Switch Theme:

What was your first time in a GW store like?  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
Author Message

Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.

Made in us
Focused Fire Warrior

United States

In that "Future of GW" thread someone mentioned how the brick and mortar stores make or break some customers. I thought it would be interesting to hear what some of the people on the forums first experiences in those stores were like.

As for me I only recently got into 40k. However when I was around 10 or 11 (around 15 years ago). A friend from a stage play I was in was talking up Warhammer Fantasy Battle. He made me want to get into this game so bad. The stories of his elves fighting off orcs sounded so cool. I honestly don't know if the things he described were in the rules or if he was making it up. I just remember being entranced by this game, and wanting to play it myself.

So I made my mom take me to the local GW store which was inside a mall. I remember parts of this visit very distinctly I remember that there was one customer and the employee inside. They were talking about a game they had with another customer who had just left. I specifically remember the phrase "It's not my fault my elves can hide in trees and you walked into them."

The next thing I remember was completely ignoring the 40k stuff because I was told it wasn't as good as fantasy by this friend. I also remember a lack of starter sets, and the employee basically being like "Just pick a blister and start collecting from there." Then going back to his conversation. Needless to say, my mom got the smallest/cheapest one they had, and we walked out of the store. I didn't end up opening that pack of models until like 4 years ago for a dnd game when I needed elves. I didn't enter the hobby myself until 8th edition 40k.

I think that if the employee in the store had really gone for it, he could have convinced me to get more stuff, or even demo a game. Instead he ignored us, my mom was shocked by the price and they lost a customer.

So what about you guys? What were your first experiences like? Good? Bad? Nothing special?

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2019/06/17 13:36:24

Made in ca
Eternally-Stimulated Slaanesh Dreadnought


Leeds City Centre store, near the Corn Exchange. I don't think it exists any more. An incredibly enthusiastic David Koresh lookalike called Colin completely sold me on starting a Dark Angels army.

I went in to buy a leader for my Goliath gang.

The Fall of Kronstaat IV
Война Народная | Voyna Narodnaya | The People's War - 2,898pts painted (updated 18/09/19)
Волшебная Сказка | Volshebnaya Skazka | A Fairy Tale (updated 07/10/19, ep9 - Разорение | Razoreniye | Downfall)
Kabal of The Violet Heart (updated 18/09/19)

You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major who got pooh-poohed; made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cause it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment.
Made in us
Courageous Questing Knight


A wonderful store. Red/Yellow/Black style of Gothic 3rd edition style. Beautiful tables! Much higher quality DIY terrain from employees and extremely well painted store armies. Great staff of 3-4 if I recall.

Smelled of spray primer or similar to old inks. I was playing Mageknight and Heroclix at the time looking into how to get into Warhammer 40,000 when I hit high school. I remember having to have a fully painted army to play a game and thought that was an impossible task (coming from never playing before). I had a sample demo game of Crimson Fists vs. Orks under the newly released 3rd edition!

4-5 years later I had my first 40k game at the Gamesworkshop and they didnt even have the fully painted requirement anymore! At that time they had demo games going on for 4th edition Battle of Macragge and I started Ultramarines and Tyranids!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/06/17 13:47:44

Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

The Edinburgh store always had really enthusiastic staff, though I think they were a little too focussed on upselling rather than listening to customers. My first experience was great - just popping in to buy some of the old 2nd edition SM Tacticals (the multipart ones with hands that looked like waiters holding trays) and I still remember the guy being really, really positive and helpful.

A year or two later I remember going in to pick up some skeleton command and some enthusiastic staffer trying to flog me a Bloodthirster. I kept telling him I was only really interested in Undead but I remember him just not shutting up. Eventually I took the Bloodthirster off him, then quietly put it down somewhere before paying for my £4 blister pack. Looking back, this may have been the start of the Kirby decline.
Made in us
Ancient Chaos Terminator

Eye of Terror

This was in College Park, Maryland, at a store that no longer exists.

It was summer, arrived at the store just after opening. The place was bustling with all kinds of customers - high-school kids, skaters / punks, some older folk who clearly knew a lot about modeling. I was a young teen and knew little about 40k other than having seen other people's armies and realizing 'I want that.'

The walls were stacked with poorly organized blister packs. There were several on the floor, opened, where someone had relieved them of their contents. They also had several copies of the old Citadel castle, and I remember wondering why that was needed for sci-fi games.

The store had 4 tables, one of them was a jump-pack marine force fighting against a Chaos foe. I listened in on an argument between the players, it involved the affect of spiky bits and the abilities of an apothecary. Other people were trying to work out a schedule of when they would play, similar to the way people would say 'I got next' with old arcade games.

