HOW about this for a game of soldiers?
Chris Murdoch is turning his childhood passion into a full-time career with the opening of his Sheffield city centre gaming shop.
The 23-year-old former High Storrs pupil is hoping The Outpost will become a mecca for fans hooked on epic war games like Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
He and his partner, Emily McGeoch, also 23, have put in £25,000 of their own funds plus a loan of £25,000 to make their Furnival Gate venture a reality.
The shop is the culmination of a hobby Chris first became fascinated with at the age of just six.
“The games are complex, like an advanced version of chess combined with Risk,” he said.
“There are societies out there, massive gaming communities.”
Games are played with small 28mm soldiers but the accompanying models and vehicles are more expensive to collect.
The players themselves paint their own liveries.
The smallest cost around £4 each but the larger, more intricate models which can be 3-feet-high can sell for as much as £500.
When Chris sold off his original collection of 700 to 800 pieces during a period when he was out of work, it went for £3,500. He estimates he’s spent £10,000 on the games over the years.
“The place we’ve moved into has been empty for four years and it’s big – it has three floors and we are going to make one of those a dedicated gaming area for people to come and play,” said Chris, who lives in Greystones.
“I feel there’s a gap in the market for a proper specialised shop for the big games systems and there aren’t many places locally for fans to play. I have strong ties with the gaming community so I know what they are after.”
Chris said gamers could be as young as 12 or in their 70s – but admitted that 95 per cent of players were male.
“I’ve run sessions at youth clubs to spread the word. So many activities these days are online but these games help develop social skills as well as maths and literacy,” he added.