The "when did you start 40k thread" got me thinking. GW is often the starting point for many gamers out there and (currently at least) they are also known for minimizing evidence that other games exist outside the GW Hobby. So this got me wondering, to those that started on GW why did you decide to look somewhere else? What was your jumping off point into the rest of the hobby?

For me it happened late in 3rd Edition, soon after they started the experimental rules thing (which I thought was actually nice, until they decided not to use any of them). But to be exact it started when 3rd was released. I was in love with 2nd Edition but when I picked up the 3rd Edition rules and started reading I began to wonder where everything had gone. They got rid of things like heavy weapons firing even if only other squad members moved, splitting fire and even fire arcs and many, many other things. I got to the weapon section and it was anaemic, there was only a bit of fluff about the weird and wacky guns I had come to love. Then I got to the army creation section and discovered most of my army couldn't even be used (I didn't have the proper command squad to field my new techmarine ).

But it didn't stop there, the codices, ugh, some of the worst I've ever seen (played Dark Angels) and they each did something to ruin the simplicity the game strove for (which made it something of a worthless reduction in my mind). In the end I just couldn't bring myself to play it anymore.

At around the same time I was starting to explore gaming sites on the Internet more (didn't have access to home so I browsed it when I went to the schools my parents worked at). And eventually I came upon a wonderful place called the GW Gateway (no idea if it is still up). It was a portal site that had a section for every GW game (including 2nd) and after browsing through all I could I happened upon sections for things I'd never heard of. Games like Vor: The Maelstrom and Warzone. I browsed over those sites and it caught my attention and led me further on.

I eventually found a site called (I think) Minigamers (or was that the name of the short lived re-launch?) that was run by a nice chap and most of its discussion was concerning things that had nothing to do with GW. The big forum topic was a game called Void and it was utterly amazing. Though I never actually got into Void (still have all the .pdfs for it though as well as print-outs of all the old material) it was an eye-opener to see all that diversity in gaming.

One day I was browsing through the LGS looking for cool gaming books and I happened upon one that would change the way I gamed. It was the 1st Edition Warzone rulebook and it was a thing of beauty. That night I poured over it for hours and in it was everything I ever loved about 2nd Edition and then some. Customization up to wazoo, loads of troop choice, fun skirmish rules and all kinds of wacky gear. For the next couple years it was all I played. Not having access to the minis for it I dusted off my Space Marines and proxied them. It wasn't long before my Internet travels brought me to find the game had a 2nd Edition out for it and a starter box. I ended up buying two and me and my friend split the two factions between us (I still have Ducal Militia lying around) but alas, though it was a cleaner ruleset it lost a lot of the fun of 1st Edition. It toned down the characters nicely but stripped the character off the game in the process and radically changed the fluff. It also didn't help that Target had died a while ago. So I continued to play 1st Edition knowing that my favourite game system would never expand...

Until Excelsior Entertainment picked it up and went with it. After years of waiting the Ultimate Warzone rules came out and ever since it has been a favourite of mine (even though EE went under) because it contains everything I've loved about both previous editions. Ever since I have been a game-a-holic and I have armies for nearly a dozen games (and many times that number in actual games I own). It is only recently that I came back to check out 4th/5th Edition but found it wanting compared to the rest of the industry. So I simply re-collected all of my 2nd Edition stuff and now even my 40k minis get some play now and again.

So what is your story of game discovery for those that started with GW. And to those that didn't (I'm expecting more of the older, historicals crowd with that though) what did you start with?