I got a box of Marines that day along with some basic paints. The manager of the store was a stout fellow, short cropped hair, and very enthusiastic. He gave me a copy of White Dwarf for free containing the rules for Genestealer Cults, which became the next army I collected after Marines. He also gave me a Chaos Heavy Weapons sprue that was sitting near the register. I had lunch at a nearby sub shop, wondering why there were faces carved into the guns.

I spent a lot of time there and was genuinely sad when they closed the location. It moved to a nearby mall, next to a pet store, which had a very different vibe to it. More floor space meant people were not huddled together as much so there was less conversation. The manager no longer worked there, the person who replaced him was a generic retail manager type who didn't really understand the game.

The sense of wonder went away after that move, I kind of 'understood' 40k at that point and had a group of people I played against regularly. It was really something compared to the way the game is played today, more like a 'scene' than a hobby.

Made in ca
Stoic Grail Knight

drinking tea in the snow

I don't remember where it was, somewhere in michigan. The guy there actually did a really good job, he was friendly, and let my cousin and I play a game with the starter set of 40k at the time. He didn't actually manage to sell me on 40k, i was far more interested in fantasy stuff, but I did end up getting a set that was... archers with some paints?

Sadly most of my experiences after that were not so good, with too much hard sales pressure and generalized discomfort

realism is a lie
Made in gb
Agile Revenant Titan

London, UK

My first time in a GW store was the GW in Dublin down the road from Gamer's World. I went to get an intro game into 5th edition with my freshly painted Tyranid Battleforce which I somehow worked up to 750pts.

I had a great time playing one of the employees and he sold me on playing the game even more. I remember he'd helped me pick out a plan for my army and sold me the old metal broodlord model.

5000 Fir Farillecassion Eldar W/L/D 4th Ed Codex - 14/7/1 6th Ed Codex - 9/1/0 7th Ed Codex - 4/1/1 8th Ed Codex - 10/4/2
2000 Hive Fleet Zenith
Excavating eBay: My blog of eBay finds and the pile of shame!
Instagram, follow if you dare!
Made in us
Stinky Spore

My first GW experience was at a wheeled stand in the breezeway of the then-recently built Arizona Mills, in the late '90s. Same kind of display as what they might sell cellphone covers off of. One side was Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the other was Warhammer 40,000. My mom bought me the 5th edition WFB starter that came with lizardmen and Bretonnians. Great day.

Through tha Waaagh! things you will see. Otha places. Tha future. Tha past. Old gitz long gone. 
Made in gb
Death-Dealing Dark Angels Devastator

Leeds, UK

 Excommunicatus wrote:
Leeds City Centre store, near the Corn Exchange. I don't think it exists any more. An incredibly enthusiastic David Koresh lookalike called Colin completely sold me on starting a Dark Angels army.

I went in to buy a leader for my Goliath gang.

It has gone, the store is now on Lower Briggate, after a stint elsewhere in town up near the Headrow.

That store was my 2nd GW, I moved from Hull shortly after getting into 40k in the very late 90s.

The first time I went in, I just had some time to kill waiting to be picked up. I was a kid with no money and didn't have my models with me, so I was just looking at the models and making grand plans of all I could add to my fledgling Chaos army.

I must have looked suspicious, as I went to leave they collared me and said the manager wanted a word. Took me into the back (cellar?) and asked me to empty my pockets - they thought I had pocketed something. Obviously I hadn't. They were very apologetic when it became obvious I was innocent. I became a regular in that store a few months later - so obviously didn't put me off too much,
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist


I used to get my hobby stuff from a local toy shop in the closest large town (large town for Ireland, probably a village elsewhere), which meant I was pretty much limited to the boxed games and whatever random stuff they had.

I had started a Lizardman army with the 5th edition boxed set split with a school friend. And I really loved the idea of Terradon Riders, it just seemed super cool. But they did not have them. I saved my money from doing various jobs for relatives for months.

About once every 2-3 years we went to visit my Aunt in Dublin, and I had scoured White Dwarf to find the location of the GW in Dublin City Centre on Lower Liffey Street. The whole time we were there I was so excited to get to see the store.

When I got there it was bedlam, absolutely jam packed with people playing games, talking, listening to awesome heavy metal music. I was really overwhelmed as an introverted country boy. I looked around at all the awesome terrain (they had a whole crashed spaceship battlefield for 40K and so many cool painted armies) and made my way to the back where all the blisters hung. I found the terradons, 3 of them, and took the whole rack up to the till. I was timidly waiting in line, gawking at all the hobby happening around me when I heard a deep voice yell "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TERRADONS!?" I was terrified, thought I had done something wrong, as a very stressed GW manager was casting about for what he obviously expected to be a shoplifter making off with an entire row of expensive blisters.

