A slightly different voice for this post, as I hand over to someone who has been missing for a while..
It’s been a while since I wrote anything for a website, and even longer since I contributed to a blog.
Since handing the reigns of The Game Cupboard to Dave Stone, owner of Wargames Terrain Workshop, I found myself heavily caught up in a lot of real life non hobby activity…pretty much since November 2017 up until, well…pretty much now.
Hils had a serious knee operation in January, which involved her having a whole new metal knee cap and socket replacement: combine this with her artificial metal and plastic hip, which she had replaced two years ago, and I will soon be able to do an American accent and start saying things like “We have the technology to rebuild her.” with Bionic Woman music playing in the background. But yeah she’s doing well: recovering nicely, but slowly.
On top of all this the past months have been hectic with me playing nurse and looking after her, doing the house up to put on the market, travelling loads to look at potential new houses and bungalows (with an eye to buying when ours was purchased by a new owner), and in general, lots of things which all conspired keep us away from our more normal gaming activities. We gave up the game club, wrapped up our long standing (home run) D&D campaign, filled the moat and pulled up the family drawbridge for a while.
Now, as the first half of 2018 rapidly approaches the half-way point, I find myself once again able to look at my hobby and start to drool with excitement and anticipation over future and forthcoming plans and anticipated gaming delights.
A funny thing happens when you take a long break from your hobby. When you return to it, you find you and even the hobby itself may have changed and moved on a bit from when you left it; and most assuredly, but subtly…you may have aged a bit a well: perhaps you are not quite as spry on your feet, or your eyesight has slightly diminished (noticeable when you go to paint the faces on your tiny little models), or maybe your health has declined slightly. This latter most certainly has affected me, and I feel my condition more poignantly than ever before…after a long cold winter and climbing up and down endless stairs (one of the reasons we first considered moving to a smaller house) and feeling every jolt in my weary old bones.
One of the symptoms about having emphysema is that your lungs don’t get enough oxygen, so effectively your muscles have to work extra hard and never to full efficiency, which feels a bit like having permanent flu…aching bones, headaches, and listless lack of energy (like having a cold, but without the runny nose and other cold like symptoms). This is permanent to some extent for me, with some days better than others…verging on feeling normal and good even, to full out uuug!!…and miserable stress of pain lol. Anyone with a permanent back injury or crippling arthritis will know all about this and understand what it’s like to carry an injury that will never fully go away: as for the fit lot out there, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it and imagine how it is, and be thankful you don’t have it yourself.
Point is, after winter and the shivering cold and damp of an Irish cold patch, I am usually at an all time physical low, and this makes warming up a little bit like waking up from a long carbonite freeze… i.e. slow and groggy for a while.
So where am I going with this, ah yes…
Returning to the hobby this time round has induced a few profound changes. Anyone who knows me well will know by now, I have been slowly culling my lifelong collection of figures and games for a few years now, either giving stuff away or simply chucking it out (or handing to the charity shop). Well, waking from the dark of winter this time round has seen me fine tune and tick off my hobby needs even more… and I find I need even less nowadays than ever.
And I find my true interests are a lot more focussed than they used to be. I find myself not wanting to play this, and that, and everything under the sun, not any more: but instead I find I enjoy devoting the majority of my time to just a couple of projects at a time.
For years I have been an eclectic gamer, adding games to my growing collection like a woman collects shoes or a Punk Rocker collecting badges.
Before you know it, you are surrounded by things you don`t want and can never fully use and enjoy in any case. I had become an addicted hoarder and it didn’t make me a happy gamer at all.
Anyway, nowadays, with my spending and my addiction well under control.. I find myself entrenched in my (let’s just say) ‘horse and musket’ era skirmish scale table top games, which covers a diverse range of related topics, from the French and Indian War (Last of the Mohicans) all the way up to Napoleonics (I love the “Sharpe” TV series and the Bernard Cornwell books).
I also enjoy a bit of space opera…but not all of it. Have fine tuned this and cut out most the comic book and film options and now have focussed in on just a few indulgences: Star Wars (Imperial Assault) and Doctor Who (which allows me to add in bits of anything I want really.. Aliens and Terminators and weird WWI and II, all sorts of stuff, pretty much at will).
A third passion is my lifelong love affair with all things Dungeons and Dragons. But more of that another time. Likewise with my Zombicide.
That’s a major culling of hobby interests and gaming endeavours, when compared to my former pursuits which must have run into at least a couple of dozen different types of games is pretty darn conservative, for me haha.
But I forced myself to give games to people I knew would enjoy them, rather than sit on them like a hoarder, even knowing I would never get to use them. So now I come back to the hobby with clear passion for the things that interest me, and the rest.. I let go.
My Dungeons and Dragons and my Star Wars are my solo indulgences, which I will be writing about in my new blog, when I finally decide to open it publically. I’m already sitting on tons of material, I just haven’t got it all neat and tidy yet, and it mostly sits in files here, there and everywhere, waiting to see the light of day and share with the world – yeeey, lucky you huh lol.
Zombicide (in all its many guises) I mostly just play with the family, or solo when the mood takes me. I may write about this game one day, but honestly, I have enough on my plate right now, without this added weight.
But it is my Horse and Musket “Age of Reason” (or Un-Reason, depends which side of the coin you want to look at) that has really caught my imagination this last while.
Talking back and forth with Jez, I realised we shared a similar passion, similar warped sense of humour, have a similar enjoyment in making stories come to life on the gaming table, and we both have an interest in collecting and painting appropriate, nice miniatures. So we decided to make this happen, and to share a game world in which to play in and write about. But I’ll leave Jez to talk more about all that.
Suffice to say, Lord Henry Arthur Bingly, the good Lady Chase Bingly, and of course, the voracious Lady Scarlett Blightingdale…will all be making regular appearances. As too will our good man Richard Sharpe and his merry gang of
cutthroats ooops, I mean “Chosen Men.” as well as cameos from the likes of Muldrew and The Skull, and Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill.
Oh, what fun times ahead.