It’s a household name. You have heard of it; we’re sure of that. But just in case you haven’t, we’ve prepared this introduction.
Warhammer is a tabletop miniature wargame published by Games Workshop in 1983. Set in a medieval fantasy world, the game pits two or more players and their armies against each other on an often customized and player-designed battlefield similar to something you might have seen your grandparents’ or great grandparents’ run trains on long ago.
Warhammer has become so incredibly popular that it has spun off other games, video games, novels, and much more. By 1987, a new version of the game was released, called Warhammer 40,000 and unlike the original game, this one was set in the distant future and was sci-fi themed.
We could write a book about Warhammer (many others have) but let’s first start with this quick article.
Is the fun in the creative details?
Warhammer players enjoy designing the game’s battlefields. The terrain is often set up on a large table (the standard size is 6 feet by 4 feet) and made of a layer of faux grass. On top of that, you may find models of hills and mountains, a stream, roads, trees, and other focal points you would find in nature.
But that’s not all, not even close, many gamers design and place buildings too, creating townscapes, cities, and abandoned ruins. It is these creative details that make the game come alive before the minis are even placed or the battle has even begun.
Is the fun in collecting of the minis?
Gamers are often collectors. And collectors are often gamers. It’s a nice synergy.
The highly-detailed minis are normally around 25mm – 250mm in size, made of metal or plastic, and come unpainted. This means collectors can choose to paint them themselves, or find a friend who has some artistic skill, or hire a professional. There are lots of skilled miniature painters out there, and you are likely to find one or two at the local game shop.
There are thousands and thousands of minis out there for tabletop war gamers, but Warhammer has ones that are specifically made for the game. They are designed so well (often considered tiny pieces of art themselves) that some gamers collect them just for collecting sake.
It’s not uncommon for gamers to have hundreds of minis in their collection regardless of how often they play.
Is the fun in the gaming?
Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 come with official rulebooks which are not too difficult to follow, in fact, many people think the rules for Warhammer 40,000 have made the game easier to play than the original.
But, hey, players are also known to often tweak the rules and create their own “house rules” to enrich their gaming experience. Be prepared with some pen and paper, a ruler, dice, and some refreshments before you begin to play.
Games do not take long to set up but can vary in game time length. It all depends on what kind of battle you are fighting, how many players there are, and how practiced they are at the game. Expect to spend an hour…or three…maybe more. But we promise, the time you spend playing will fly by.
Like many board games, such as Risk, Axis and Allies, and Kemet: Blood and Sand, players move their minis (referred to as units) to battle their opponents and will roll dice to decide the outcome. This is oversimplifying the gameplay and combat, but in truth the game is easier and more fun than it is complex and demanding.
How do you win? Well, points are scored throughout the game and the player with the most points at the end is deemed the winner.
The proof, they say, is in the space-aged pudding
Warhammer 40,000 is the most popular game in the world. It has won many awards, including the 1993 Origins Award for Best Miniatures Rules and Best Miniatures Game and Fan Favorite Miniatures Game in 2017. With over 350 novels written in the Warhammer universe…it casts a shadow on other books based on hot properties like Pokemon and Harry Potter. Just sayin’…
If you like playing games of strategy, while engaging both your brain and your creativity, then Warhammer may be your new favorite pastime.
Sales of Warhammer miniatures surged during the first year of the pandemic. In the UK, Game Workshop noted a spike from £83.5 million to £353.2 million in the year due to high demand in the UK and USA. In 2022, they recorded a 4% core sales growth and many more Game Workshop stores opened in America with 114+ total currently.
If you want to jump into playing, all you need is $40-50 and a quick stop at your local game store or Amazon.com to grab a starter set. Have fun!