Author: Mike Marshall

Lets face it, I'm a complete geek, wargaming, xbox games and playing with lasers. I tried 3D printing but it made my head hurt. Flighty in the extreme, hobby projects last a couple of days before moving onto the next one

Its My Life

A question came across my twitter feed today posted by the most excellent Katie to which I was able to give a simple reply

Now this may seem a flippant off the cuff response but it really is true and I guess to most people a little bit sad.

If I was to say that I had followed a particular football team for over 30 years, spent thousands on being involved and had a room in my house dedicated to it then I guess most people would think, yep perfectly normal, but gaming, thats for neckbeards who need to get out of their parents basement.

Bollocks of course but that is still the perception of the hobby in the mainstream.

Tell someone you are a gamer and the next question will probably be about Mario or Pokemon 🙂  Try and explain its tabletop gaming and it becomes ‘oh yeah I used to play with toy soldiers when I was a kid.  Do you make bang bang noises?’   Think I am exaggerating?  Well at Bonescon this year this very scenario played out between myself and a sales rep who happened to be at a conference at the same hotel.  Even down to shouting across to his mates and saying ‘they’re GAYmers’   Very sad but unfortunately very very true*

Now thats not to say there isn’t some mainstream acceptance of the hobby – this article on the BBC shows that – but overwhelmingly the impression is something that is for kids, not a suitable hobby for grownups.  It would seem we should all be playing golf or become MAMILs on a Sunday.

However for me thats all just noise.  Gaming and the people around it have completely and utterly defined my life since I first played Car Wars on my next door neighbours dining table in 1981.

  • I met my wife of 22 years on a night out with Games Workshop staff (no hiding the gaming from her!!!!)
  • The people that I have known the longest I met though gaming.  I’ve known both Dave and Conrad for nearly 25 years and still count them amongst my best friends.  I’m not in touch with anyone from University but gaming buddies are always there for you.
  • The thing that has made moving to where I live now survivable is the friends that I have made, people that you would be there for if they called you at 3am
  • The hundreds of folks who I have met over the years that when you see them at a convention stop for a chat and a catch up, walking around an event like Salute is like a school reunion, so many people to say hi to.
  • We bought the house that we live in purely so I could have a dedicated gaming room – have I mentioned how much I love my wife?
  • I don’t go to a store without thinking, oh I could use that for this project or that project

You get the picture.

The upshot of this, celebrate being a gamer, don’t hide it, if someone asks you what you did at the weekend, don’t say, went out with mates, tell them you were refighting epic battles across the tabletop.  Chances are one of the people you are talking to will be doing exactly the same thing.

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Not my table but how cool is this.  One day…

*I had the last laugh though when he asked what I did for a living and I told him I was retired 🙂

Lets face it, I’m a complete geek, wargaming, xbox games and playing with lasers. I tried 3D printing but it made my head hurt. Flighty in the extreme, hobby projects last a couple of days before moving onto the next one

Hobby Blues

Well it been a while since I last wrote anything as I’ve been having a major hobby downer recently. One of those periods when you spend far more time on the XBox (replaying Diablo III for the umpteenth time) than hobbying.  Fortunately I seem to be out the other side of it now and am actually being more productive than I have in years.

It all started going downhill in the run up to the Malifaux Welsh GT.  As it got closer and closer I got less and less enthused about playing but as I had forked out a load of money on tickets and travel I felt I had to go through with it.   In the end I walked into the venue on the day and just couldn’t bring myself to play – it would have been a miserable experience for both my opponent and myself – so I dropped out (thanks Martin and Luke for making that painless)   The most wonderful David Brown also agreed to take over the running of the Malifaux Team event (ITC) which meant for the first time in 5 years I didn’t have any Malifaux commitments – strange feeling.

Then it was Salute and Mrs Marshall came along with me for the day.  Wandered around, chatted with some people, bought some bits and bobs and came away with the Gangs of War starter box which Matt and I had been talking about playing.  We were both very enthused for this, so much so that I finally finished up my Roman / Greek temple that I had been working on for a few years and then built a whole board to go with it.  Great stuff.  However (and didn’t you know there was going to be a however) the sales model that GoR is awful – I’ll be ranting about it another day – and that basically killed the game for us stone dead.  Ah well, back to the drawing board – or the XBox in my case 🙂

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Then the funniest thing happened.  A friend of mine, Dan, has recently got into Moonstone and asked if I wanted to go over and play a game and have it videoed for his You Tube channel.  Why not I thought, hadn’t played it before but the models are very lovely and I hadn’t actually played anything for ages.

Well it was like a switch had been turned on.  The game is masses of fun, with some awesome mechanics – I especially like the sword fighting components – and I will definitely be playing it again but the simple act of playing a game was enough to lift me out of the hobby funk that I had been in and get me away from the console and back to the painting table.

With MAGE II coming up I had set myself the task of having fully painted crews for all the games.  This of course meant actually painting stuff but after playing with Dan that no longer seemed the chore that it was previously.  So in the last couple of weeks I have finally finished off my Dead Mans Hand posse of Father Wilson and the Educators and I am now cracking on with the OGAM project that has been knocking around since 2014.  Just got a few more vikings to finish.  The beauty of this one will be that it gets me half way to having a fully painted SAGA force as well which is again something I have wanted for years but have always managed to come up with creative ways to avoid getting.

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Then it will be on with Burrows and Badgers and finally a Guildball team (I will probably end up speed-painting these as I can’t see myself playing a game beyond the one at MAGE)

Will keep you updated as I crack on, and who knows, we might even record something

Lets face it, I’m a complete geek, wargaming, xbox games and playing with lasers. I tried 3D printing but it made my head hurt. Flighty in the extreme, hobby projects last a couple of days before moving onto the next one

Hobby Heroes

Over the weekend Games Workshop announced the winners of the their Warhammer Heroes initiative – congrats to all of them – but I must admit this was the first time I had heard of the program, which is a shame as its a very interesting concept.  Who are the people that have given the most back to the hobby and deserve at least some small recognition for their efforts – though I’m pretty sure, knowing some of the winners that recognition is the last thing on their minds.

Well it got me to thinking, who would I have nominated and I kept coming back to the same person.  The person who I believe has done more for wargaming and community than anyone else in the UK.  The person who will slip into an event and be greeted by everyone as a long lost friend.  The person who takes for ever to get around an event like Salute as everyone stops him to say hello, how you doing, what you up to.  He is, simply put, a legend and a man who I am very very proud indeed to call a friend.

He is Conrad E J Gonsalves

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Lets look at a few of the things he has achieved:

  • One of the first people to build an internet gaming community when the internet was still in its infancy.  You can directly trace a line back from the work that the Warhammer Community team do now to the work he did back in 1995 (which is a scary amount of years ago)
  • Long time podcaster across many different shows and for many different games (Boosted Damage, Malifools, Fools Daily as just a few)
  • Was fed up having no-one local to play so created a wargames club off his own back which is still up and running today (and that he is still heavily involved in)
  • Playtester for more games than you can shake a stick it and fundamental in helping shape many rules sets over the years.  Look though the GW output of the early 2000s and his name will be there.  Old Warhammer Ancients players may well remember that his name in the credits had to be put in the errata as Jervis couldn’t spell it 🙂