Tag Archives: Warhammer

Growing up Without the Grimdark

Space HulkI won a copy of Space Hulk a couple of weeks ago from the good folks at Den of Imagination, a company that does custom painting of miniature models for war games, etc. As you can see from the picture, I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing because I wouldn’t have bought it for myself.

Space Hulk is a game by the folks that make Warhammer 40,000, a game that I would really like to play, but thus far have been unable to justify the cost of the models, rules, paint, and basically everything else that goes along with the hobby. I’m an RPG player, and coming from the RPG world, where I can buy a set of dice and a rulebook and go from there, the cost of getting into the miniature war gaming hobby is kind of staggering. I’m sure there are ways around the massive gulf that separates me from playing the games, but I haven’t found it yet.

I play other games in the 40K universe, though. I play Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, Death Angel, and Dark Heresy. I’ve played the Dawn of War and Space Hulk video games. (I don’t read the books anymore, though; those are depressing.)

Dark VengeanceThis is the weird dilemma of being an adult geek with actual responsibilities; I’m an adult and can basically do whatever I want… but I don’t. I look at that sweet Dark Vengeance starter set, and I just can’t justify the $100 price tag. And that’s just the cost before paint, glue, etc. And the time cost involved with getting everything the way you want it. And then you’ll want to expand your armies with more models. Or buy new armies. The cost just balloons. I start thinking about groceries or that the car needs tires, and I don’t pull the trigger on the purchase.

Maybe I just don’t want to try it as much as I say I do. I could probably save up a few bones over time. I could go nuts with my Gen Con money; I just don’t. Maybe my buying power is limited only by what I can justify to myself? I have no idea.

I also always end up considering how terrible a company Games Workshop seems to be. Prices are much higher on the books and models than they were when I was in high school more than a decade ago. Has the cost of casting models risen that much? Did they just do it to make a quick profit? Probably.

The contradiction? I’ve spent a lot of money on the X-Wing Miniatures Game, so that leads me to believe that maybe I just don’t have the time or inclination to put the Warhammer models together.

This is a weird, rambling blog post. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my criteria for purchasing something has changed quite a bit since I was a teen with lots of disposable income. I have a lot of responsibilities now, and one of those responsibilities is using my money wisely. And right now, Warhammer just wouldn’t be a wise purchase for me.

Well, other than the paint and accessories I need to paint my Space Hulk figures.

 

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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Warhammer_fantasy_roleplay_coverI needed a roleplaying game to play while a portion of my main group is off doing some real life important stuff, so I pulled out an old favorite of mine: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (2nd Edition).

My history with Warhammer is a lengthy one. I’ve never played the tabletop wargame (though, I wish I could. I’m just too cheap), but I’ve read many of the books. John asked me one day to come play the game with him and some of his friends, and I fell in love with the system.

It’s just so simple. The mechanic is percentile dice. Roll 2 d10s (or a d100 if you are a snob), and try to roll lower than the number on your character sheet plus modifiers.

It’s easy, but it has so much depth. There are, literally, dozens of careers for your character, all with different abilities and skills. They even have a system where you can randomize EVERYTHING about your character, even down to distinguishing marks (like a bald spot or a snaggle tooth).

I ran a small group of just two characters. They decided to play dwarves, and our journey into the grim world of dark fantasy began.

Dark fantasy. Did I mention how dark the game can be? The setting is a gloomy one, for sure. Think of middle-earth and Grimm’s fairy tales/Hans Christian Anderson’s tales had a baby… but then throw in every superstition you can think of from the middle ages and make it real… and that’s basically Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Your character will probably die a horrible death… but it’s the adventure that counts, right? Not the ending.

As a DM, this setting gives me a lot of opportunities not to screw over my players, per se, but to bait them using common roleplaying fantasy tropes. For instance, I gave the dwarves a magic sword that they needed to present to the dwarven king in order to save their town. They were explicitly told NOT TO USE THE SWORD, but RPGers being RPGers, they used the sword.

Which disintegrated their enemies, but also turned to dust. So now they have no magic sword to present to the dwarven king in order to save their town. Should be fun seeing how they pull this little caper off. I’ll keep you updated.

If you can find a copy of WFRP 2nd edition, pick it up! It’s really great.

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The Games Workshop Store

WarhammerI’m a fan of both Warhammer universes; though, I’ve never had the money to play the too-expensive-for-my-tastes wargame, I’ve played most of the video games, I own all three editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and I received as a gift literally all the Warhammer 40,000: Dark Heresy roleplaying books. So, when I (finally) had a chance to check out the Games Workshop store in Rockford, IL, I jumped at the opportunity.

As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a nice man who ran the store. I wish I could remember his name. (I’m terrible at names. Seriously. I once misspoke my wife’s name when introducing her to a large group of people. It was very embarrassing.) I mentioned my love of all things Warhammer and that I would one day like to play the wargame. He immediately began showing me the starter products and left me alone for a bit to handle other customers.

In the store, various games were going on. I saw a Warhammer 40,000 game going on. I’m pretty sure some Space Marines were battling the forces of Chaos, but I didn’t pay very close attention. I was too busy lusting over Ork army pieces and the new The Hobbit wargame sets (I had just seen the movie and was (still am) very excited about it).

The store employee (Steve? Andrew?), approached me a few minutes later and asked if I wanted a FREE paint lesson that comes with a FREE mini war-figurine. I’m a big fan of free. I picked out a dwarf figure (because dwarves are awesome, and I was still obsessing over The Hobbit), and learned proper painting techniques.

What I got painted of my dwarf looked pretty decent, if I do say so myself.

The employee then played a simplified game of Warhammer 40,000 with me. It was very simplified, but I love rolling dice, so it was fine. The employee asked me if I wanted to buy the set… I did. But, being a guy with two kids and no space to store all the cool stuff, it’s simply too hard to justify the price for plastic figurines (and doesn’t include the paint).

It’s really odd to me that a wargaming store with basically one product can exist. I’m glad it can, and I wish I could support it, but I find it interesting that such a niche store can operate, even if it is VERY small.

Now, let me tell you the horror part of the story.

First, a little background. I’m allergic to a lot of things. And I break out in terrible, itchy hives whenever something sets the old immune system to “crazy.”

After painting the miniature, I broke out in hives.

I’m allergic to the paint.

Meaning, that if I ever wanted to actually start playing Warhammer, I couldn’t paint my own stuff.

And that’s half the fun. I’m allergic to a game. A guy that loves games gets all itchy and bumpy thanks to a game. Ironic terror.

Sad panda.

 

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