Blast from the Past: 2004-2007

Hello readers! I’m continuing a semi-historical look at my career in the gaming industry. I’m inspired by Shannon Appelcline’s excellent Designers & Dragons series, and I’ve already written several blog posts chronicling the earlier years.

In 2003, I got hired by Games Workshop as a copywriter, a position I would hold until 2005. While I was there, I learned the art of editing from my boss–and a fantastic human being, Eric Sarlin.

WOTC offered me an opportunity to put that editing skill to work on Complete Divine under managing editor Gwendolyn Kestrel. I quickly learned that while editing is a great skill to have for a writer, editing was not what I wanted to do full-time… or even part-time.

Fortunately, I used my time at GW wisely, becoming an expert on all their IPs, including Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, and The Lord of the Rings. I got to try my hand at miniature game design, and I found that I had a talent for it, designing an expansion for the Kill-team rules found in Warhammer 40,000 4th edition.

Unfortunately, 2005 was a very turbulent year for me, involving a serious car crash, unemployment when Games Workshop laid off dozens of employees while decentralizing the HQ in Glen Burnie, and moving house to elsewhere in Maryland. This meant that my actual output of RPG work was at an all-time low since I had started in the business, and would continue until 2008.

Between 2004 and 2007, most of my work was writing articles for various magazines, including Knights of the Dinner Table and Digital Hero. I had a regular column for some time in White Dwarf, writing tactics articles for Warhammer 40,000 4th edition.

What sustained me during this time were my friends. I had a very strong group of friends around me, and we engaged in all kinds of shenanigans. Michael Surbrook and I ran a gaming convention for a few years in Glen Burnie called HeroCon, and I ran a TON of gaming sessions for my own RPG setting of Shadows Angelus.

I had obtained a job that allowed me a lot of free time. I was the office manager and later a consultant at the National Japanese-American Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. from 2005-2008. This was rewarding work, and it gave me a good teal of time to myself. In retrospect, I wish I had spent more of that time working on my own projects!

All told, this was the doldrums of my career, and there’s no telling what would have happened if another fantastic opportunity hadn’t opened up for me the very next year…

Until next time!

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