Something happened today that reminded me of the early days of British gaming, a story that I read about in the excellent, “Dice Men”. It was a moment that connected me simultaneously to the first time I walked into an original Games Workshop store sometime in the early 1980s.
The Dungeons and Dragons Club was set up in October and – despite being cancelled 5 times this half-term due to strikes and clashes with other events – is thriving. So much so that, today, in a dazzling moment of irony I was asked to absorb two other gaming-related clubs into the D&D fold.
I worked for Game Workshop for 12 years – it was the first big segment of my working life which has now been matched by my tenure in teaching. It seems that, wherever I go in my life, GW’s games catch up with me again. The first of the two other clubs I was asked to welcome into the fold was, of course, the Warhammer Club.
Board games are a secondary pleasure in my life. I enjoy a good board game and will happily join in with any such play, but it’s not too common to be offered. The second club that joins with us is the board games club and I am rather amused (and excited) to see what kinds of games they are into. Perhaps I will find willing players for a couple of games from my own stacks.
But the irony is that, over the years of being a roleplayer, both these groups of fellow gamers have tended to look down on the humble D&D groups that I have been part of. The GW crowd tend to focus on their toy soldiers, army list optimisation, and competition while the board gamers tend to see imaginary games with no board as, well, weird. Both have been known to mock the roleplayer.
And yet here we are: Dungeons & Dragons is the sanctuary.
I’m happy to merge the groups, of course. It’ll mean meeting more students who enjoy intelligent games and a wider range of activities for me to share. I still enjoy a good tabletop battle and will happily make up the numbers for a board game. But I can’t help wondering how many I can recruit into the dungeon.
It all feels a bit like going back to the origins of the UK gaming scene, when Games Workshop imported D&D, championed board games, and set up Citadel Miniatures. Perhaps we are, at least in our community, coming full circle.
10th Edition of 40k is just around the corner too, so you can get into the new edition together.
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Great to hear the “clubs” are coming together and very interested to hear what kind of games the kids bring and what kind of crossover you see! Reminds me of the times I’ve run and played games in my “adopted” local game store in Singapore. While we played, there was a lot of foot traffic (both weekend and evening) to come in and then mainly purchase board games, and some wargame miniatures. A lot of them stopped and watched – and a few asked questions.. but these were all adults. It will be interesting to see if the kids from the board game club are more willing to “take the initiative” and try RPGs…