Tanelorn is a relatively new club which only started out in December 2000. For posterity and to provide an example to people who want to start their own wargames club up in their own area, I thought I'd put down how the club came about.
It was 2000 and I was getting kind of cheesed off that I wasn't getting as much gaming in as I should be. Every Warhammer Player's Society event I went to had a big club presence from the various clubs up and down the country. I'd talked to various friends in the hobby and it seemed to me that the way forward was to join a club. I searched through the pages of Wargames Illustrated, did searches on the internet, used GW's gaming club database, divination, entrail readings - well okay the last two arent true! I had a darn good look around and got in contact with clubs even. The bottom line was that the clubs that were there already didnt play the games I wanted to be involved in. They played the conventional wargaming games like DBM, WRG and all those other serious games. I wanted to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle - purely selfish I know, but what the hell. It was inevitable that the only real way forward was to form my own club ....
Going About It
It was about November time by now and I abused my position as the WPS Membership Secretary and had a hunt through the database to see if there was anyone in the local area who may want to come along to a local club in the East London area. There were a few names there, but how to contact them? Easy a notice on the WPS Forums board! So was born the start of the Tanelorn Publicity Campaign. Thankfully there were like minded people out there who were interested in coming to a club in this geographical location. It was about this time as well that I started to hunt for a venue for the club. This involved looking through the Thompson Local, Yellow Pages and generally keeping an eye out for halls in the area. Luckily one of my sons was going to karate and Beavers at a lovely church hall not far from me. I got the contact details and costings as well as finding out when the hall was available. I hasten to add that I did have knock backs from other venues and people as these sorts of places are heavily booked up and used by people playing badminton, doing aerobics, karate, origami, bungie jumping - you get the idea.
I decided to abuse my position again and get in contact with Che Webster (aka GW's Clubguy) and try to promote the club via GW stores. Che was more than helpful and when I put the idea of following the club in the process of it being set up over the first few months detailing them in an article (ripping off the idea of "A Tale of 4 Gamers") but now entitled "A Tale of How Billy No Mates Got Some Mates" he jumped at the chance. I put finger to keyboard and started there and then. I also designed an A4 flier that I wanted to put into local gaming shops or local GW stores. This provided basic contact information and the location of the first meeting in December. Oh and we needed a club name. Now let me think ..... easy, I'll name it after the old gaming website I used to run in the 90's - Tanelorn based on the Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion books.
Word 'N Mouth
In the meantime, people started contacting me via the Forums, notably one John Kersey aka Commissar, Mike "Zepec" Wilkinson and Shane "canons can move too" Bradshaw. John was a HUGE help putting leaflets around GW stores up and down the country by the sounds of things as well as local gaming shops. I had also met some guys earlier in the year through my sons swimming lessons who I contacted about the new club forming and the prospective first date namely Richard "Stunty Blues Brother" Bamford and "Whispering" Nick Roberts. Martin "mother's kettle" Turner I'd met before at various WPS events and we'd talked about getting a club together at one of these events. Martin helped out with the distribution of flyers to the various GW stores that he knew. Getting Dave "cool dude" Simpson onboard (yes from the WarMag Warmaster Campaign Rules fame) happened by pure accident via the GW Gaming Club Network mailing list that I belong to. I believe that John Kersey had strong ties with the Brent Cross store which is where Dave Simpson had played his Warmaster campaign as featured in WarMag (did I mention that already?) and hence got him on board too. All in all we had about 9 people geared up to attend at the very first club meeting.
And the first Tanelorn Club Day happened and it was good ......
Its always strange meeting people for the first time. The slight trepidation and fear of whether its going to be ok, will people get on. The cool thing was that I knew a fair few of those people early on through various walks of life and of course my involvement with the UK tournament scene via the WPS.
From Then to Now
The club initially met every two weeks on a Monday evening. After a year we decided to try to move it to a weekly slot and found ourselves meeting on Sunday evenings at the church hall that I had found and mentioned earlier.
People come and go. Interest in games come and go too. Out of those original 9 people there are at least two still at the club (Nick Roberts and obviously myself) and I am in contact with Martin Turner of and on. The club went from a huge 40k bent to a Warhammer Fantasy bent. We had a period of interest in Warmaster and Warhammer Ancients too. Occasionally we would run leagues or campaigns in other game systems such as Blood Bowl, Necromunda or Mordheim. Flames of War peaked interest too.
15 years on and we see games such as Privateer Press' Hordes and Warmachine, Wyrd Miniatures Malifaux, GW's 40k and Warhammer Fantasy Battle appear. Other games make appearances too - Epic Armageddon, SAGA, War and Conquest, Uncharted Seas and new Kickstarter games such as Relic Knights. The most important thing is that its not the games that makes the club, its the people and thats something we have - good people.