Mike Hobbs – The Welsh Wizzard
As I write this, I am still reeling from the shocking news of the sudden death of Mike Hobbs, only a few days after his 55th birthday.
I first met Mike on the UK show circuit as he used to help on the trade stand for Musketeer Miniatures with his long time friend Bill Thornhill. I was introduced to him by our mutual friend Rich Jones, who was co-presenting the Meeples & Miniatures Podcast with me at the time.
I really got to know him after he was our guest on the show, discussing all things Saga, as Mike was a part of the playtesting team for that game. We quickly hit it off and became friends – even as I invited him to join the podcast as a presenter. He had a keen enthusiasm for the hobby, as well as a huge amount of knowledge and experience.
His contribution as a co-host on Meeples & Miniatures is there for all to hear from episode 85 until it’s end. Though he was always too modest to admit it, I maintained that he was the major factor in the success of the show. For many people, this is the Mike Hobbs they knew – quick witted, knowledgeable and endlessly enthusiastic.
But Mike was so much more than just a friend and a podcast host. He was a warm and generous man, always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others. He was involved in all manner of projects in the hobby – writing, playtesting or just simply passing on advice. He was easily approachable and always keen to help.
Mike and I shared a love of buying hobby ‘stuff’. He was the one that introduced me to the infamous ‘wobbly shelves’ at Firestorm Games, and was always willing to make just one more purchase “simply for research purposes, you understand“. We led each other astray on occasions too numerous to mention.
Those of us who were fortunate to meet him knew a guy who always had a warm smile and a greeting (and sometimes a hug), was always mindful and inclusive of people, loved gaming of all types, had a wicked sense of humour and was the perfect companion for a night of drinking beer and eating curry (amongst other culinary delights).
That mindfulness of people extended to mental health, and it was Mike’s idea for us to produce a podcast episode on that subject, and our own experiences with it, in an effort to promote more awareness of mental wellbeing. Indeed, it was his idea to start a regular ‘Paint and Chat’ session for a group of friends during COVID lockdown – both as a way of everyone keeping in touch with each other, but also to ensure that we had the opportunity to ensure that everyone was OK during a very stressful time.
When the podcast finished, we had always planned to spend much more time playing games together – something we had only managed to do on rare occasions previously. Sadly, thanks to COVID, that face-to-face gaming was cut short. Instead, Mike encouraged me back into the world of his other love – role playing games – something I hadn’t played in 30 years (excluding a certain ‘Meeples on the Edge’ adventure). We have spent the last year, with numerous friends, exploring all sorts of rpgs on a weekly basis. It has been a brilliant time.
The outpouring of love, sadness, shock and grief on the news of his death has shown just what an impact this man has had on the lives of so many people. Though he was small of stature, if size was measured on his effect on others, he would be a giant.
Mike was the most warm, kind and generous hearted person you could ever hope to meet. A true gentleman.
He was also my best friend. We supported each other through many ups and down – he was always there, ready to lend help, a kind word or the odd rebuke – or sometimes just an ear. The fact that I was the target of his wicked humour on a regular basis was actually a source of joy for both us. We just ‘clicked’ together, and were kindred spirits.
At this point, his loss is simply devastating.
The Welsh Wizzard has passed beyond the veil, and the world is a less magical, and slightly colder place. We are diminished by his leaving.
Rest in peace my greatest friend.
I think you have said it all Neil. Even those of us who never had the privilege of meeting him in person regarded him as a friend through listening to the Podcast and following him on Twitter
He is going to be sorely missed and my thoughts go out to his wife and those closest to him.
Oh no! I so much hate to hear this. 😦 As the other comment said, never met (either of you) in person, but listening to the show… Well… 😦
My deepest condolescenses to you and his family!
That is just dreadful news, Neil, I am so sorry. It was lovely to have a chat to him a few years back at a Joy of 6 show on top of the couple of occasions we had e-mailed – I found him exactly as you described him. Through your show together I am so glad that many of us got to hear a bit of his wit and wisdom over the years: that feels like it is worth something.
All the best to you at this difficult time.
Such a sad loss. My sincere condolences to you Neil and of course Mike’s family.
I never met Mike, but I wish I had. I spent hours listening to you two on the podcast and I felt like I knew you both. What a stunning, terrible loss. My condolences to you and Mike’s family.
Devastating news. So so sorry for all that knew and heard and appreciated Mike. grrr.
Shocking, saddening news. My thought go out to his family and to you.
A very moving testimony indeed. My sincere condolences.
Beautifully written, Neil. I still can’t believe this has happened. Mike Hobbs not being around is difficult to accept, and the immensity of his loss to loved ones is almost indescribable. Having corresponded with Mike a few times over the years, I knew only a little of him personally beyond what he shared with others on the podcast. But I always found him to be generous, funny, considerate and genuine. A truer friend I doubt you could hope to find. Thank you Mike for all your contributions to the hobby and to so many people – your loss is being felt far and wide.
RIP Mike. You were an absolute champion.
This is such sad news. My condolences to you and of course to Mike’s family. This is a moving tribute to your dear friend, Neil. I had the pleasure of an enjoyable meeting with Mike and you at Salute a few years back and always thoroughly enjoyed the Meeples and Miniature shows. We miss you Mike Hobbs!
Terrible news and such a shock. My condolences to you and his family, and indeed all that new him well.
Truly shocking news. I stumbled upon this checking up on blogs and had no idea. I never met him but really enjoyed both of you on the podcast, to the extent that if I made it back to Wales I would have to find him and get a game in.
I didn’t know Mike well. I think we met at Salute. We certainly exchanged bon mots on Twitter, and he was lovely to chat with.
We will all miss him. It’s good to allow yourself to grieve for that loss of your friend.
A moving and fitting tribute, Neil. I am so sorry for your loss. And for our loss. I understand Mike was married — I think a fund to help his widow could be very fitting. Not sure how that works in the UK, though.
Sad news indeed: Tempus Fugit, for all of us.
I feel like I knew him after hours of listening to him on the podcast. Very sad to hear of his passing. Praying for his family and friends, and you Neil, as you all are missing him.
Horrible news and so sad. I’d never met him but I had, for years, heard his voice pretty much every week or two through the meeples and miniatures podcast. Such a lovely person and such a sad loss.
Good words Mr Shuck
What a punch in the gut. The pain and loss that most of us feel – who didn’t even get to meet Mike in person – will fade into insignificance beside that of those friends and family who knew him well. May that ease in time.
I am absolutely shocked and deeply saddened by this. I just heard the news from the WSS podcast. I have never met Mike being over here in the US but considered him a kindred spirit. I have missed you guys since the podcast went on hiatus. So sad to lose a friend. Thoughts and prayers!!!!
Really saddened to hear this today, though I only know either of you through the podcast. So much given to the listeners by Mike.
The saddest of news. It was a pleasure to listen to you both for countless hours.
My heartfelt condolences to family and friends.
A special word of appreciation to you Neil for having made the magic of meeples and miniatures a reality. You were both hobby wizards. Please stay strong in this most difficult of times.
always happy, Mike was a joy to talk to and his enthusiasm was unbounded. Just a really nice fella, he will be missed
I am so sorry for your loss. For years I listened to the both of you on my your podcast. This was during a very tough time in my life. The joy, enthusiasm, and kindness you brought with your podcast was and is a bright beacon that helped me keep going. I have never met you Neil or
Mike in person, but your podcast made you into unmet friends. Thank you. Mike my have moved on to whatever is next; I will always remember the sound of his voice and the smiles his humor brought me. Thank you.