its been ten years since I left Games Workshop, after a decade in the front line of the Hobby Stores. I loved that hobby as much as anyone and was lucky enough to paint and play for a living. Since that day, I haven’t played a single game of Warhammer.
The reason is simple and nothing to do with bitterness or sour grapes. It’s because I’m one of the very few in my circle of friends who has the necessary kit to actually play a game. I have (had, thanks to eBay) a good half dozen full sized armies, boxes of terrain, and all the gubbins. None of that matters when you have limited time, limited space and mates who put minis gaming only somewhere in their list of cool pastimes. So it all got sold off, with few regrets actually. I occasionally got my paints out, and did a few bits and pieces (Freebooters Fate mostly) but not much.
Last year I looked at getting back into wargames properly. I checked out the options, which were legion, and decided to see what GW had been up to in my absence. The End Times was en route, and looked cool, but a bit impenetrable, even to my veteran eyes. I nipped into my local shop and picked up the Island of Blood boxed set, which made the assistant raise his eyes a little as he explained it was all about to blow up. Heh, I remember having to stay current all the time. Don’t miss that. I went home and busily painted up loads of Skaven, loved doing it, then put hem back in the box and that was that.
Until Age of Sigmar. Turns out GW really meant it with the End Times. The Warhammer World is no more, and neither is the traditional game. The new one is different. The rules are freely downloadable and they run to four pages. I shit you not. The army lists are also free, and they are different. They don’t have points values, and they do have comedy abilities. You’ll either laugh or cry when you read them. Suffice to say, I have a lot of old friends and colleagues who are snapping their brushes and burning their templates.
But I’m interested again, and crucially, so are my mates. If we can can just bring our collections to the table and just make something up at the table, then the chances of us actually playing the game are suddenly real. There’s every chance that my Skaven are going to come out of their box, throw away their movement trays and get busy with whatever Steve and Dan can scrounge up. Trust me, that would never have happened with the ‘old’ game.
I’ve heard backseat commentators talk about how GW are targeting the kids demographic with this. They said that about everything post Terror of the Lichemaster. That’s never been the case. GW target everyone who is interested, age being nothing but a number. They don’t do demographics, but if they did they found a new one with people like me, 40s dad with a wallet, a passion and a memory of fun times over a green board.