Monday, December 29, 2008


I've got a close friend who is really into Warhammer, which, if you've never heard of it, is a kind of fantasy* wargame played with miniatures on a table (or other surface). Players organize their armies and attack one another until one army wins, using a rather baroque set of rules.

I haven't paid a great deal of attention to Warhammer as modern medievalism because I only had one friend who was into it, and it is such an expensive hobby that I had no desire to drop the coin necessary to find out more.

Tonight, though, I learned that my friend had seduced three other mutual friends over to Warhammer, and that they were planning some kind of big war this week. In their discussions, I learned a variety of things about the game:
  • It's even more expensive than I thought. Individual pieces can be very expensive, meaning that armies almost always run into the hundreds of dollars. I suspect folks have armies running into the thousands of dollars.
  • The world of Warhammer is far more complex than I had imagined. I assumed that it was a basic fantasy world, with these guys as the good guys and those guys as the bad guys, but it has a developed history, sometimes with individual families or characters well-developed.
  • The artwork is really, really cool. Players paint and modify their figures and often even make their own terrain. Much it is reminds me of model train builders; I'm not a train fan, but I love their landscapes. Same here. White Dwarf magazine is generally filled from cover-to-cover with photos of beautiful minature. Just check out some of the images that appear when you Google "Warhammer miniatures."
No, I'm still not going to get into Warhammer; I have neither the time nor the money. Still, that doesn't prevent me from admiring the work of gamers who make those beautiful miniatures.

*There's also Warhammer 40,000 which is a futuristic, science fiction game, but since this is a medievalism blog, I'll just ignore that here.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing made me happier than the day the updated the Brettonian armies. In early editions of Warhammer, the Brettonians were a debauched and corrupted version of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

    In the late 90s, they changed the society to one based on arthurian legends. Special troops included The Green Knight and they even had a band of merry men based on Robin Hood and crew.

    My army's paint scheme is based on the Plantagenet coat of arms.

    As for 40k, you might want to rethink any mention of it as it too falls under the Popular Medieval umbrella. The SF elements aside, the setting has similar religious, empirical, and mythical overtones borrowed from the medieval. Mutant Chronicles, a one time rival of 40k, was more purely SF in its themes -- even though it's soldiers often had swords.