Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Beginnings.

Welcome to the beginning of WarBear games! It is my goal here to discuss and theorize about tabletop gaming and game culture. I'm not too good at introductions, so rather than mess around, I'll start by telling you a long winded story about myself.

Zargon just takes what he wants.

The first fantasy game I remember playing - the one that started it all for me - was a 1989 board game by Milton Bradley known as HeroQuest. In it I played the role of the sinister Zargon, an evil wizard bent on destroying the would-be heroes (namely, my mom and my sister or friends who came over) and for a seven year old, I played an excellent villain. From there I went on to many other fantasy-based tabletop games or in some cases, games that took up the entire floor! (most notably, Battle Masters) These games included such gems as Tower of the Wizard King, Warhammer Quest and Mutant Chronicles, as well as more traditional games like Risk and Stratego.

From then on fantasy settings became my main outlet for entertainment. For movies I watched Dragon Slayer, Excalibur or The Labyrinth. In video games I played Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy or Wizards and Warriors and in books I was thoroughly immersed in the Dragonlance world. I was fat and happy on all things fantastic. Every form of entertainment was brimming with sword and sorcery. Life was good.

I didn't think things could get any better until one fateful day in middle school. My friend Dave was playing around on his computer while I rummaged through his books/cd's/etc. You see, Dave was one of those guys who always had the coolest and most interesting stuff and that days find was the massive three ring binder (nay, Tome!) known as the Monstrous Compendium. When I asked him what it was for, he gave me a brief description of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I was floored; I insisted on playing it right then and there. He helped me create a character and off I went on an adventure he made on the fly. My first character, "dragon-man" fought a few monsters, flew into a secret cloud city, got drunk there and fought some more. Not too shabby for a school day afternoon. It was everything I wanted in a game and more.

A week or two later I was formally introduced to the AD&D game via a box set titled First Quest: An Introduction to Role Playing Games. Dave played the role of Dungeon Master while my friend Brett, his brother and myself played the hapless adventurers. I played the cleric and I died horribly.

I introduced the game to my cousin Edward on a family vacation around 1995 and hooked him as well. It was my first foray into Game Mastering, a role which I continue to fill even today. While memories are spotty at best, I remember running the module HHQ4: Cleric's Challenge, as well as a short 'off the cuff' adventure where he defeated a giant spider. To this day I get frustrated with the Cleric's Challenge. Not because of the content - the game is top notch. But because the cover art has absolutely nothing to do with the game!

As grownups, we get to play in our own basements!

The games - and groups - have continued to evolve over time. We have gained and lost players, taken a few breaks (some on not-so-good terms!), tried out different games and of course, continued to live our lives. Tabletop gaming has remained an important part of my life and an excellent source of entertainment. Some people hunt, others play baseball, I just happen to kill monsters!

Fast forwarding to present day. I currently run (with the help of some dedicated friends!) three fantasy RPG campaigns based in a world of my own design. I paint miniatures, make dioramas and play board games as well as video games. I am a staunch believer that games are for everyone, not just for geeks. I reject terms like geek, nerd and dork when others discuss game culture and I hope to use this blog to touch on these topics every now and again. In fact, I created this blog to replace my old one "Orcs and Dorks," because I realised that I was only supporting the problem.

It is my hope to use this blog as an outlet to review games and resources, discuss the finer points of table top/PnP gaming, release my own adventure modules and possibly start a video blog! I've got nowhere to go but up, so wish me luck!

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