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The Renaissance Gamer

14 July 2011 | David Stephenson

Now Iíve been lucky in some respects. Whilst neither blessed with exceptional physical abilities or spectacular good looks, I have been lucky enough to be of reasonable intellect with a passion for nerdy activities. So this is the aspect I shall focus on today.

Over the years I have been lucky to play a lot of games. Yep - a lot. From my days as a little tacker, playing Talisman with my brother and sister for a whole weekend; we had all the expansions, it took a while. But it was a whole lot of fun. It was also a gateway game Ė quite cunning, looking back at it. The old Talisman box was green and the expansions came out in various colours, and they had all these other games on the sides of the box. Some of them looked good, and when birthdays rolled around, my brother and I got to make the trip into the city to visit our grandparents. We also got to go on a bit of a shopping spree at some game shops. So from Talisman to Dungeons & Dragons to Blood Bowl, we had moved onto miniature games and using miniatures in our RPG and board gaming. I still love some of the Talisman figures we managed to get.

So moving into my teen years, when I had work experience in Year Ten. I made a call and got to work at Mind Games in the city of Melbourne. I was working there a month or so after my birthday and Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition had just been released. I had to buy the Eldar codex, only because I saw the artwork in the book for Maugan Ra. Still an awesome picture, and it was one of the first 40k models I painted. So I collected some Eldar, some friends got some Marines and Orks, and we had some games. I ran a little club back home on the weekend between soccer games, and then Necromunda came out. Now that was mind blowing - it had everything I ever wanted in a game. Some cool fluff and rules for campaigns, progression, rivalry and just good fun.

Flip ahead, and we were in the era of 3rd edition and the Rogue Trader tournaments. I was at university, met some new guys and taught them to play 40k rather than Fantasy. Haha! Yet the game that got all the guys together was Blood Bowl. We had guys playing that game who would never even look at a "nerd" game without scoffing and reaching to hand out wedgies. Nothing was funnier than ten guys crowded around a big table when we had the semi-final of the Blood Bowl being played. Beers and boards, side by side. Those games always ended up being completely one sided and someone steamrolled the other. The large group we had playing kept it interesting and we had some awesome times. We also got into the painting a bit at that stage. This was being introduced as a requirement for tournaments so it had to be done - which I think is a good thing. We also got to play some other games, such as BFG and Mordheim.

Jump up another couple of years and I was in the full swing of 40k tournaments. A few of my mates and I (some of them long time WAU "personalities") got along to almost every event we could get to. We even managed to win a few and get some of that ďphatĒ loot that tourneys sometimes hand out. It was an awesome time, and I was also playing a Collectible Card Game called Vampire. Based on the White Wolf RPG stuff, with rules written by the same guy that made Magic, it was an awesome multiplayer game. We travelled with that for a few qualifiers and a National as well. I met some awesome guys had some fun road trips and probably did some things that donít need to be mentioned. (How much is a lap dance?)

Time to side step the few years of World of Warcraft addiction...

And here we are, the present. I live happily with my partner and we have more hobbies and projects on the go than necessary, with many armies on the shelf (not all assembled) for Warhammer, 40k, Malifaux, Blood Bowl and Warmachine/Hordes. Not to mention the shelf overloaded with board games, like Last night on Earth, Runewars, Dungeonquest and new Talisman. Then thereís another shelf full of Xbox360, PS2 and Wii games and our PCs. I love all my games. Each and every one Iíve played and I can remember the good times, such as when Sandi started getting all grumpy when we were playing Runewars and I thought she wasnít enjoying the game. Turned out she was just one turn away from winning and I canít read women - score one for her. I love getting to 40k events and seeing people Iíve met over the years. Hell, I got to see some of my 40k heroes at the last Arc on stage - Mike B and Mark M shaking hands. And there are all the guys Iíve played over the years that still say hello at an event or if we run into each other at various LGS. I even managed to get a few games of Vampire in with some of the old crowd plus some new guys, and just missed out on qualifying for this year playing the Nationals.

Obviously there is only so much time in the day, days in a year. I wish I could be playing games most of them but I have a job and stuff, so I donít get to play as much as I would like.

This is where I starting getting to the heart of this article. For all the games in the world, there is one thing that I havenít been too happy with lately. To be honest I keep saying it, but Iím not sure if Iím in the minority, or others are just louder on the other side. I love my games, like theyíre my children. But like children, there can be no favourite. Some may get more attention than others. Some may go away for a while. Some may up and change, and do some really weird shit, and behave like they are on drugs. But thatís up to them, not me. I canít control what the games (and their companies) do. I can just choose which ones I want to play on any given weekend and which ones get left on the shelf.

So I, like many of you that will read this, have played more than one game. You may find yourself moving onto a new game from another. Will you be the guy that moves on and does the mature thing? When talking with others after the "break-up", will you say, "We just grew apart and I/we wanted something different." Or will you be the guy saying, "She was terrible, I donít know what I was doing for all those years.

And do you then crap on your mates for sticking with something they have loved for years that keeps giving back to them? Yes, relationships can be tricky, and sometimes they cost you more than you expected to pay. But if the love is still there, itís still just there.

Good gaming and love your games.

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