Incredibly intimidated, I mutely held up the blisters, expecting to get in some sort of unspecified trouble. The guy breathed a huge sigh of relief and said "3 Terradons? You are mental!" and everyone laughed. I bought the minis with what to me was a huge amount of money, and scurried out of the shop red faced and baffled.

Made in gb
Princeps of the Emperor's Titan!

Genuinely? I don’t think I actually remember it all that well.

It was definitely the Edinburgh store, possibly around 1990 or 1991?

Main thing I remember from one early visit was the rejects box. Mispacked kits got lobbed in a cardboard box by the Till area (which like the store, is still exactly where it was). There was half a Landraider, which my parents, probably wisely, refused to give me the £5 to buy!

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives?Why not join us?

Made in us
Awesome Autarch

Dallas area, TX

My first time in an official GW store was somewhere in middle Tennessee. Can't remember where since I've moved to Texas and am now spoiled for LGS options.

But I do remember being a bit disappointed after my initial "OMG there's so many GW products in one place!" reaction.
I was disappointed by the lack of table space (just 2 tables and pretty much only for "display games" approved by the store manager) and lack of general "hang out" atmosphere.

I supposed I was spoiled by my LGS at the time which had tons of table space and as a result, you really could "hang out" and either play or just discuss the game.
It's basically the same at each GW store I've been too since (except maybe the Citadel in Grapevine, which is the 2nd largest GW, but it's still a bit of a drive for me).
In general, I just prefer traditional LGSs that don't exclusively sell GW product (even though I exclusively play 40K and no other games)
The atmosphere is just less restrictive at an LGS vs a GW store.


Made in gb
Pigeons in Flight

In my Austin Ambassador Y Reg

Mine was probably the Basingstoke store in the mid to late 90’s but I don’t remember it. If I am being honest, I have always felt GW stores to be deeply uncomfortable places.

=====Begin Dakka Geek Code=====
======End Dakka Geek Code======

Click here for retro Nintendo reviews

My Project Logs:
30K Death Guard, 30K Imperial Fists

Completed Armies so far (click to view Army Profile):
Made in us
Ship's Officer


First time was the Westminister battle bunker south of LA. It was like a nerd mecca or something. Lots of tables, dozens of people yelling waaaggghhhh!! every ten minutes. The employees were pretty friendly, this was back when you might see 2 or 3 working in there. I know GW is doing better financially now, but the usefulness or their stores isn't quite what it once was. Great for community building or recruiting new people, but as a place to actually play their range of games...meh.

Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut

Derby store, late 1980's IIRC, experience was good enough I was happy to go back.

first time I bought six metal Gretchin, wonderful little models, wish I still had them.

was the start of a looooooong addiction
Made in us
Drag on Society

Armpit of NY

Whenever the Ogre Kingdoms came out as a formal WFB army with plastic boxes was my first visit to an actual GW store (mid 2000s?). The store was at Carousel, now Destiny mall in Syracuse, NY. I bought some Ogre Kingdoms stuff; wasn’t terribly impressed; it was a hole in the wall type store. The store is long gone now; I think the closest actual GW to me is in Rochester. The manager at the GW store now runs another Syracuse comic and game shop.
Made in us
Rotting Sorcerer of Nurgle

Told this story several times on here, but why not once again. Circa 1997 me and my younger brother had been playing a prepainted game from Bluebird toys called Havok that sold loads of smaller packs in boosters too and we went into Woolworths to get our fix only to be told they were out of them. One of the staff there told us about a place called Games Workshop just down the road. So off we go into GW Loughborough and we start looking around in wonder. I'm immediately drawn to a blister that says "Chaos Terminator with Heavy Flamer" now, I had no idea what one was but 12yo me wanted to know more. I kinda thought I knew what a Terminator was with the films of the same name, which is probably what drew me to that model.

We are invited back the following Sunday to play in the beginners games by a nice chap called Dan, who looked like the stereotypical GW employee of the time. Long blonde hair, skinny and a goatee beard. I still remember him now. On the same day I pick up my first (GW) minis (I'd played other things like the aforementioned Havok and Legend of Zagor, so minis were not entirely foreign to me) of the 40k starter paint set and a Terminator Sergeant, because I had to a have a Terminator. Though I did go loyalists with my first army. That CSM Termie with the Heavy Flamer never was bought in the end. I can still remember those Sundays now with the soundtrack of Lithium or Princes of the Universe playing in the background as I took my first steps into 40k.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/06/17 21:21:49

A GW fan walks into a bar, buys the same drink as yesterday but pays more.

