vrijdag 28 januari 2011

Comming of Age...

It has happened. The circle is complete. I`m getting old and grumpy...

Many more of those statements can be used if one looks at the current (and, from my younger point of view) and past `life as a wargamer`.

I bought my first Osprey books on Napoleonics yesterday.

Now this might sound strange to people, and it is not intended to be any kind of insult at all, but the tale of how a young gamer slowly turned from a kid with a Warhammer army to an old grognard googling facings on British regiments...

More then 15 years ago, I rather accidentally rolled into the whole wargamer hobby. Mind you, that was an era where the internet was a stuff of legends, so together with 4 friends we played MB`s Heroquest on one of those guys attic. Of course, after blasting through the adventures time and again as you started to know the maps by heart, and the totally inbalanced homemade scenarios, dabbling in a hack and slash versions of AD&D (hey, we where like 14 - 15 years old back then) where we for some reason (well, the DM just liked the place) always ended up after session 1 in Ravenloft, we visited the local game store, The Lonely Mountain, for more material.
There we found a box with models that looked like the Heroquest ones... little did we know we bought a box of Warhammer and the path to a hobby was opened.
Al sorts of awfully inbalanced armylists where thrown against each other, models barely worth the name painting (undercoat? varnish? what are those terms?) and we struggled in the Old World for a couple of years.

Then the life of partying started, and in the end I was about the only one still really into the hobby... and found myself into the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp, a club I`m now a member from for over a decennia. I blame them! I have whole numbers of painted armies, the others have wife and kids... Hmmm, on second thought, seems I came of easy and cheap then. Okay, I don`t blame them to hard then.

Of course, the warhammer tradition was carried on, but now into a club environment. More opponents, the occasional tournament, the whole heap a cheap. But ever so slowly the transference had been started. Soon, the first Irish models for the Dark Ages where amongst my models. They where by Amazon Miniatures, a dozen kerns, and I still have them, actually, they are on the `to repaint` list very soonish.

Some more years went by, and I started to break off more and more from the whole GW scene, but didn`t take the path to historicals just yet. No, I went for my great love, spaceship gaming. A niche rarely seen on a club, it runned for years week in week out at TSA, even `scoring` us a place in some magazine around 2005 - 2006 when we where full time into A Call to Arms by Mongoose Publishing.

And so it kept on evolving slowly and steadily. Even though adventures in time and space continued, I did start to participate in the yearly TSA weekend dedicated to a large battle of the American Civil War... and darn, I loved that. I always have had a fondness for the period, due to the `De Blauwbloezen` (rougly translated as `The Blueshirts`) stripbooks when I was a little padawan for the most part.

And then it took a rollercoaster ride... plastic historical boxes for no money at all. Victrix, Perry Miniatures, Warlord Games... you know the drill. We had dabbled a bit in historics by then with a year long Flames of War campaign, as that was now readily available, but it died down after the campaign and armies where sold. We returned to the spaceship games, mainstay of the little clique we formed at TSA infamously known as `The Far Side of the Galaxy` (due to our regular table being placed on the far side of the compound and having galaxy mats on them... nothing fancy actually behind the fancy name).
I also learned some valuable insights in the whole plastic scene compared to some of my prejudices, but that`s for another rambling.

I bought a box of Perry ACW infantry cheaply of ebay about two years ago, and they just, well, lingered around. They first reappeared last year with the Lead painter`s league round 5 where the theme was `zombies and opponents`. Don`t ask, though it did for some obscure reason win me the round, as can be seen here, against another clubmate of mine, Creepy Corridor Andy.
And the rest went back on the leadpile.

Until... something started to change this past Crisis show. We decided on going to play a campaign for 6mm science fiction with the Future War Commander rules, but in the back of my mind was this nagging little voice, repeating `your grown up, buy historics ya fool`. I ignored it. For like a month, then placed an order for the massive ECW army deal of Warlord Games, due to some end of year promotion and all, and the Parliament army was planned out.
I found the Perry plastics again during a clean up... the long planned Irish Brigade sprang back to life.
I bought 6mm ACW forces for both sides from Baccus about a year ago to try and lear my gaming mates Johnny Reb 3 to get more players for the ACW weekend. They are being dug up as we speak in order to get a coat of paint.
My Dark Age Irish, though completed for Warmaster Historical, are being assembled and inventarised even as you read this. An army for both the Age of Arthur AND the about 100 year later Shieldwall. My surname is Murrath, which apparently is derived from Murchad, which comes from Mael el Muchada... yeah, that guy that got his ass handed over in the Battle of Clontarf by Brian Boru. Still, maybe I should check if I ain`t a inheritor of the back then Kingdom of Leinster...

And now I bought those Osprey`s. I always had a personal admiration for 3 commanders over all of history, namely the Duke of Wellington, though Napoleonics didn`t intrest me as I looked up to painting all those correct facings and all, Bernard Law Montgomery (I personally really loved his Ardennes tactic, but I`m rather defensive in my playstyle so I`m prolly leaning more towards him then to say, Rommel or Patton in `moving my toys`) and Ulysses S. Grant.

It has happened... I`ve evolved from a young guy with a fancyful fantasy army towards an old geezer researching his forces general uniform colours before painting them...

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Getting old is only in our mind.
    Age never prevented people from doing things:

  2. I totally recognize myself in your description of the evolution of a gamer - same path, but different town and buddies to hang out with. I also started out with GW, about 25 years ago (actually I did some AH warrgames before that). Slowly shifted out of it, through various roleplaying systems, published some roleplaying stuff with a couple of friends, then a brief but short stay with MtG in the early nineties, then various alternative fantasy and scifi miniature games, then slowly drifting into historicals. By now, most of my collection are historicals, but I never sold any of my fantasy figures, so I still have various armies sitting around. I'm still hoping to return to some fantasy lands using the ultimate fantasy system I'll write myself someday.