It all began with a Christmas present...

It was Christmas Eve 1993, I was 10 years old. I did not know it at the time, but I was about to open a present that would be the catalyst to a lifelong passion.

When I unwrapped that gift my eyes widened at the beautifully illustrated box - a heroic knight on his trusty white steed rides out to meet the badass black rider who is sieging the fortress with his army of orcish creatures behind him. A mystical-looking sorcerer casting vibrant incantations stands left of the word; "DragonStrike."

I was in love.

What a gorgeous piece of art. ©TSR/Wizards of the Coast.
What a gorgeous piece of art. ©TSR/Wizards of the Coast.

I watched the "hyperReality" instructional VHS tape at least a hundred times (see below for a half-hour of cheesy goodness). I ogled over all of the miniatures, all surprisingly detailed for the time. I ran games for my friends, we played all Summer together. Whether or not we followed the rules exactly did not matter because we had a blast.

Fast forward 10 years - I was becoming addicted to Warhammer. I researched as much as possible about this tabletop wargame. I became friends with guys at the local hobby store where we met nearly every week to talk about the game, the minis, how to paint and assemble them, the hobby in general.

After a couple of years of playing and painting, I went from Warhammer to GW's Lord of the Rings, as well as other various tabletop games.

It wasn't until I was in my 30s believe it or not that I finally started playing Dungeons & Dragons. It hooked me in a way that I cannot explain. It brought me back to my summer fling with DragonStrike all those years ago. Those wonderful carefree days of adventuring in a fantasy world, living the stories that we created together. I was meant to play this, to DM for my friends, and to run games as often as us working adults could manage.

On and off, I've spent nearly two decades of my life painting miniatures and building terrain for a variety of games. The world of tabletop gaming, miniature painting and terrain crafting, it's more than a hobby for me, it's a lifelong passion.