I’m not talking about the MMO here but rather the tabletop strategy game. There’s been a few posts recently on Warhammer online(WaR) with some people wondering about what the strategy game was about. Since there’s also a Warhammer 40k MMO in the works and the fact I’m a crazy Warhammer fan plus I’ve worked in a hobby shop before I tought I’d write this for all those wondering about us strange people playing with toy soldiers.
The very basics
Let’s get some basics out-of-the-way first. There’s two main strategy games with the Warhammer name out there, Warhammer Fantasy Battles(Fantasy for short) and Warhammer 40k (WH40k). Both use the same basics systems(stats) and some miniatures (demons) can even be used in both systems. The main differences between the two are setting(medieval and Sci-fi) and how the game is played. So when talking about Warhammer, I’m talking about the hobby in general.
Warhammer is first and foremost a hobby with both a miniature and game aspect. Most Warhammer players will favor one aspect over the other but people who stick with the hobby enjoy both aspect of it. For example, I prefer playing the game but I will take the time to assemble and paint my minis. A friend of mine will only assemble them and another is mainly a painter with a few games here and there. Still, we all participate in every aspect of the hobby.
Second, Warhammer is not cheap. This is why I say to people wanting to start that you must participate in the full hobby and not only parts of it. A starter army will cost anywhere between 200-300$(Canadian) and it’s not uncommon to spend close to a 1000$ on a single army once everything is added up. You obviously don’t want that money wasted.
Finally Warhammer is a social activity. Just like MMOs there’s an active community out there that loves to talk about and debate the game ad nauseum. Tournaments are fun places to be and it’s not unusual for local communities to meet up after games for beer, food or any other kind of activity. Where I live the local Warhammer group has a good Paintball team going on. This aspect is why you see full-grown men and women play with toy soldiers.
It all looks so incredibly complicated…
To be honest it is and it’s not. The actual game of warhammer is actually pretty simple to grasp when you get down to it. You can play one or two turns and you would already know how to play 95% of the game. The last 5% is special armies rules and special situations that you can learn pretty fast. But just like MMOs, the real learning is all about tactics, army building and trying out new strategies. What makes the game so much fun is that you never play the same game twice.
So why exactly spend a 1000$ to play with toy soldiers
Well like so many geek things there’s no real reason to. There’s something about seeing a fully painted army and play at being the general that appeals to some people, myself included. It’s just like asking “why spend 4 nights a week in front of your computer to earn pixels?”. The simplest answer is “because I enjoy doing it”.