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Musings of the Welsh Wizzard

What happens when dilution of the hobby becomes homeopathic

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May 13, 2021

Genesis of a Wargamer – Part 2 aka Marillion of a Wargamer

Carrying on from my last post (it’s here if you want to read it) it was late 1982 and my mates and I were playing Runequest and looking for a way to extend the campaign.

I wanted to include big battles in the campaign and get away from the standard stuff that rpg games usually consist of, so I thought of trying to include some wargaming into our games, we chatted about it during one of regular games and decided it was a good idea. The only downside to this was we’d never actually played any wargames and didn’t know anyone who had but undaunted by this the 4 of us who played Runequest decided to do some research into the subject.

we found a club based in Cardiff and turned up to one of there club nights, which in hindsight was a mistake, a huge mistake. You see we were 16 year old kids and into bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees, we were dressed in black jeans, painted leather jackets and band t-shirts, the members of the club were all in there late 40’s and looked like our dad’s. they were all clustered around a large table arguing when we arrived and then it went very quiet when they saw us.

we explained we wanted to learn about wargaming for our Runequest games, we even showed them our rule book so they knew we were serious, but they just laughed at us and told us that wargames were not for kids fantasy games that it was a serious hobby played by serious people.

we left them to there arguing and never went back.

eventually I found a set of rules that might work and picked up these 2 books (yes I did colour in the front cover with a red pen, and on the back cover there are also some Joy Division lyrics, which probably says a lot about a 16 year old me)

I remember reading the rules (a lot) and planing some armies (my notes are still in the book)

I even remember buying some 15mm figures and painting them up in thick enamel paint, but oddly I never actually finished an army or played a game with these rules. looking back at these early doodles I am reminded that I do finally own an early Persian army and its painted and I’ve used it in games

See 16 year old me you can finish a project if you try hard enough

ok I still haven’t played 6th edition WRG Ancients, but lets not split hairs shall we.

anyway something much more important had happened, for the very first time I had got distracted with a new set of wargames rules and before I had finished a project I was off on another flight of fancy. The cause of my distraction was a little white box, this little white box to be specific

Warhammer had arrived………………………..

This was perfect it was produced by the same people who produced Runequest, it was a mass battle fantasy game and we could use the same figures we had for our Runequest game in this game. The only downside was between the 4 of us we owned a grand total of 12 figures and only 6 of them were painted and Warhammer needed a lot more figures than that, in fact the book says each unit should be made up of between 5 and 50 figures, we needed to buy a lot more figures to play this game.

we were now into 1983 and I was in 6th form failing badly at my A Levels, our gaming nights were becoming more and more spaced apart as the 4 of us started doing other things and gaming took a back seat to what was happening in real life. I had discovered that the only thing I was any good at in school was a new subject called Computer Studies, I was part of a small group who tried out the class and I finished top of the class (I passed my exam by writing a character generator for Traveller in Basic, funnily enough)

My teacher wanted me to stay on and do an A level and go to uni, but I decided there was no future in computers and I that was going to follow my latest dream and become a chef, so in September 1983 I went Catering College and left my fledgling wargaming hobby behind.

oh and just so you know I still hadn’t finished an army or actually played a wargame at that stage

To be continued……………..



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