Located at the entrance to the shopping arcade on Silver Street, Games Workshop Leicester was in a part of the city centre that I’d never been to before. It was like visiting the alternative quarter of the city, with a nearby Forbidden Planet store, costume shop & bazaar full of the usual novelty bongs & dreamcatchers. Even the name Silver Street invoked feelings of fantasy, as every shop on the street was something completely different & almost mythical. Even the tattoo shop had the foresight to keep the medieval theme going.
I’ll never forget that first visit to the store. Wall-to-wall blister packs & boxed games from fantasy to 40k, Epic to Battlefleet Gothic, and of course Bloodbowl. I didn’t know it at the time, but Bloodbowl would grow into a huge passion within the hobby, one that I still stand by as the best game in the entire range. The store manager (another James) was incredibly patient taking me through the huge range of Orcs & Goblins that I’d chosen to be my first army. I was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement at so many options in the store. Remember this is pre-internet, so everything was in the stores.
After picking out some essential paints & brushes Manager James assigned a team member to spend the afternoon teaching me how to build a force & write an army list to play the game. Not in a competitive sense, but more for a cohesive fighting force. However as the Orc player, I had no interest in this whatsoever & following the rule of cool, leaving with my first blister pack: a Snotling Pump Wagon.
Before long I found like-minded friends at school & began to host games at home at the weekends. The first few games were admittedly heavily proxied due to us all owning the massive bestiary & yet only a few variations of models. Mighty max toys (remember those?) provided great stand-ins for models & were a very similar size. Of course we vowed to get the proper models eventually. My gaming days were short-lived however, as there were very few of us that played & although I kept up with the lore & the releases that followed, I didn’t get into the gaming side of the hobby until high school.
Do you remember your first visit to Games Workshop? What did you think? What was your first in store purchase? We’d love to hear all about it!