I have always been resistant to games that have the word ‘War’ before them. Painting figures is something I have always enjoyed and like to think I am fairly good at. It was something I started at the young age of thirteen when my sister discovered a shop called ‘Games Workshop’ and bought a pack of little monsters called Nurglings. We had no idea what was going on with the games side of things but before I knew what had happened, one of my shelves was occupied with a load of plastic skeletons and their relative chums. Fast forward several years and I still have a shelf with some painted models on in my house.
These are just a couple and I know the image lighting is a bit rubbish – there’s only so much you can do on a dull day with an iPhone…
I was never bothered all that much about the social or gaming side of things. I went into the shops to purchase what I needed and left again as soon as possible. not because I felt intimidated by the gamers, not because I never felt as though I was welcome, it just wasn’t for me.
Until Stronghold. This is a local games store which has exceptionally friendly staff, who are grown up and very welcoming. On the day they opened, I went along with my partner (A press-ganger for Privateer Press who was running demo games of Warmachine) and painted. I expected to be shoved at the back and ignored as per the usual custom. Alas, such was not meant to be. I was kept liberally supplied with coffee, spoken to very regularly by all the staff members and even some of the more venturous gamers who dared approach my table.
The shop supplies a wide range of games, most of which I have never heard of and the staff are very knowledgeable too. The liberal application of air freshener through the day via an electronic device also made me realise that these people knew their market and knew how to make their store welcoming and not a den occupied by the unclean; something which this hobby seems to attract. I’ve popped some pictures in of the place and really can recommend a visit if this is your thing – they’ve worked hard to make a decent shop, it is worth it!