gets the manger from out back. Who turns out to be none other than Dazza!, after all the years we finally meet  up (we still keep in-contact).

2012 Would mark the start of this blog and also 25 years of warhammer 40000. And so I decided to re-fight the battles from the second edition boxed set Battle for Armageddon. I set about re-creating the card ruins with the plastic cities of death tiles and the mammoth task of painting 40 grotz. I join up with the local Gaming club and meet up with loads of new people. I also dust off the classic game Tyranid Attack (with newer models rather than the old 90’s models) and start up a small Tyranid army. July sees the end of the 5th edition of 40k. The later part of the year is taken up with 20mm Iraqi models for Force on Force, and a restart of my LOTR models in preparation for the Hobbit film release. I also pick up the Forge World Weathertop model from eBay for a very good price!

2013 starts with me working on the LOTR/Hobbit ranges and backing my first Kick-starter project in the form of Mongoose Publishing’s Rouge Trooper game (which was a bad move) April 2013 sees me NOT renewing my subscription to White Dwarf (which has run for the past 10 years). The summer and tail end of the years sees me re-boot my Dr Who collection, painting up the various “not” Doctor models that are out their.  I also back a number of other KS projects,

Mantic Games – Deadzone and Mars Attacks,

Comfy Chairs – Spinespur,

Alien Dungeons – All Quite On The Martian Front

Secret Weapons – Tablescapes,

Grind House Games – Incursion,

Prodos Games – Alien Vs Predator,

Flying Frogs – Shadows Of Brimstone.

The first wave of Deadzone arrives in the middle of December in the most horrendous piece of packing I have ever seen, a number of pieces are missing and most of the polystrene packing chips end up blowing around my front garden!

As 2014 rolls in it marks the end of an era, as 9 issues after I stopped buying it White Dwarf comes to the end of its run! (But it returns as a weekly magazine). I start playing 40K again this time with a new Tyranid army, My Blood Angels also take to the field of battle for the first time in a few years. I also re-boot my Iron Warriors and Black Templers as well as starting up a Daemons of Chaos army for 40K. GW also release an Imperial Knight in 40k scale! With the games clubbing closing down and relocating further away I bring all my Cities Of Death terrain home, and begin the long process of updating and repairing it all. June sees that arrival of All Quite On The Martian Front. July and August mark a drastic problem with my health meaning every aspect of my life has to change, this does however leave me with more “free” time. I begin to “purge” my collection (something that will last for sometime) But also move over to playing “board” games rather than wargames. I do however start up a Warzone Resurrection: Dark Legion force, and pick up some of the Batman models from Knight Models (but end up not getting any more due to the price and quality of the metal). I also resume making and painting the AQOTMF forces. As well putting on a few demos at the clubs new venue. November sees Mars Attacks arrive and following hot on its heels are Shadows Of Brimstone Wave 1 and AQOTMF wave 2 in december.

2015 starts off fairly quite, not much happens in January.

February sees me back the Conan board game Kick-starter, as well as my secret Weapon tablescape tiles turning up! I also give Infinity by Corvus Belli a bash but decide its not for me.

March brings me the biggest Kick-starter package I have ever seen in the form Of Zombicide S3 (it also bring the most hits to the blog!) I also start working on an imperial Knight (or 3) as well as some Skitarii and Adeptus Mechanicus models for a new army. My Cadian Imperial Guard start to be stripped of paint thanks to a ultra sonic cleaner, in preperation for a fresh start with them.

June sees the arrival of my Incursion kickstarter, and I also pick up the Terminator: Genisys starter set.

July sees Aliens Vs Predator wave 1 arrive, I also picked up Dropzone Commander by Hawk wargames as I have an itch to do small scale battles again, but I don’t want to go down the Epic route again!

August/September sees Shadows of Brimstone being played by me, my wife and two good friends, it also sees me get back into the Judge Dredd  miniatures game.

October/November sees me playing Terminator: Genisys as well as picking up some reinforcements. And start painting up some of the 7TV models that I have.

Its Hard to believe that 25 years have past since that fateful day that I trod the path of darkness that is wargaming. Things have changed so much in that time. Plastic models have gone from single pose models to multi part models, techniques have changed allowing for bigger more detailed models to be made from plastic! Metal models have changed from lead to white metal (though some company’s still use lead) Resin has become more wide spread and gone are the days of “flat” detailed block models, now days fine details can be achieved with resin. Many magazines have come and gone as have many company’s. Some have stood the tests of time and survived, however the list of the fallen company’s grows longer and longer each year!

I have over the years met many many good people, some of which I still see and some that just dropped of the gaming radar

Will I last another 25 years ?

What will I be playing if I do last ?

Who knows let see what happens………………………………………………………..

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