""Unite" is a human word, ... join me or die."

If you break apart my posts line by line I will not read them. 
Made in ca
Eternally-Stimulated Slaanesh Dreadnought


True story, an Australian once asked me for directions to 'Loogaborooga'.

He meant Loughborough.

The Fall of Kronstaat IV
Война Народная | Voyna Narodnaya | The People's War - 2,898pts painted (updated 18/09/19)
Волшебная Сказка | Volshebnaya Skazka | A Fairy Tale (updated 07/10/19, ep9 - Разорение | Razoreniye | Downfall)
Kabal of The Violet Heart (updated 18/09/19)

You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major who got pooh-poohed; made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cause it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment.
Made in us
Douglas Bader

GW didn't have any stores in my area until fairly recently, so going into a GW store for the first time mostly consisted of "yep, this is worse than the independent store I already go to" and feeling very little incentive to ever go back.

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
Made in au
Anti-Armour Swiss Guard

Newcastle, OZ

It would have been the original Hilton (hotel chain) arcade basement GW in Sydney (first store in the country). When the development approvals were submitted for the upgrades to the Hilton Hotel, the store moved to its current location, where it has stayed since.

I thought it was rather limited. Sure, it was a games store, but one devoted to only one company's stuff. The staff were friendly enough, but there just wasn't the appeal that the other stores had.

We had Tin Soldier and Mind Games a 5-10 minute walk in either direction with a larger range of stuff that appealed to more people, as well as the GW stock that the GW store had.

This is also coloured by the fact that I was a legal "adult" at the time, and not like so many of my gaming "peers" - a kid or a teen. I didn't discover gaming for myself until after I'd turned 18.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/06/18 08:48:28

I'm 50.
Old enough to know better, young enough to not give a ****.

That is not dead which can eternal lie ...

... and yet, with strange aeons, even death may die.
Made in gb
Jealous that Horus is Warmaster

My memory is hazy, very hazy, but I can remember in year 5 at primary school being made aware of this awesome game called wh40k and being mesmerized. Models, killing stuff, painted armies. I wanted it all. My mate had a couple fully painted armies, his dad was into it and his uncle worked for GW so he had a cheap source of stuff- but anyway. I wanted necrons.
The Loughborough store was a dingey place but I knew what I wsnted- a doom scythe. So I got a doom scythe and paints for it, helped along by the then manager who in retrospect wasn't too friendly but he did his job.
Left feeling joyous and built it that afternoon, and painted it after. It still sits on my shelf.

5 years on, I'm a teenager and I like to think I know what I'm doing with the hobby by now.

Made in gb
Wicked Warp Spider

A friend from secondary school year 7, when I was 11/12 circa 2001 introduced us to this thing called "Warhammer" I dint know what any of it was but he said to come down the store and have a look I think. Its all very hazy how it all began, but the first time in the store I will never forget.

It was the Southampton store, its still there. Remember the fresh smell of spray paint from the back room and the plastic glue like it was yesterday. Back then, they had a small table and chairs painting area by the door and two gaming tables set up. It had weekend days for kids to get into the hobby. You could sit down and use their glue and borrow paint etc. to paint whatever you bought. Not knowing anything about any of it, with the money I had saved up I got the starter paint set that came with a squad of marines and £5 pocket money leftover was enough to buy a single low tier blister pack.

I was drawn to "devastator with plasma cannon". I liked the idea of "dark angels" space marines and even more so the idea of Dark Angels devastator with plasma cannon immediately appealed to me. I spent the afternoon slapping Dark Angel Green & Boltgun Metal paint straight from the pot onto the miniatures I ramshackled together with obscene amounts of superglue.. I continued to do so at home. I was captured by an image of an awesome dark angel army doing battle.

Weirdly enough I went onto collecting Tyranids and later High Elves. Years later I'm back knowing a lot more and being able to afford a lot more with Eldar.
The vision of a dark angels army is still there somewhere. I think its a goal I don't want to reach maybe...

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/06/18 03:13:45

https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/772746.page#10378083 - My progress/failblog painting blog thingy

AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "
Made in gb
Moustache-twirling Princeps

We'll find out soon enough eh.

The older kid who looked after me as a wee kiddie while our mums got a night off to drink wine had a couple of shelves of models in his room. Dark Angels. I pestered the gak out of him about them until he explained the basic idea to me and that was me, I managed to get my gran to take me to Edinburgh GW later that week, this would have been around 1994, 95?

