SPLIT THE PARTY – Where I’m From (Part 1)

I wanted to take the opportunity/platform of a blog to not only publish original content that can be used in games, but also to just spew forth my portentous thoughts upon the world. I hope the former is useful for anyone in an Old School Revival mindset, and I make no guarantees that the latter will be useful for anyone but myself.

So I’m going to title these posts “SPLIT THE PARTY” (you know, like it says right up there). It’s my little corner or editorial or musing of the week. Eventually I hope to take something like this to the podcasting world too, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For this first entry I thought I’d give more background on my origins as a tabletop gamer. It’s been a long road to get to where I am today, and I’ve enjoyed practically all of it along the way!

This is part one, and I’ll be posting part two next week. If this isn’t interesting, feel free to skip it. You’ll get more items next week, and I won’t know the difference!

Like many (many, many) gamers today of my age (mid-30’s), I got my start with my older brother running me through Heroquest maps and adventures. If you’re not familiar with Heroquest, here it is – https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/699/heroquest and you should at least look at its beautiful box cover! If you’re a little familiar with Heroquest, go here for what makes it so great – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx8sl2uC46A and come back. I’ll wait.

Anyway, back then I always wanted to pay the Barbarian and the Dwarf because they had the most hit points, which obviously made them the best to my 6 year old mind. It meant they could live the longest, and the game could keep going. This mindset, no, not having the most HP, but keeping the game going, would end up coloring my entire outlook on gaming moving forward.

My brother and I had a gap then of gaming between Heroquest and what came next. I read a bunch of comics, became obsessed with Star Wars, you know, normal kid things in the 90’s. Then came a game that would prove to be just as good an entry point into wargaming as Heroquest was to nerd board games.

My brother bought a starter set and a couple of booster boxes of Mage Knight from the local and beloved friendly game store in our home town. He brought it home, and immediately we were playing this exciting, dynamic skirmish game with giant monsters, werebears, orcs, and knights.

This is explicitly not the board game of Mage Knight that would eventually eclipse the miniature skirmish game. It’s this – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mage_Knight version, the original. It was crack cocaine to two big kids who never got into Magic The Gathering.

We played that for several years, playing in big tournaments, coming up with new armies, and getting into arguments aplenty on a website I long miss – MKRealms.com.

Sure, we dabbled in many games during that time, and I think both my brother and I will tell you that we were chasing that feeling we got when we were so young that I could barely read playing Heroquest on our bedroom floor. Nostalgia is a thing we all chase, and for us, it’s that perfectly imperfect board game that I think we both hold as the Ur-adventure builder of our lives.

Regardless, Mage Knight stuck with us for a good long while. We were both even tournament organizers and would share the responsibilities of running tournaments so we could take turns competing and trying to keep our little local tournament scene alive.

Eventually we moved on, we discovered the original Call of Cthulhu card game from Fantasy Flight Games, which would turn out to be our third big love of tabletop games and would contribute another essential factor to us eventually finding our way into true tabletop Role Playing Games – horror. But that’s a story for next week’s STP post…

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