In this environment (that I have only briefly touched on!) we discovered our love for games and gaming. Tucked into our own corner of the classroom we'd discuss the Lord of the Rings, HeroQuest, adventuring, bow and arrow making and the finer art of joey-guns (my specialty). I think the first (or perhaps second) ice-breaker moment we had in our friendship was playing HeroQuest (which I had received Christmas '91), that was soon to be followed by a Gamesworkshop catalogue (an actual catalogue - not the White Dwarf!) that we pawed through mercilessly for a week before Graeme's dad took us to the old Pendragon Games on Queen Street. The one that had stairs down into the shop, giving it a dungeon-esque feel, unlike its last location in the mall/arcade that was eventually sunk by a GW shop that opened downstairs.
As our friendship grew so did our love for gaming and our imaginations expanded exponentially. We were constantly writing stories, characters, building terrain (Gray) and drawing maps (myself). A "landship" was built, a castle constructed and epic battles were fought.
We both lived in Torbay and the part we lived in was a valley that wound its way down to Long Bay beach. Gray lived on one lip of the valley and I the other. Depending on on whose house we were to game at, our mornings started by meeting half way in the valley and walking to either of our respective homes. The walk we took used to be semi rural, in the summer time it was sweet and hot bursting into life with bird song, and in the winter brooding and mysterious, the rolling green hills always reminding me of the journey the hobbits took just before Bree in the Fellowship. I loved those walks, the excitement of the game that was going to be played and hanging out with my best mate.
Gaming commenced in the garage or, if it was at my mine, under my house in a storage room. Both the environments were filled with old tools, Gray's dad an engineer and my grandad a builder - finding tools for a project was no problem at all! Amongst the clutter we'd battle it out. I always had one hero whom I really loved, and God strike me down he was going to slay the enemy single-handed! The rest of my forces used to charge headlong into battle, because that's how warriors were meant to behave, not skulking at the back waiting to lull the enemy into some tricksy trick! As a result my forces pretty much always succumbed to Gray's because he played elves... and they were meant to be tricksy! On the odd occasion where dumb gallant valour won the day it was glorious! Kurtold reigned supreme and his deeds forever remembered by the bards, aristocratic ladies and tavern wenches - "by Sigmar"!
Eventually we discovered other mates who shared the love of Warhammer and other fantasy gaming. We would hold huge battles with every single miniature we could muster, 10, 15 and 20,000 point battles with heroic moments happening at every turn. These games would usually finish at three or four in the morning, usually ending with a nerdy cry of "I hate you"or "jerk" only to commence again the following morning with all the gusto of the day before. As we grew into our teens, girls and booze took priority but the love never died for our miniatures, our imaginations or our friends.
Lastly I'd just like to say - I love you mate, and secondly...
...Warhammer: It's more than just a game.
*Richard Barby to win the New Zealand Masters.
|Graeme's a big boy now - at the field of our old primary school shooting his bow of course! Watch out kiddies!|
|In Gray's garage - circa mid 90's|