This past November marked my 5th year of playing 40K and with the year quickly coming to a close I began thinking about what 40K is to me. I could spin this into some sort of psychology article but others have already done so better than I. Instead this will just be an honest article about me, something I rarely do.
In 2006 I had my 10 year high school reunion. Long story short, I had no intention of going but was persuaded into attending and the day before the reunion met up with a bunch of friends from high school I really had not seen in those 10 years. One of those people was Kamui and he and my other friends were still playing 40K. They played back in high school but I was never drawn to it then. This time around it didn’t take much convincing and I was emerged.
Back then I played on average one game a month. One of us would host and we’d drink beers and play 40K. Collecting an army, Orks at the time, and getting everything assembled and painted accounted for easily 95% of my time spent doing anything 40K related.
With gaming being such an infrequent thing for me it’s easy to see how the hobby side of 40K absorbed all my time. I painted almost nightly and in a few years I had two fully painted armies, Orks and Necrons. I dabbled with sculpting and did a lot of converting and scratch building for my Orks. Super glued fingers and bleeding wounds was part of most any day.
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with memory lane. I just need to do some setup here.
A few years ago I began going to what is now my FLGS and gaming on a weekly basis. A few months into attending there I started doing tournaments once a month there too. I was now gaming more in two months than I was an entire year prior. It was almost like starting over with regards to gaming. No longer was I playing the same few friends over and over. I was facing new armies, new players and I began growing more as a gamer.
Today I still play weekly at my FLGS and still play in the monthly tournaments there. I’ve since attended one ‘ard Boyz and one out-of-town tournament. I think it would be cool to at least once make one of the large tournaments all the competitive bloggers write about but it’s not a huge draw for me. Which brings this back around to the point of this article.
To me 40K is an escape. I’m an adult. I have a wife, a house, a job and all the normal responsibilities of someone my age. Even though I game more than I had earlier on in my 40K ‘career’, the hobby side of things still accounts for more of my time spent in 40K than gaming does. I have a lot of pride in my armies whether it’s the painting, sculpting or conversion work I do to make my armies stand out. On average I win more games than I lose but I don’t hold a record that any competitive gamer would be proud of. I continually try to push myself as a gamer, never settling for good enough, but I’m not the best player out there and that’s fine with me.
Once a week, and one weekend a month (sounds like National Guard), I go play with my toys with a bunch of adults. We admire the work each has put into their army, roll some dice, have some laughs (often as the expense of another player), and shake hands at the end of it. We all forgot about the bills, the kids, the list of errands that needs to be accomplished tomorrow, and just have fun.
So that’s what 40K is to me. It’s that chance to get away from it all and emerge myself, be it with the hobby or a game, in a world that calls to me. It’s that simple escape that anyone seeks in any hobby really. I also feel it’s one reason I’ve never become super-competitive with it. For me anyway, being a top-notch competitive 40K player would be more like work and less like a hobby. It’s not to say I don’t try but I’d rather spend an hour painting than an hour pouring over a list of mine ensuring everything is truly optimized.
How about you? Why do you play 40K? What keeps you coming back to it?