Beyond the Battlefield
“Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.”
The universe of Warhammer 40,000 is not a nice place to live. These words have been etched into the minds of every gamer since its initial release all the way back in 1987, and it still captivates the minds of many. With the release of The Gathering Storm, Warhammer’s recent plot advancement, The Geekery has recenty started carrying 40k product in store again, and I figured this would be a great time to talk about why people love Warhammer, and wargaming in general.
Wargaming is very atypical to most board games out today, games like Smash Up, Shadows Over Camelot and Bang! which come with everything people need to play in the box, wargames require assembly and painting to play, and that’s only for one person! While for those just getting into the hobby this might seem like a monumental task, especially if you compare yourself to veterans of the hobby, it can also be extremely rewarding! I’ve always viewed the hobby aspect as a way to express myself creatively, but also to immerse myself in the hobby when I otherwise wouldn’t be in a position to play. Even if you just find youself hanging out at home, there’s still something to work on or improve in the eternal drive for perfection.
Part of what makes wargaming so appealing is the customization, whether it’s the individual models of “your dudes” of simply how you want to play your army, it allows a wide array of personalization. In a game like Warmachine you could say something like, “I want to play an army using a lot of stompy robots,” and have a very large pool of options for factions and units. While most boxed games can leave you with a shortage of options, with wargaming you can find yourself with much broader horizons.
It’s a unique amalgamation of artistic and strategic thinking, flexing both sides of the brain for mutual benefit. It’s part of the reason why I feel it has such a wide appeal, it draws in gamers who want a story to tell, where the act of creating is enough but playing is the icing on the cake. Then you have the technical thinkers, who view the pieces as just that, pieces to a puzzle they need to solve.
Wargaming is both an oddity and a wonder, it takes from many aspects of tabletop gaming and creates something entirely new and special. Mixing the creativity and player freedom of a game like Dungeons & Dragons and smashing it together with the strategic acumen of games like chess, you create something exceptionally special. It may take a bit more effort on the individual, but the nature of the game gives you plenty of time. Wargaming is wonderful and It’s the kind of thing I think everyone should try, at least once.