When my brother turned 11, like a lot of boys he got into Warhammer. Whilst he was now old enough to go to the store by himself, our Dad preferred someone to accompany him. Having less concern about social standing than my younger sister, this usually fell to me. Eventually, my brother grew out of his interest in Warhammer and I had to find a new excuse to go down.
The thing is, I'd become fond of it myself, and had made good friends with the staff and other regulars. I was no longer chaperoning my brother but instead attending in my own right. And that was ok - maybe being female gave me a protection from the bullying that geeks are meant to go through in the regular world, but most of my non-gaming classmates thought it was pretty cool (or at least perfectly ok) that I gamed.
One day, one of the staff members asked if I fancied joining his roleplay group - they wer playing a game based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and he knew I was a fan. I agreed and have always been glad of it: the game itself was a simple introduction to roleplaying - we were playing ourselves under strange circumstances - and it has opened doorways to so many friendships that I treasure but may otherwise never have made.
Playing myself - a bright and attractive but slightly awkward teenage girl who dreamt of magic powers - was kinda fun. It was nice, too, to get to know the other players in another light. After a while, one of them offered me a place in his Shadowrun group (third edition), a more serious game in which I played an elven adept, min-maxing slightly (through inexperience rather than malice) by having her half-Japanese/half-Native American. The other players were not at all surprised by the chocie of elf, but had anticipated I would be a shaman. This was a darker, often more intense game where actions had consequences I wasn't always happy about - but I have fond memories of the game and would go back to it in a heartbeat if it were ever resurrected.
I was introduced to Blood Bowl at the only Games Day event I ever attended - I enjoyed the light-hearted nature of the game but didn't play very often for lack of opponents.
It was through Warhammer that I met my Husbit. Girls are a less common sight in Games Workshop stores, and I think my store wanted to show off they had female regulars (there was myself, another regular's mum who was an ex-staff member and a young girl who played the recently released Lord of the Rings game) so they convinced me and the younger girl to go to a 'South-West Region Tournament'. The coach started from my local store and also collected a group from a store in Bournemouth, a town nearby that I didn't very often go to. The next leg of the journey was a lot longer and boring, but I could hear the Bournemouth boys behind me playing some sort of tongue in cheek roleplay - so I introduced myself and got absorbed into the game to pass the time.
The young man running the game was very good looking, so I went down to the Bournemouth store a few times after this event. Being shyer than I come across, I had no idea how to ask for his number so set up another roleplay game I was going to run in order to have an excuse to get it. My Shadowrun game was far less compelling than the one I had played in, but it did the trick and Husbit and I have been together over 10 years.
My roleplay horizons broadened further whilst at university and exposed to a whole new group of people, and on returning home I found regulars at the pub I worked in also played which in turn introduced me to more games and more friendships. These days, I'm playing in one group, meeting once a fortnight to play a Pathfinder campaign that I am enjoying immensely; it was whilst writing character background for this game that I decided to start this blog.
With Blood Bowl, Husbit runs the local league and also hosts 2 annual tournaments. We try to make it to as many of the local tournaments as we can reach/afford, and again have made many valuable friends this way.
Being a geek is awesome.