Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Boarding the Hulk. How it all began.

I got to thinking about the routes of my wargaming hobby yesterday after reading FLG's Sunday Serman and so I thought I would share this epic account of the adventure that started an era of gaming with you.

Warning this post may not be epic and may not contain adventure.

So lets think, I can remember having toy figures when I was a wee nipper way back in the 80s Transformers were rife and dominating the boys side of the toys market. Timmy Mallet was on TV every Saturday. And some woman was running the country. Anyhow. My Dad was into his aeroplanes and together we made Kits and painted them up all pretty (or in my case really badly) unknown to me then this love of building and painting was the first step into the world of wargaming.

A few years later...

The second step was a TV series called Robotech, yup a cartoon, Robotech was awesome, it was like Transformers but more in depth, people died, it was.... A re-dub and distribution of three Anime series from Japan, the first arc being Macross. Awesome Sauce, it truly was. I still thank Harmony Gold to this day for bringing this series to our side of the planet, it also lead my into the endless wonder of Anime.

So much Awesome cannot be contained in mear
22 minute episodes.

Now these two things, or the love of them, indirectly lead to my first purchase of a Miniature based Wargame.
A small store in Rugby called Jotto's was the place to get all your model kit wants and needs, its still there today doing its thing. Anyhow, while on a standard recon mission for more Revell goodness I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A Veritech Fighter, the key Mech from the Robotech / Macross series was on the side of a box... An Aerotech box. Upon further investigation I found out that Aerotech was an expansion for Battletech a cool Mech based Tabletop battle game. It looked awesome, I recognised so many of the Mechs from Robotech I was drooling.

Hey look its Jetfire... Wait... What!

Now your probably thinking that I'm going to say that I started out with Battletech, well, the truth is I have never owned a copy. Sure its what got my attention and drew me away from those Revell kits and into the dark corner of the shop, and I guess you could say it set me sailing across the vast ocean that is our hobby but alas, it was never to be mine.

No, what got me really excited was in a box next to all the Battletech goodies, it was game by a company called Games Workshop. The box was huge, it had 30 mini's, a ton of card pieces and it looked like an armoured version of a very popular James Camaron film.

It was Space Hulk.

Giger would be proud.

Fighting Aliens in space on a deserted and derelict Spaceship wearing cool Armour. AWESOME. So I bought it for a meagre £19.99 and rushed home to open it up and take a peak inside. Granted the Terminators were poor models, they really were / are (we still have them) but the Genestealers were really nice I prefer them over the current versions. Anyhow I was young and that didn't matter to me, we made up rules, rolled dice, had arguments, it was great fun. As time progressed we learnt how to play it properly and damn did we play a lot.
Every time I was in Rugby I would go to Jotto's and buy a couple of extra Mini's I didn't know how to use them at the time but Meh, we made rules up for that odd looking marine with a missile launcher and we enjoyed ourselves. That's what counted.
Later I would start buying White Dwarf and started reading up on the other games. It was from reading WD that I found out about and subsequently bought a copy of both Deathwing and Genestealer. Then Space Marine (the first Epic game) joined the ranks and so a hobby was well and truly born.
I was hooked. Models of little men littered my shelves, some painted, some unpainted, conversions you name it. I loved the hobby, I loved the painting and I loved the building and customising involved.

The Dark Angels join the Fray.

Ever Since that day I have been consistently playing at least one game from Games Workshop, and that still stands true today. We still play Space Hulk, and we own all three editions between us. Even though we only use the tiles out of the 2nd ed just because it was so... urm... bad. That first Space Hulk that was bought way back, still resides in our collection, its old battered and all the mini's have probably been lost and replaced at one point or another but its still there.
Even after about twenty years I still think that Space Hulk is one of the best games there is, not just because its where I started but its just such a great game. It's simple, fast and fun the way a game should be. You don't have to measure distances or moan about cover, if you can see it, count the squares and shoot it before it rips you apart. Simple.

Enter the Hybrids.

So there you have it. I know its not the greatest adventure story in the world and I probably shouldn't sit here hoping for some big film company to ask me if I'm willing to the sell them the rights for a film, but it's how I got started. There have been ups and downs in my hobby life and on one occasion I have stopped and sold up, but I've always come back.


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