Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Hammer of War

I really have to stop saying “never.” I said I'd never write a blog – yet here I am, as I am almost every Sunday morning writing a blog. I said I'd never play World of Warcraft – I ended up addicted to it for a year and a half. And, of course, I said I'd never have a MySpace, Facebook or Twitter account, and yet I have all three! So, here's my latest never that's about to be trumped – I'll never play Warhammer. Yeah, right.

Now, I have good reasons to say that I'll never play Warhammer, or it's Sci-Fi cousin Warhammer 40,000 (or 40k for short). First of all, it's expensive as hell! Have you ever priced any of this stuff? The starter kit is $90! $90!? Really? For a friggin' tabletop game, that you have to put the damn pieces together yourself!? Fuck that! Then there's that – the having to put them together yourself. I mean, Axis & Allies was a fairly expensive board game at around $50, but at least the pieces were already together – we opened the box, read the rules and started playing right away. But not Warhammer; oh hell no. You have have put the models together and paint them first. WTF? Several years ago a friend of mine actually gave me a starter set for Warhammer: The Game of Fantasy Battles. He had won it or something. It seemed intriguing at the time, but then I found a hobby shop that sold the extra pieces for it and noticed the price of the stuff. It's like one part model building/painting mixed with one part collectible card game/deck building. You keep building and expanding your army. You buy more models, put them together, paint them, then find other people who've done the same and have table top battles.(1) I like the concept to be honest. Strategy, luck of the dice – I even like the model building and painting thing. But why in the hell do these things cost so much? I'm sorry, but no one is ever going to convince me these things are fairly priced. $90 for a box of little plastic models I have to paint and put together myself is pretty ridiculous. And yet, yesterday I went out and got paints and brushes so I could start painting the models I was given years ago.(2) I'm watching eBay for deals on 40k models so I can start building an army of Space Wolves. I've obtained the rulebook and codex for the 40k army I want to build so I can learn how to play. Truth be told, I'm more interested in the modeling part of the process than I am the game at this point, mainly because the only people I know who could teach me to play live hundreds of miles away, and one of them is even in a different time zone. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the relaxing hobby of building and painting models like I used to when I was a kid. And if I'm going to start building models, I might as well let it tie in to my normal gaming-geek nature and let those be war gaming models, I suppose.

~ JC

(1) To explain, in brief, for those to lazy to click on all the links I've provided and go read up on it for yourself – the starter kits are plenty for you to be able to play the game. But most people get into the hobby as a whole, that being the collecting, building and painting of the models and thereby being able to improve and expand one's army. The game uses a point system to keep things fair, so some guy who only owns, say 410 points worth of models (which is about what the starter box for the Space Wolves I plan to play is) isn't going to get crushed by the guy who owns 2000 points worth of models (like my best friend's Blood Angels army that he's built over several months). The guy with the 2000 would have to reduce his force proportionately so the match is fair.

(2) I don't really plan to play either of the armies that came in the Warhammer Fantasy set I have. I'm just going to paint them so I can practice painting miniatures. I haven't painted miniatures in almost a decade and a half (back then minis were just something we used as a visual aid for D&D and not an essential part of role playing – but that's another rant for another time)
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