What's odd is I ended up doing the opposite of what I usually see people say was their intro to the hobby - I went in thinking about 40K, but it was WHF that caught my attention. I remember the staff, while a bit "enthusiastic", were great and showed me round the whole range to help me choose what to spend my pocket money on(they were also a bit ambitious, attempting to convince my gran it would be a good idea to start both systems at once, lol).

In the end I walked out with a box of the first version of plastic Empire Halberdiers, a White Dwarf, and a handful of paints & a brush.

Not been back to the store in years really, not since they got rid of the last real reason for me to go(getting Heresy paperbacks on launch day), but I understand Edinburgh was one of the few stores that got to keep several staff rather than being one-manned(despite the fact it's a sodding broom closet).

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/06/18 05:25:18

I need to acquire plastic Skavenslaves, can you help?
I have a blog now, evidently. Featuring the Alternative Mordheim Model Megalist.

"Your society's broken, so who should we blame? Should we blame the rich, powerful people who caused it? No, lets blame the people with no power and no money and those immigrants who don't even have the vote. Yea, it must be their fething fault." - Iain M Banks
"The language of modern British politics is meant to sound benign. But words do not mean what they seem to mean. 'Reform' actually means 'cut' or 'end'. 'Flexibility' really means 'exploit'. 'Prudence' really means 'don't invest'. And 'efficient'? That means whatever you want it to mean, usually 'cut'. All really mean 'keep wages low for the masses, taxes low for the rich, profits high for the corporations, and accept the decline in public services and amenities this will cause'." - Robin McAlpine from Common Weal 
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka

I can't remember, really - GW Glasgow on Queen Street with my mum, presumably (who'd actually been in before me, since I'd sent her in with a request for a Space Marine ). I still see the manager from back then (spotted from a distance, and he'll have no idea who I am) at various Scottish shows, although he's been exclusively historical for over a decade now, I think.

I do still remember the epic Rough Rider Blu-Tacked to the till, for some reason.

It took a few years (and the move to secondary school) for me to start going to the Thursday night games nights with a friend from school. Some of the oldest friends I still have regular contact with I met at those nights.
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist


I know. I try to put them off it by using a wide variety of minis for my games, but they get annoyed when things are not the "official" monster or do not have "official" stats in the monster manual.

What can you do? They are status obsessed teenagers.

Made in gb
Savage Khorne Berserker Biker

Southampton, UK

Pretty much mind-blowing.

Must have been about 1990-1992 .Went to the original Hammersmith store. Felt like a whole new world.

It appears to be a yoga studio now.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/06/18 16:49:55

Made in us
Scarab with a Cracked Shell


It was a few weeks ago actually. Was the local store in Orland Park, Illinois. Felt like a really happy and upbeat place, employees didn't push sales on me really, just was able to go in and buy my first set of skeletons.

Second experience was amazing as well. The place was full of kids my age, lot of em playing 40K but still, felt really nice knowing people my age will be there when I go in the future.

Overall 10/10 experience, and I hope I'll be able to watch a game of AoS there sometime in the next week.
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran

Back in the day … good experience. Rang the store beforehand - son and I went to beginners sunday group... good encouragement, not too pushy.. both still playing 20+ years later
Made in us
Willing Inquisitorial Excruciator

Lincolnton, N.C.

Concord Mills had just opened, me and my folks went and found GW, they were handing out these black brouchures with a little bit of 3rd ed. 40K stuff and background, and I forget which Warhammer ed. it was...the starter box was Bretronians and Lizardmen. Anyway, played a demo game with my dad, won with the Brets, Got a I think $15 dollar 4 pack of High Elves to paint, and they taught me in store how to paint, That Christmas of 2000 I had an Eldar battleforce box, the 3rd ed. rulebook and their codex... rest is history. The day that store closed was heartbreaking. Haven't found a close by 40K store I can regularly visit since.

My beloved 40K armies:
Furry Emperor's Children
Order of Saint Pan Thera

Made in au
Dakka Veteran

I had allready been in the hobby though friends and other things when i got to a GW for the first time. It was a older guy i talked to, that clearly i think was just doing it for something he loved. Since had so many random models in his personal box all painted up.
But was using a store army to teach and play games with, And my aunt ended up buying me a bunch of bretonian metals since she liked them the most.
I really did enjoy the army as well, and still have the metal models from back then for them Otheriwse it was fairly uneventful, it was in and out in about 40 mins as it was a bit busy for the two or 3 employees and i do not remember much more from way back then.
Forum Index » Dakka Discussions
Go to: