I discovered the game of Warhammer 40K, 4th edition not long after I left the Army. Games like D&D, Shadowrun, Vampire, and Paranoia; I played in high school. This game was completely different than any of them.
I remember my friend Jarret introduced me. We went up to a local Games Workshop store and demoed the game. He decided on the Tau for their back story. I chose Orks for the same reason. WAAAAGH!
Orks are an amazing race on bumbling hilarity. At least they were in 4th Edition. The one thing I didn't consider was that you needed a horde of them to be effective.
Luckily several Ork players were getting out to hobby and I bought up their models at a discount. I still paid an small fortune for the, but at least I had more than could fit in 3 shoe boxes.
One side effect was I had a rag tag assortment of models. They looked like a squadron of blind monkeys threw green paint on them. I spent a lot of free time trying to uniform them.
Now that local Games Workshop store was 45 minutes from my house. Every Wednesday, my day off, I'd head up the in the morning. I'd paint and chat with the staff all day. I'd catch a game or two... and lose. I'd even help them clean up the store when they closed. Yes, I was one of those guys.
I remember the 4th week of my 4th month playing the 4th Edition of Warhammer 40K. Something unusual happened that Wednesday. I won every game I played that day.
I was high from my victory. Cocksure, I enrolled in an upcoming Warhammer 40K tournament. The entry was $5 dollars and there were 9 others signed up, 2 of which I had defeated that day. The idea of winning $50 for playing a game appealed to me. Being high from my victories that day, I knew nothing could stop me.
Did you know tournament armies were different than casual armies? Here I came in, a grin from ear to ear carrying my Orks. Guess who let with his tail between his legs? This guy! The consolation was they invited me to the next tournament. After all, I was a pretty easy victory and an extra $5 in the pot, right?
The thing they didn’t consider was I can be super competitive. I didn’t plan to lose the next tournament. I made a few friends and found a mentor. John Connelly was his name and he had an Army which was particularly brutal, the Sisters of Battle.
I would challenge and challenge again my mentor. Losing time and time again to the flames of righteousness until one time, I was able to defeat him.
On point value alone, I defeated him. I swore to him that day my next army would be Sisters of Battle, in honor of the shear beautiful brutality of them. He laughed.
At the next tournament , I played Orks to my advantage. Most players expected few elite troops in heavy armor. I was a tidal wave of guns and axes. Using strategies I picked up from my mentor, I was able to overwhelm and dominate most of the armies. When it was all said and done, I took second place. A huge improvement.
As time went on, I entered and won more tournaments. After my first year playing, I even had enough store credit to get another army. I chose the Sisters of Battle.
Using Ork strategies, my nuns with guns won me two more armies over the next two years. It also cost me a few friends over the years but that’s a different story for a different time.
Have you ever been addicted to wargaming? What's your story. I'd love to hear it.