RPGs are my first love. Not close behind is miniatures Wargaming though. I haven’t actively done anything with them in a decade, but that doesn’t stop me being a fan. (Not entirely the case, I had a decent sized Warmachine force for a while, but sold that off ages ago). One thing both hobbies share is the solo fun element of prepping, fiddling and general potting about with stuff. As my RPG faves are less prep intensive these days I’ve found I want something else to actually do of a cold dark evening. So, back to minis!
Turns out the other thing the two strands have in common is a serious lack of easy on ramps and explanations, especially online. Back when I played minis seriously the Internet was only just getting started. I genuinely thought that by now the net would have picked up the slack and really been a resource for learning about all the options and how best to get started. Nope. After a few nights browsing, I was only getting frustrated at the companies and their store fronts. I looked at Carnevale, Malifaux, WarmaHordes, Mantic, Infinity and others. All looked great, with some stunning minis, but very few sites were newbie friendly. I actually turned to Wikipedia to find out the basics of the setting and system.
Sigh. So I went back to basics. I turned to Games Workshop. I visited a couple of stores, ones I used to manage back in the nineties funnily enough. I knew the staff, and they recognised me even after all this time. I got a guided tour, and a bit of recent history. I noticed some eye watering price rises (last time I saw clippers they were overpriced at £6. Now they’re £18! I was assured they were “very good clippers though”. They’d need to be!). It was nice to be back among the boxes (no blisters) the tables and the brands I knew of old. I stumped up for Island of Blood and off I went, happy as Larry.
You see, at the end of the day, there are loads of folk making fine minis, and no doubt with some fine systems. But GW make it easy. They know how to take my money and send me off with a big old box of hobby goodness. I’m not married to them any more, and I won’t be entering tournaments any time soon. But as long as there are rainy Sunday’s I’ll be making and painting toy soldiers and dreaming of battles.