Tomorrow, Games Workshop launches their new edition of Warhammer 40,000 in the U.S. I had a little piece written up about how I was proud of where the company is today, how the new rules were exciting, and other such things.
Then I looked at Facebook. And decided I needed to write a different story instead.
Twenty years ago, I took a job with a game manufacturer that is still a giant in the industry. A fresh faced kid, I packed everything into my car and drove to Baltimore to start a new life working for a company that felt magical to me. In just over a year, I was relocated to Great Britain to help start up an entire foreign division in a language in which I could just barely ask directions. I wasn’t even twenty-five.
In my time abroad, I met countless others who shared my love of gaming and toy soldiers. People from .. literally .. everywhere in the world, every walk of life. All incredibly different, yet all of us the same in that we shared a love for what we were doing. In those days, you didn’t work for Games Workshop; You joined a family. There is very little, still, that I wouldn’t do for anyone who, like myself, survived our formative years in that heady, tumultuous environment.
Workshop staffers used to jokingly refer to ourselves as ‘Brother Marines’, part of the companies mythos. Space marines are stalwart defenders of order in a universe that is eternally at war. They are genetically engineered super humans. They don’t feel fear, or sadness, or sorrow. Their only purpose is to protect humanity from extinction. We bonded over the idea that we all served a purpose, the same purpose; and that we all held it dear to our hearts.
To this day, some of my closest friends are people I met during those times. It speaks volumes that two decades after leaving the company we all still talk regularly. Our shared victories have shifted away from quarter billion dollar sales goals towards the more mundane world of families and careers; but we still share them. We cheer just as loudly when one of us gets a new job, or has an addition to their family. Maybe even louder. We also mourn, together, the failures and the losses.
That, my dear readers, is the rub. For all our self comparison to Space Marines, we are still only human. We know fear. We know sadness. We can have our hearts torn out with grief.
Today one of my former Brothers suffered a wound that I can’t even imagine. His love, his partner, his wife, passed from the earth. I truly can’t possibly understand what he must be going through today. However, since I am *not* a genetically engineered super-human, I can grieve for him. I can grieve for his young daughter. I can cry; I have cried.
To the man who literally became the embodiment of Robin Hood, I wish nothing but peace today. I feel confident that I am speaking for all of my peers when I say that even though you may not be able to see us right now, we are only a step behind you.
If you need us. We will be there.