When did we lose sight of the game?

Now that I’ve got more of my old gaming things out on display, I’ve been spending some time flicking through the various rule books and looking at the miniatures and it strikes me that something has changed. The game has gone. The fun has gone.

I’ve got the new Warhammer 40k 6th edition rulebook and I’ve got the 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rulebook. At some point in the last 20 odd years something has changed.

Now, I’m not stupid. I know this change has happened. I’ve picked up enough from various podcasts and blogs and I can see with my own eyes how much Games Workshop has changed. But it really makes me sad that money has taken over what should be an enjoyable hobby. The old books included cardboard representations of units and special weapons for you to cut out, copy and use in battle. The Blood Bowl Companion book includes various templates and even includes a +2 bonus if y0ur cheerleader models are painted. This to me says that the important thing was to play the game, not buy the models. The best 40k or Fantasy Battle player shouldn’t be the one that can afford to buy and paint the best models or afford the most Codex supplements. In part that’s why I love Blood Bowl and why I think it is perfect. I need a minimum of 11 miniatures up to a maximum of 16. The rules are simple, I don’t need special terrain or carry cases to carry flyers. This isn’t about Blood Bowl though it’s the principle of gaming. Right back to D&D where you didn’t even need minis – the rules, a few dice, paper, pencil and you were away. I’m starting to explore the brave new world of tabletop, card and roleplaying games in the hope of finding some new loves. I know they are out there.

I don’t know when this change happened, but I know it’s not one that has made this a better world. I wonder how the original designers of these games must really feel now…deep down. Not in the glossy brochure that is White Dwarf. Looking at the pictures of them in the old rule books these are not people that needed miniatures to have a good time with tabletop games. The game is in the skill and imagination of the players.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle rule book

Warhammer Fantasy Battle rule book

Warhammer Fantasy Battle cut outs

Warhammer Fantasy Battle cut outs

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40K anyone?

When I was a kid I played Warhammer (Fantasy) a little bit. We had a halfsized snooker table in one room in the house and my brother and I used to put a bit of chipboard on top and make hills out of foam for our battle scenes. I think there was a lot of Orcs vs Elves; but based on my digging in the old toy cupboard not a lot survived. 

We didn’t really ever get into 40K, although my brother did collect a few of the models. The closest I got to 40K was Space Marine. I think it’s just called Epic now. Something about that game really grabbed me and I used to play it with a friend quite a lot. 

I was looking over the gaming club’s forums and 40K seemed to be played quite a lot so I thought I’d investigate. I’ve just got myself a rulebook and will read it a few times before committing myself to collecting a new army. I’m not as enthused about it as I am about Blood Bowl. Time and money are massive drawbacks for me and 40K at the moment. I’ll keep it ticking along in the background I think. Warhammer is an altogether more serious game than Blood Bowl!