I have always loved games. Board games, miniatures even legos. I spent most of my time as a child playing by myself so games were my friends.
When I was young I would save my money up to buy board games. My best friend, Cam, and I loved Axis and Allies. I also bought Shogun, Rome, Fortress America and Broadsides and Boarding Parties. I loved all of these games, though Axis and Allies was always the best to my mind.
Legos were my first miniatures. I got my first set on my sixth birthday, starting a life long love affair. I have hundreds of pounds of legos (how do you measure legos?). In addition to the obvious use of lego people for armies, I wanted to play mass battles. This pre-dated Warhammer and such by a few years, and I was not aware of those games even after they came out.
I did collect the Dungeons & Dragons miniatures game. The cardboard cutouts never thrilled me but they did let me fight out some battles here and there. I also played the rules for armies, making hunrdreds of units out of note cards, playing out battles with the cards representing the units and tracking them through entire campaigns.
There was a period of about seven years, between 1995 when I graduated from college and 2002 when we briefly moved to England, that I did not play any wargames. Then, in 2002 we were in Harrogate. Tracy had gone home for a few weeks and I was wandering down the high street after eating dinner. I walked past the Games Workshop store. I stopped. I stared through the glass at the models. I did not go in. I knew this was a slippery slope. If I went in I was doomed.
For several days I walked past every night and did not go in. Then I crossed the threashold. I looked at the fantasy side of the store. I looked at the Lord of the Rings mini's. I looked at the 40k (Sci-fi) stuff. I walked out. The next night I went in again. The manager asked me which army I was going to play. I didn't know enough to answer him. I fled. The next night I was back. I looked at the books. I was drawn to Empire. I asked the manager questions. He was reasonably helpful.
After a week of going in I bought the starter set. Empire and Orcs. I got it back to the hotel room. I felt that old shiver of anticipation as I got ready to open the box. I pulled off the top and there it was. Sprues of mini's, rule book, quick start rules, templates and dice. I read the whole rule book that night.
I snap fitted the guys I could together. Some of them required glue. The next night I was in the store buying glue, the Empire and Orcs & Goblins army books and a paint set with paints, brush and six Bretonnian archers. (think feudal France). That night I had everything glued and was playing through the rules on the floor of the hotel. It was like I was 12 again. I was hooked.