Ah, Games Workshop. What other hobby requires you to be an expert modeller, painter, scenery builder and military tactician? Sure, it’s an expensive hobby, but so is knitting, when you start using the mermaid bumfluff yarn almost exclusively!
My introduction to the world of Games Workshop came when I was at university, with their offshoot board game Bloodbowl. Imagine American football, but with teams made up of orcs, goblins, dwarves or elves instead of men, where beating up your opponents is just as important as scoring touchdowns. As far as monetary outlay goes, it’s by far the cheapest way into the hobby, as a team consists of 16 models maximum. The rules are simple, so it’s really easy to get the hang of it. The tactics involved are not complicated.
A few years ago Jamie and I made a conscious decision to play more Bloodbowl, and we approached the hobby with the usual enthusiasm of people starting something new and exciting. We bought loads of miniatures (not quite every single possible team, but a majority of them) and got painting.
Of course, once we’d been sucked into the Games Workshop world, there was no escape. We soon fell into collecting Warhammer Fantasy armies, and learned the basic rules of their fantasy battle system. We didn’t approach the painting of these armies with quite the same level of enthusiasm, though, as compared to a small Bloodbowl team of sixteen, a horde army with over 150 individual models is quite another challenge! We are slowly getting through them, but we did make the mistake of choosing the three armies with the largest number of models in them – Empire, Orcs and Goblins, and Tomb Kings. We are also now collecting Warriors of Chaos and Daemons of Chaos armies.
Jamie had played Warhammer 40,000 as a kid, so had some models hanging about already, which led to us also starting to collect 40k models too. This is the sci-fi side of things, where the armies are smaller in number, but each model is more intricate as they have crazy power armour and guns, and much bigger vehicles like tanks. So we fell into collecting and painting a few armies for this game, Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Tyrannids and Space Orks. So far, I haven’t painted a single 40k miniature, as Jamie has been experimenting with painting and dipping techniques, using my Space Marines as a test army. He’s doing such a good job, I’m going to let him paint the whole lot!
We have also turned our hand to making scenery for the battlefields. So far, we’ve made one hill. But I am part way through a river section, and we have made many extensive plans for other types of scenery, for both the fantasy game and the 40k game.
One day we'll actually get around to playing with it all!