A Rant About Games Workshop Fans (or are they?)

The internet is a wonderful place at times and there are some amazing communities covering all areas, especially Warhammer. Sadly amongst these great communities there are many negative (toxic) people who’s life long struggle is to whinge and moan about a topic they are supposedly a huge fan of.

Games Workshop have made mistakes in the past, huge mistakes. There was a period of time where they actually shut themselves down, deleting all social media accounts and seemingly focusing on nothing but sales. They changed their magazines to essentially regular catalogues and seemingly ignored any customer interaction at all. In some ways you can’t blame them. Prior to this they had forums on their website which were nothing more than a toxic minefield of ‘fans’ complaining which they moderated. The depressing comments and whinges would be enough to put anyone off having an open system.

So what were people complaining about? Exactly the same things as today. When’s my army coming out? Why’s this so expensive? This isn’t fair… that isn’t fair… it was better when… why don’t you… whinge whinge whinge. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to an opinion and we can all state our opinion but if your a fan of a system why be so negative about it?

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Some people seem to have the opinion that Games Workshop is the enemy. They are out to drain our bank accounts but do so with little or no care to the customer what’s so ever. You see this with comments with people saying their not surprised at certain actions or stating that the company doesn’t care. Now, lets look at the company. Yes its essentially governed by shareholders all chomping for their pennies at year end however its run by hobby fans. The bare bones are a core team of people who are trying there hardest to make rules and models that people will love. They don’t want us to hate them, they want us to enjoy their products and buy more of them. The sculptors are working hard creating models they hope we will love, and they arnt always successful however they are trying. Whilst its all fair to state you don’t like a model, fans tend to go way over the top on disliking it. The writers are creating fiction and rules that they hope will work within the game and sell models and trying to balance this at the same time. Mistakes are made yes and whilst the company was slow to act on these in the past, they are now much quicker. Imagine trying to balance a system with so many units, armies and rules as well as keeping it fun to play, fit within the lore and have all the armies feel different.

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I think what annoys me is not people who complain about certain rules or models, but those that complain with an anger and hate towards the company. If you feel like they why play their games? Why join fan groups? If you hate the company and what it does stop giving them money and go and play a different game as if the only enjoyment you get is moaning to people who do enjoy the games well, we don’t want you in what is a great community. I will say this, there is under all moaning a great community of gamers who enjoy the games they play and really this is what we should focus on. Until next time…

Edit: I just want to add after numerous comments that I’m not sitting here stating we have no right to moan and should just buy all the products. You have the right to feedback, say what you enjoy or don’t enjoy and criticise this company and any other. That’s very different from the hate that I’m discussing here. Very different. I even took out the word ‘toxic’ as someone stated that wasn’t a good word to use. I actually disagree now. The people who I’m discussing here are toxic and it happens in all forms of fandom sadly. The internet is mainly to blame for giving faceless people a platform but unfortunately it ruins it for others as they spout their pointless hateful drivel to all. There, rant over…

A look back at Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition

After yesterdays tournament look back, it generated a lot of chatter about Warhammer 8th edition so I thought I’d look back at the game and look at the good and bad points of this edition. The group of people that played the game were generally great fun and whilst many had a serious side to playing, at the end of the day they wanted to have fun and that was what mattered.

The game itself however was certainly far from balanced and was never intended as a tournament style game. The game in its basic form revolved around movement of units and pre planning to ensure your units could be at certain places doing certain actions to ensure the goal was met. Usually this meant your main unit being able to charge first against your opponents main unit and so have the upper hand.

The difference to most modern wargames was the rank and file setup of your army. Most units were packed together in a square/rectangle formation getting bonuses depending how wide and deep they were. Some units, such as orcs, were designed to have up to 40 models in a formation charging forward never running away and getting extra dice in close combat. Others such as high elves, were better in smaller units as they always fought first and could whittle down any opponents close up.

You also had ranged attacks from archers or huge war machines such as the Empires cannons or the skaven’s warp lighting cannon. Some of these were exceptionally powerful, and often a bit too powerful, which was my first frustration. Monsters in 8th edition looked amazing and I loved having a huge beast on the battlefield. Cannons and other similar machines made them pointless however as a cannon or two could destroy a monster very quickly. Whilst it made sense, it didn’t make it fun and so it stopped the use of monsters. Exceptions to this were the Dark Elf Hydra as it had invulnerable saves against such machines, or dragons that could fly and get into combat quickly.

Dwarf cannon

Movement was the biggest difference between this game and others such as Warhammer 40k. Because the units were in block formations they had to wheel and move so couldn’t just turn on the spot (well they could with some dice roles, but lets not go into the finer details). This made the game particularly tactical as you had to consider this when planning charges, moving round terrain or lining up to shoot. It did however allow some very gamey moves such as being able to put a small cheap unit at an angle in front of a big unit forcing them to either charge that unit, sending them off out of the way or sit there for a turn and do nothing. It didn’t make sense but it was so powerful most people used this. It was so frustrating and could ruin games very easily and suck a little bit of fun out of it. I still used this tactic however ill admit, but I wish it hadn’t of existed.

Magic.. oh magic. Magic was a vital part of playing Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition. You as the caster would roll two dice and the number would be your dice pool for casting. Your opponent would roll one dice and that would be their dispel amount of dice. Each spell had a value ranging from a small so one dice roll could achieve it (say a 5) to vast that requires multiple dice to roll for it. Obviously the higher the role required generally the more deadly the spell. Some spells made your units better and tougher, others could destroy a unit outright.

