6th Form at school looked pretty much like this:
These were most of the people who were defining my existence at that point. A group of friends, many of them who were gamers of one sort or another. The guy in the top right doing a fantastic impression of Bruce Dickinson was the guy my brother first played his Ninja role-playing with. The guy immediately below him in the Carcass T-shirt is my mate Liam, he of the scratch built Warhound and Warlord. The guy at the back in the blue Jumper is Jay, he was the one with the Egg Shell blue Ultramarines and my mate Chris [who looks a little bit sloshed], who's birthday today is, is to the right of Jay and looks like he's got the hand of the guy in double denim growing out of his head.
Chris and I started with Blood Bowl, via Big Pete. Chris had Talisman and a number of it's expansions. When we moved into 40K he had a Genestealer army because he'd bought Space Hulk as well. I think he may have also dabbled in Imperial Guard because those guys were the 'cheap option' in 40K , when GW used to have cheap options! His Epic Army was Eldar and I have so many vivid memories of wargames in his bedroom on the offset diagonally cut gaming table we all shared that was regularly transported between Chris and Liam's house down the street. There was alsways snacks and music on the go [something I may cover in another post] and more bizarrely Chris got into Incense Sticks and Cones, so there were sights sounds, tastes and smells to assault the senses and bring back memories now.
Sadly photography wasn't big on the scene then so I have very few pictures, this being a great one of us as a gang but I know Chris had one of us on our first ever Live-Roleplaying jaunt to North Wales were we camped over-night and donned costumes made from a selection of curtains took to the hills to fight all manner of beasties under the eyes of the GM 'Yoz'! Occasionally we fell out, over rules, my constant losing and other trivialities. It didn't help that I had a Saturday job that allowed me to get whatever GW figures I wanted and I wanted a lot, so that became a point of ridicule some times. Regardless we always had a great time.
The discovery of alcohol and the ability to get into Rock Clubs at 16 impacted on the gaming to a certain degree. Tabletop battles gave way to more social role-playing - Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, Dark Conspiracy and a few others. We had a laugh, great times with great people. We may have drifted apart over the years, I haven't seen Chris in about 2 years since he's moved away, and I only get to speak to Liam via Facebook since he found the interwebz recently, but we'll have those memories for a long time to come. So cherish your gaming crew memories whilst you still can.