These things always have a way of starting fairly innocuously. Tom and myself were sitting around, enjoying a frosty beer after a particularly hard fought game of “Battles for Empire” (Anglo-Zulu War). To hand was a box of old magazines which I was too sentimental to recycle, mostly ‘White Dwarf’ and ‘Wargames Illustrated’. We ended up leafing through them, just to reminisce over old times, although we had both ‘played’ Warhammer and its variants as kids, we never really got on with Games Workshops rules systems. Looking back over the golden age of GW (’93-’97) we got talking about how good it would be to actually revisit Warhammer having played real wargames .. just for sentimentalities sake.
Unfortunately the main problem we have with games workshop was laid out in front of us, the string of broken promises in white dwarf magazine. Games Workshop seems to be a company based on selling player as many miniatures and glossy rulebooks as possible, most of which were overcosted and the rules poorly thought out. Just as we were about to discard the idea all together Tom stumbled over White Dwarf 181 (Jan 1995), which contains a absolutely epic in scale Warhammer fantasy battle report (25,000 points or more, the entire might of the GW studio collection arrayed for battle). This was clearly the worst example of these broken promises of which I speak. No one, anywhere, could possible have the time or funding to get together two armies of that size and paint them to quality within a lifetime, let alone GW’s target audience of kids who simply don’t have the income required to pay the basic cost of entry for most of GW’s games. But something clicked in my head upon seeing the scale of the game. A Childhood of paying GW for a game which never materialised mean I am OWED a big fuckoff game of something, and come hell or high water I am going to have one. Helped much by some very strong ale, the planning begun.
Buying Games workshops figures or rules systems was ruled out right off the bat, the miniatures are simply too expensive, and although I own every edition of Warhammer 1st through 6th, the rules set has never been quite right, compared to historical systems its simply too slow and too clunky to be any fun. Besides I’d probably have to buy another £70 worth of books / supplements to play the game and I’m simply not out to spend that amount on paper.
So anyway. This series of articles is documenting the journey from inspiration to execution, its about a disgruntled gamer finally getting the game he was promised as a kid, and without paying GW a penny… and I hope it helps other achieve the same.