Ok so I’m going to moan here about some of the spells as they made for some annoying games. If you rolled a double 6 when casting a spell the opponent could block it in any way. Some spells were so over to top that successfully casting could mean the death of a whole unit. An example was purple sun, which created a template that passed over a unit a random length. Each model in that unit took an initiative test and if failed they were destroyed. Some units had to roll either a 1 or a 2 meaning that death for the majority of the unit was inevitable and it didn’t matter how many wounds they had each. Dead! This made the game sometimes all abut whether the wizard could get a spell off or not by rolling 6 dice. Again, I used this trick so shouldn’t moan, but some spells were just too powerful.

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I had to laugh many times however as a roll of a double 6 or double 1 did mean that your wizard could blow themselves up and out of the game. This was such a funny part that whilst annoying when you did loose your wizard, it was so cinematic it was worth it. The games were wizards blew up are the ones I remember the most. I blew many wizards up!

Something Games Workshop still struggle with to this day is power creep, and 8th edition certainly had its fair share of this. When a new army comes out they obviously want it to sell well and so the rules tend to be particularly good for them. A good example of this would be Ogre Kingdoms which came out late in the life span of 8th edition. They had a unit, the mournfang’s, that were deadly and could wipe out most units in a charge and were tough enough to withstand most fire power (maybe not cannons or purple suns). This happened often and whilst it changed the meta and made people change their lists, sometimes it was frustrating. I don’t however feel this will ever change, as the Iron Hands for 40k have shown us, but at least Games Workshop are a lot quicker to try and fix issues such as this now (maybe too quick, but that’s another complaint not for today).

Overall however I enjoyed 8th edition Warhammer fantasy. Games Workshop eventually destroyed the whole system which created Age of Sigmar. The biggest issue with this was that they now expected models to have round bases instead of square and the game played much more like 40k than what we all loved. The game has gone on to be a great game in its own right but it dispersed the community who went on and found their own games. I eventually landed back on 40k, which I started my gaming on, and others have stuck with AOS but it does feel like the old days will never come back.

I sound old don’t I? Until next time…

Warhammer Tournaments

Whilst sat here in lockdown I began to think about what we aren’t allowed to do currently. In regards to gaming this generally means meeting with friends and playing games which seriously sucks. I then began to meander my mind back to simpler times, when models came on square bases and magic blew up my wizard multiple times. These were the times of Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition. In particular I was remembering the fun times I had at tournaments with this game and my gaming club, The North West Warriors.

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Richard, myself (pre beard) and Paul at Warhammer World

My first tournament (I think) was down in the mighty Warhammer World in Nottingham, UK. This place is a shrine to Warhammer and a place every fan must visit once in their life. The tables are great, it has a forge world shop which is just too tempting and an awesome bar with some amazing food. I can heartily recommend the burgers as well as a pint of Bugman’s Ale on the side.

The Warriors are a group of fine people who whilst enjoying rolling dice, also enjoy the odd tipple or too on the side. I was well aware of this before venturing to this tournament and planned to have the Saturday night as a big old booze up of a night. This however was unstuck on the Friday night. You see I thought I could drink and so drank… and drank.. and drank. My first ever Warhammer tournament on the Saturday began with me spending copious amounts of time over a toilet bowl. Lets just say the Saturday night wasn’t as ‘large’.

Tournaments continued and I went to Warhammer World again for another A Gathering of Might. I believe if I remember rightly the bar tab on the Saturday night of this event was the highest Warhammer World had ever had. We also somehow managed to break a sofa when someone said a certain word (I’m not even going to go into that on here for the fear of being crushed by many sweaty men) and fun and frolics were certainly had. As far as how I placed in both these events, well we don’t discuss that. Its all the dice’s fault ok, not mine, the dice.

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TuTu at Stockport!

A Gathering of Might tournament moved to Stockport as Warhammer World changed how they ran things. The Stockport Gaming Centre, at the time, was truly a vile run down place however it had a few specific things ideal for a group of mainly sweaty men to role dice. This being wargaming tables, terrain and a bar (well a means to sell beer). I stupidly around this time came up with a wonderous idea that whomever was doing the worse in the tournament between myself and my friend Paul would have to wear a TuTu. I think secretly I just wanted to wear this wonderful piece of clothing, either that or I assumed I’d always beat him. The centre itself had some of the filthiest toilets ever witnessed by mankind but it did the job and we played a fair few tournaments here. They have since improved as Element Games took over the running.

We even had a stag do at one of the events. Richard was getting married and what better way to have a stag do than during a weekend tournament. I devised a cunning get up for him to wear (full on yellow to stand out) as well as a table of consequences for him during games. If he rolled specific dice rolls or his army did certain things he would have to drink shots supplied by Paul. His early games started off very slowly and he began to show off that he didn’t have to drink. Things changed however and by 6pm he was in bed. He didn’t stay there for to long as he was dragged out later on the continue the party in a sticky floored nightclub.

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Richard in full stag do gear

I sit here writing this on a chilly but nice Sunday morning and think back to how lucky I have been to of had these weekends. Yes there silly and yes childish but we all need this in our lives. We have to keep smiling and enjoying life no matter what it throws at us. I must also admit how lucky I am to of found such a stupid bunch of wargamers who enjoy similar things and continue to roll dice, enjoy the odd pint and generally know how to let their hair down.

I haven’t played in a  tournament for a few years now mainly due to the death of Warhammer Fantasy however I hope once the world is free again, that this will change. I intend to pull out the Iron Hands and march forward to slay, drink and generally fail at rolling dice. Until next time…